Will Josh Freeman Stick Around?

ESPN's Mark May, for one, is ultra-high on KSU quarterback Josh Freeman. High enough to say that Freeman would be a high first-round draft choice this year, and a top-three choice if he would stay for another season.

Cheer Josh Freeman while you can.

The Kansas State quarterback is talking the talk about staying for his senior in 2009, but listening to ESPN analyst Mark May, and dollars and cents just could make sense for Freeman to take the Michael Beasley path.

"If NFL coaches come to Ron Prince sand say Josh is ready and going to be a top five or six pick in the NFL Draft, he's smart enough to know that the best thing for his (Freeman) future is to go in the draft," May said.

"Coaches would love to have a kid stay four years, but if that kid has the opportunity to make $50, $60, $70 million, it's ridiculous not to go."

And yes, May, a former Outland Trophy winner at Pittsburgh and member of the famed "Hogs" offensive line with the Washington Redskins, thinks the Wildcats' No. 1 is just that good.

Speaking to The Manhattan Mercury prior to the K-State game at Louisville, May said that he had just spoken to a pair of NFL scouts. While comments can't be made about under classmen, May said, "I think the feeling is, if Josh continues in the program and progresses like he has the last two years, he will definitely be a top-three pick, depending on need, in the 2010 draft, and could be in the Top 10 this season."

While calling the Big 12 a "quarterback league," May added, "Because of his size and the system he's in, Josh is more NFL-ready than any quarterback in the league, and the conference does have several quarterbacks with an NFL future."

Because so many teams -- Missouri with Chase Daniel, Kansas with Todd Ressing, and even Texas Tech with Graham Harrell -- are playing spread-offenses with under-sized quarterbacks, collegiate wins don't necessarily translate into Sunday afternoon standards.

"Josh is like Jamarcus Russell (Oakland Raiders QB), but he's a better athlete with better feet, and is more savvy than Jamarcus, and Josh is in his junior year," May said. "Again, if he continues to progress, he's going to be a heckuva player."

May wasn't finished, "There just aren't that many 6-6, 250-pound quarterbacks with athletic ability and who can throw a football 50 yards on their knees. And, for the first time in his career, he has a quarterback coach, which has helped him in reading defenses better. There are only a few players out there like that."

Plus, with normal-sized NFL quarterbacks forced to the sidelines with a variety of injuries, May says that more and more teams are looking for a physical quarterback who can take a hit.

"He's what you're looking for, especially if he has the skills, and Josh is blessed with those," said May, whose No. 73 has been retired by Pittsburgh and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Still, Freeman has always maintained, "I'm staying."

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