Joyful Franks Happy To Be Razorback

New Arkansas recruiting coordinator E.K. Franks sits down with Hawgs Illustrated to discuss his personality and passion for his new job with the Razorbacks.

If E.K. Franks' results as the new Arkansas recruiting coordinator are based on his energy and personality, Razorback head football coach Bret Bielema may just have to use a baseball term to describe the hire.

Walk off grand slam would seem to fit.

Franks, most recently coached running backs at Southeastern Louisiana but is also a former colleague of Bielema's at Kansas State and Wisconsin, was named to his new post on Wednesday.

"I really truly feel that this position is as important as the offensive coordinator, the defensive coordinator, the special teams coordinator," Franks said. "Because you are helping them get those type of players that you need to take it to that next level to win the SEC and compete for national championships on a regular basis."

The personality of Franks, who grew up three hours away from Fayetteville in Wellington, Kan., was on full display during a Friday interview with Hawgs Illustrated.

A man who has done everything from being a strength coach to an academic counselor to a recruiting coordinator to a coach on the field was just exuding joy.

"I am energetic, a people person, happy, enjoy life and am a hard worker," Franks said. "I was a wrestler. I was brought up by my grandparents – neither one went to college and neither did my mom or dad.

"So it was important for me to get a Master's Degree, not just a degree," Franks added. "I keep telling myself I am going to get a P.H.D. now.

"My motto – as I brush my teeth every day – that I have on my mirror is ‘That It Is A Great Day To Be Alive' and then I also have ‘Positive Thoughts Bring Positive Results.'

"That's me," Franks continued. "I want to be around people, I want people to gravitate to me, I want to be a personable person while still working hard and getting things done.

He was joined Thursday in an expanded Arkansas recruiting department by former Alabama player personnel staff member Daniel Bush, who was named Assistant Recruiting Coordinator and Director of Personnel.

Bush has been on Nick Saban's Crimson Tide staff the last three years.

"I like where he has been – although I won't speak that word," Franks said with a laugh. "…What he brings is in the different way he thinks. He is bringing that different math mind as I call it - that thinking that will help us analyze and help us dissect.

"He is one of those guys that you don't have to say to ‘this is how I want it done.' What you say is ‘here is what I want my end product to look like' and he is going to figure out a way to get that end product," Franks added. "That is what is awesome about him. With his background, it is going to be huge for us.

"He will be helping with the evaluation, organizing the evaluations, film – that type of stuff that is a full-time gig these days," Franks continued. "He will bring in the recruiting stuff, load the recruiting stuff, making sure we build the recruiting boards because nowadays you have to have boards for freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors already going."

Franks – a former University of Oklahoma wrestler and Missouri State defensive back, made it clear that one of the main factors in him taking the Arkansas job was Bielema's passion for recruiting.

"That is part of the reason I came," Franks said. "If it was the other side of it, I don't know if I would have because I was sitting in a great position.

"But knowing that helps as well as knowing that there are great recruiters on this staff…and knowing the areas that we have to hit made it the right fit for me."

He stressed his philosophy is inside-out when it comes to the Razorbacks.

"Number one, you have got to win the state," Franks said. "We have got to sign the SEC players out of Arkansas. We know that. Everybody knows that. That is number one.

"But after that we have to be active in Texas," Franks added. "I think from where we are located we have to be active in Texas and we have to be solid in Louisiana.

"Having been down in Louisiana the last two years, knowing the coaches down there, that is what attracted me to this staff and Coach Bielema," Franks continued. "I can really help there."

He is excited about how welcoming and open Bielema has been since his arrival earlier this week.

"Since I got here we have been rattling off ideas and he has a passion for it so I can walk into his office and ask for an hour so we can talk recruiting and he's 'let's do it.'

"We know some of the things that they have done in the past - some of the things we want to keep and some that we want to change," Franks said.

Some may wonder why Franks left an on-field position to take a recruiting coordinator's post, but he explains the job is different and more important than it used to be.

"When the NCAA changed the rules a little bit where you could create this position, I said that is a perfect position for me because I understand what the coaches go through and what they need to be successful in recruiting and I understood the administration side of it and also organizing the business side of it," Franks said.

"When the opportunity came to come with Coach B to Arkansas, the first thing I thought was that the Arkansas tradition is awesome and the location is just perfect," Frank added. "I grew up in Wellington, Kan., which is just three hours away and is where my grandma lives.

"I am a grandma's baby so to be close to her, to know the tradition and want to be part of getting this program to the powerhouse it once was," Franks continued.

He is happy about rejoining a staff that includes Bielema.

"I loved the diverse program of learning everything about a program and Coach B was a worker and he loves recruiting," Franks said. "I learned a lot of recruiting techniques when he was co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State and then when he was DC at Wisconsin."

Franks wants to find a unique thing to sell to Arkansas recruits more than just the normal ones.

"The one thing I said to him when I came to interview was ‘what are we doing when we get a kid on campus to make it unique?'" Franks said. "What is going to be the thing that stands out to the kid and their parents? We need to try and use something from the community.

"The university stuff is going to be there and we need to use that, but if you can find something that is unique to the area," Franks added.

He found a niche at Southeastern Louisiana with a television show called Swamp People, which provided the History Channel with record-breaking viewership numbers.

"For example, at Southeastern Louisiana, every kid that came on campus got to see an alligator no matter where they were from," Franks said. "They shoot that show right down from Hammond so we made a point to make sure there were alligators around.

"….That's just going to be me getting with people in the community and learning, getting with the coaches and saying coaches we need to think about this here," Franks added.

"I can guarantee you that no one will outwork me and I will do everything I can to get Arkansas back to the top," Franks continued. "We're going to get it done."

E.K. Franks

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