Just Another Challenge for Franklin

After suffering a potential life debilitating injury, which required delicate skull surgery, it would be fair to say that anything else former cornerback Emmanuel Franklin may encounter in life would be grossly simple in comparison. While the safety feels comfortable in his new role, he told DevilsDigest that there are still feats to be accomplished, as he enters his last year as a member of the maroon and gold.

In last Saturday's scrimmage sessions, very few on the field stood out as much as Emmanuel Franklin. Notching a sack, an interception, and a pass breakup, one would think the senior would be brimming with confidence following last weekend. However, Franklin is far from content.

"I came out a little bit nervous on Saturday," he said. "For what reason I don't know why. But I came out a little rattled. In the second half of the scrimmage I turned it on. Now, I just need to learn how to play well starting the first play of the scrimmage."

The move from corner to safety was his initiative. It was driven by the depth (or lack of) at his new position, and consequently was embraced by the ASU coaches. "We looked pretty short on safety and we had a lot of experienced corners," stated Franklin. "Besides Riccardo Stewart, no safety played a lot of Pac-10 ball, and Matt Fawley and Lamar Baker were moving to linebacker."

"After winter break I weighed over 200lbs," Franklin continued. "So I felt I was big enough to play safety. I have the size, I have the speed, I just thought it would be a pretty good idea…the coaches were really for it and thought it was a good move because I could move back to corner any time they needed me."

One reason Franklin enjoys his new position, is his perception that the assignments are easier in nature, and carry, if we may say so, more of a pop…"The biggest adjustment is getting used to covering tight ends," he remarked, "because they are a lot bigger and I am not that patient (smile). But it is a lot easier than corner. Covering really fast guys is a lot harder than covering not so fast guys (smile). Playing safety is also a lot more physical. There's a lot more hitting but that is the part I like a lot. I love getting my face into it."

Another new reality that Franklin, along with all the other ASU defenders, had to encounter is converting from a 4-2-5 to a 4-3-4 alignment. The senior shared his view from the safety perspective. "It is a lot easier," remarked Franklin. "Now, we don't have that many different defenses to think about. You get to see more of the field because you don't have to worry about taking on a fullback (smile). The old defense wasn't that hard but the new one is much easier."

The safety's goals this spring are to successfully continue his evolution into his new responsibility. Nevertheless, he sounds confident in his abilities to master this transition. "I just really want to work my way into the depth chart," he said, "which I think I am doing pretty well. I want to overall get better at seeing what I am supposed to see. Even though I think it is easier than corner, it's still is a different position. You just have to have a different type of instinct at safety which I think I am doing pretty well with."

Emmanuel Franklin may be motivated by many factors, but none of them seem bigger than his desire to end his Sun Devils career in impressive fashion. "I really do feel that this is my time to shine," he exclaimed. "I had an average (redshirt) freshman year. I didn't play my sophomore year (due to the injury), and my junior year was below average. A lot is expected out of me so it is time for me to step it up. It's now or never."

A couple of years ago, Franklin's biggest triumph was merely playing football again. If the present is any indication, his future is bound to include many other victories and bring a successful closure to a career that not too long ago was in serious doubt…

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