A 6-foot-6 quarterback.
Hitting 75% of his passes.
That’s Josh Freeman, who could be a dominant presence as he leads his Kansas State football team against the University of Louisville Wednesday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
U of L defensive coordinator Ron English appears to be in awe of Freeman, describing him as a better passer than the past two winners of the Heisman Trophy — Troy Smith of Ohio State and Tim Tebow of Florida, respectively. He told the Courier-Journal:
“He’s an excellent quarterback,” English said. “I was telling the coaches, I can’t remember in recent years playing a quarterback that throws as well as he throws the ball.”
There are no gimmicks involved with Freeman, a prototype NFL quarterback. He’s not a cog in a system that would amass big yards without him. Freeman is the system. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has him ranked as the No. 5 quarterback in the junior class.
“I can see why he’s ranked so high by the professional scouts,” English said. “He can make all the throws. He can throw the deep comebacks and the deep outs. They’re going to use his talents properly.”
Sounds like a reincarnation of Ben Roethlisberger, a man among boys in the 2003 GMAC Bowl, completing 21 of 33 pass attempts for 376 yards, including four first-half touchdowns, in a 49-28 cakewalk over UofL. He decided to go pro after that game, playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers the next season.
If English’s attempt is to inspire respect for the opposition, he has more than succeeded. His defensive unit appeared to make great strides in the first two games. The mid-week test should provide a gauge of whether the improvement is for real.
Stopping Freeman will be a tall order.