Buccaneers rookie QB Josh Freeman was a fan of former Denver Broncos QB John Elway
*Courtesy of NFLPlayers.com: Josh Freeman was the third quarterback taken in the 2009 NFL Draft. The strong-armed signal-caller out of Kansas State went No. 17 overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Freeman finished his three-year career as the school record-holder for completions (680), attempts (1,151), yards (8,078), touchdowns (44) and total offense (8,421 yards).
In this exclusive Q&A with NFLPLAYERS.COM, the 6-foot-5, 248-pound Freeman talks about the people who have helped shape him and the excitement of realizing his lifelong dream.*
Q: First of all, Josh, tell me about the excitement you're feeling to be drafted into the NFL.
A: It's definitely really exciting. I mean, it's something I've worked for my entire life and I have it right here so it's definitely really exciting.
Q: How long have you dreamt about being in the NFL? How old were you when you first had those dreams?
A: Playing in the NFL is something you emulate when you're in the back yard, and it's really been my dream ever since I knew what the NFL was.
Q: Is there one person who has been instrumental in your life, such as a parent, friend or former coach?
A: I think, during my younger years, [it was] my father. He taught me the fundamentals and really gave me the drive and passion for the game of football. But recently, like in college, I had a number of guys who helped me out. Coach [Ron] Prince, the [former Kansas State] head coach, Coach Franklin was my quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Dave Brock, they all did a great job preparing me to put me in the position that I'm in today.
Q: What things did they teach you to really shape you into the quarterback that you are?
A: Straight up football. The Xs and Os.
Q: Is there a friend or family member who has been with you every step of the way?
A: Carson Coffman, who now is the quarterback at Kansas State. He was one of my best friends for my entire life.
Q: When you look back at your career at Kansas State, is there anything that you would've liked to do differently?
A: I mean, it's tough to say. I enjoyed every minute of it and we weren't undefeated every year so that's something that could be different.
Q: Is there a quarterback who you grew up emulating?
A: I'd probably say Warren Moon or John Elway. They had great games and they would just go out there and throw it around.
Q: Do you try to pattern your game after theirs?
A: When it comes to being a quarterback, I feel like you have to be who you are. You can take little pieces or certain pieces out of guys' games but ultimately, if you're going to reach your potential, you have to be who you are as a quarterback.
Q: Looking back on the entire process leading up to the draft, how would you describe it? I assume it was a complete whirlwind for you.
A: It's been long, but it's been short as well. I remember finishing the year and then being like, "Okay, I'm going to enter the draft." Then I went out to Arizona for training and went out to the Combine and then working out, working out and working out. Then was my Pro Day, [team] visits and then [the draft]. So it's been a whirlwind, definitely.
Q: What was it like training with several other top prospects at Athletes Performance Institute?
A: It was awesome. I got to meet a lot of these guys like Aaron Curry and Brian Orakpo. They are all great guys.