It's easy to follow the Power 5's, the Alabama's, Clemson's, and Ohio State's of the world. You'll hear about Heisman candidates, they'll all come from those schools, they're the poster boys for college football. But college football is more than the syndicate that is the Power 5. It's also full of great, talented players with great stories. At the Roundup we want to introduce you to under the radar Texas players that if you don't know, you should. We'd like you to meet Ke'Mon Freeman, SMU running back.
5'11, 208 Sophomore
Liberty-Elyau High School
Awards and Stats
- Finished 2nd on team in rushes and rushing yards as a true freshman.
- Finished 2016 with five total touchdowns.
- Finished fourth in reception yardage and fifth in catches.
- Averaged 12.2 yards per catch.
Ke'Mon Freeman is from a tiny football factory in the southwest corner of Texarkana, just over a mile from the Arkansas state line, Liberty-Elyau. (We pronounce it Liberty-Elyau.) Under 750 kids attend Liberty-Elyau, but it's produced an inordinate number of big time athletes. Here are just a few:
- Willie Teal graduated from L-E before heading to LSU and career in the NFL with the Vikings.
- Ramos McDonald played college football at New Mexico before an NFL stint in Minnesota.
- LaMichael James went to Oregon and is currently with the Dolphins.
- Marqueston Huff played at Wyoming and now plies his craft for the Titans.
- Brandon Jones played receiver for the Seahawks and Jags.
- Tra Carson played at Oregon and A&M before going onto the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Jarrion Lawson competed in the long jump at the Rio Olympics.
- Will Middlebrooks has clocked several years in the Majors, currently he's signed with the Texas Rangers.
That list is far from exhaustive. They should bottle the water near Leopard Drive and sell it.
Such is the tradition that Freeman is a part of. His senior year, Freeman played quarterback for the Leopards, throwing for over 3,300 yards and 29 touchdowns and adding 1,865 on the ground. All told Freeman accounted for 58 touchdowns his senior year as the Leopards went 12-2.
All those stats were enough to get Freeman 2-stars and an offer from Stephen F. Austin and that's where Freeman would have gone were it not for some last minute movement in SMU's class. After a four-star recruit fell through, SMU came knocking and Freeman ended up on the Hilltop.
Why you should know him
Freeman was such a gifted athlete, SMU didn't know what to do with him. He'd played quarterback in high school and the Mustangs initially thought about giving him a shot to continue at the position; he was also athletic enough for a move to safety, but just prior to fall camp SMU coaches approached Freeman about a move to running back. Freeman's response? "Sounds good, whatever you want me to do."
Freeman became part of an incredible skill group assembled by Chad Morris and to some degree June Jones. They're all back for the 2017 season and Freeman has a huge role in SMU's plans. As a true freshman he rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns. He was also versatile enough to catch thirteen passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. SMU even harnessed Freeman's quarterback skills for a 43 yard touchdown pass against South Florida.
So to summarize, Freeman excelled as a first year player, playing a position he hadn't ever played. His first season as a running back culminated with an eighteen carry, 111 yard day against East Carolina.
Freeman was particularly effective running between the tackles. On film you see a great natural "lean" or ability to finish runs. He's a north/south runner with very little wasted movement and Freeman's a thumper. He's impressed Morris with his blocking ability, something Freeman hadn't ever done, but something he's gifted at.
Freeman played his freshman year between 208 and 212 pounds. With a full year in SMU's strength program, Freeman should add good weight to his frame making him even more effective. Freeman will join 1,000 yard rusher Braeden West and Xavier Jones for one of the most potent backfields in the AAC. Freeman's ceiling is as high as he'd like it to be. Rarely can you find the combination of athletic ability, instinctual play, and selflessness. That's why you should get to know Ke'Mon Freeman.