From Injury Recovery to Position Challenge

PAYSON - There are football injuries and there are life threatening injuries. Suffice to say that Emmanuel Franklin, who underwent brain surgery following a concussion, falls into the second category. Under those circumstances, the fact that he is practicing out there with his teammates, would qualify as a victory in itself. However, Franklin told that some of his goals have yet to be fulfilled.

"I couldn't wait to get out here" Says Franklin, "This is my first time trying to get through a full camp since my redshirt freshman year. I had a groin injury my first year, last year I had the whole head injury. Even though Camp T is a hard camp to go through, I just couldn't wait to get healthy and get out here."

After enduring all the ailments he has, it's hardly a surprise the cornerback is grateful for the position he's in currently in. "Sometimes I'm amazed at where I was and where I am right now. I wasn't taking it (the head injury) seriously in the beginning. After the concussion, I was in a hotel with my parents and I wanted to go out with my friends to the movies. My dad was real mad at me, telling me ‘this is a real serious issue. Your grandfather died from the same thing. You don't know what it's like to go through your father dying, and see your son go through the same thing…' So, from then on I really took it seriously. When I look at football, I'll never take it for granted anymore. I realize how much more I love football, and I'm gonna take it more seriously now."

There were also some off the field lessons that he took away from the whole experience. "I learned than I'm a survivor. I was dealing with a lot of things, and I have the worst luck in the world. That's why I'm wearing No. 13 now (smile). One day, after the whole head injury thing, my friend tells me ‘you know, you have some of the worst luck in the world.' I was thinking that it sounds just about right. Might as well change my number to lucky 13 (smile)."

Franklin's recovery has been work in progress. At each stage, he feels that he was laying down another brick in his recovery foundation. "When we practiced for the Holiday Bowl, I was out there with a non-contact jersey, and I was just working on my hips and backpedaling, and things like that. In the spring I was concentrating on getting off the rust, and I did more things then I did in December. The summer workouts really helped me a lot (Franklin was recognized as a hard hat player for his outstanding performance in the strength and conditioning program). We would do one on ones and 7-on-7, and that helped me more with my technique. Now, I'm coming into camp in good shape, and I'm just ready to contribute."

The second cornerback position is still one that isn't letting the ASU coaches sleep well at night. Josh Golden is currently running with the first team, but the recent performance by Franklin (which includes three pass breakups on Saturday) is seriously threatening Golden's status. While Franklin may be diplomatic about the whole position challenge, he can't help and state where he would like to be. "I have a good chance to be the starter. But I feel comfortable with whoever is playing out there. We're getting a lot stronger at that position...playing and contributing is the No.1 thing. It's one thing to just participate. It's another to make a difference." If things progress as they are right now, notching a starting position could be another conquest by the battle tested Emmanuel Franklin.

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