As a member of Georgia Tech’s student-athlete advisory board, defensive end KeShun Freeman had received early word that the athletic department would be switching apparel providers after its contract with Russell Athletic ends in June 2018.
“And for them to say finally say, ‘Yeah, this is going to happen,’ I was like, that’s really cool,” Freeman said. “I just wish they would have thought about this three years ago when I was a freshman.”
Freeman will not be able to enjoy the gear provided by Tech’s new apparel provider, either Adidas, Nike or Under Armour, but he’s still glad for his younger Yellow Jackets teammates. In interviews at the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C., both he and wide receiver Ricky Jeune shared excitement over the impending change.
“It’s exciting, even though I’m not going to be here,” Freeman said. “The guys are definitely going to look good, play good, and feel good and play good. I think a lot of recruits actually like that, too.”
Said Jeune, “I think that was needed. For recruiting, nobody wants to wear Russell. It’s either Nike or something else.”
Coach Paul Johnson said that he is not involved in negotiations.
Athletic director Todd Stansbury “keeps me abreast of what’s going on,” Johnson said. “I’m sure he’s going to do what’s best for Georgia Tech.”
While he has long been associated with Nike, he expressed no preference for Tech’s next apparel provider.
“I think that the kids will be happy if they get more stuff,” he said. “We’ll see if it helps in recruiting.”
To Jeune, the problem with Russell has been both the quantity of gear that athletes received and the look.
Said Jeune, “It’s a little mixture of both, and you hear it from everybody else, like, ‘That’s Russell. You guys are Russell still?’”
Jeune was OK with Nike or Adidas. Freeman’s preference was Nike.
“Of course, the team would love Nike, but they’re like, If we get Under Armour, that’d be cool,” he said. “Even if we get Adidas, we can rock with it. Anything that is not Russell right now.”