Scooba, Miss.--There is no question that Auburn’s situation at quarterback has been very much up and down in 2015, something that junior college standout John Franklin is hoping to change when he gets on campus in January. A versatile athlete capable of bringing much-needed speed and explosion at quarterback, Franklin said he’s planning on signing with the Tigers on Dec. 16 and getting to work as soon as he gets on the Plains.
“The quarterback position has had its ups and downs,” Franklin said. “They had good success and they've had times when they haven't done so well. It's a team game, but the quarterback runs the show. I feel like coming in the opportunity for me to be the guy right away is very big and I look forward to taking on that road.
“We talked about as far as things athletic-wise they compare a lot of things Nick did, that's what they want to do with me,” he added about what the coaches told him on his visit. “They said I threw the ball a little better than Nick did so I might have a little bit of an advantage over him. They way they'll run the offense is similar to what they did when they had Nick here.”
With 4.4 speed and the ability to throw the football down the field as well, Franklin said the Auburn offense is one that fits him perfectly because of his ability to both run and pass. Already familiar with what the Tigers do after playing the role of Marshall for Florida State's scout team before the BCS National Championship game, Franklin said he’s looking forward to showing what he can do in the offense beginning next spring.
“Coach Lashlee, we got a chance to sit down and talk a lot about it,” Franklin said of Auburn’s offensive coordinator. “They said that's what we're missing is explosiveness. I feel like I can bring that to the team and I'm looking forward to getting here and getting started and hopefully turning our season around next year to what Auburn is supposed to be like.”
Even though Auburn’s season didn’t turn out like most expected this year the program and university is just what Franklin was looking for after giving his quarterback career a second chance at East Mississippi Community College this fall. Wanting to find a place he could call home, Franklin said he has just that at Auburn and can’t wait to get things started following a perfect visit with his family.
“It was perfect,” Franklin said of his trip. “My family fell in love with the place. We got a chance to spend a lot of time with Coach Malzahn and Coach Lashlee. They got very comfortable. This was my third time but it was a chance for them to get up here and experience everything, being the biggest game. It was more for them than me because I was already sold, but it was great to have all my family up with me experiencing this.
“They see that this is a place that I can really grow,” he added of his family. “The opportunity on the field speaks for itself. They see that clearly. As far as the atmosphere and the environment, Coach Malzahn, Coach Lashlee and players that have been in my situation coming from JUCO. Just building that relationship with them is very important.”
With a goal of coming in and winning the starting job at quarterback, Franklin said he plans to sign with Auburn on Dec. 16 and enroll for classes in January. Even though he had the option of taking part in bowl practices on campus with the Tigers, Franklin said he decided to wait until January so he could enjoy a little time with his family in Ft. Lauderdale before the grind of major college football begins again in earnest.
With an opportunity to get on the field next season Franklin said the goal is to turn things around in a big way. The last two junior college quarterbacks have done big things for the Tigers and he said that’s what he’s shooting for as well.
“Their record doesn't reflect the team that they are,” Franklin said. “They're better than what their record is, but it's football and things happen. If you look at the games that they lost, it wasn't be a lot, it was one possession games. Do a couple of things here in a game and you win that game. Their record doesn't reflect the team that they are. They're a really good team and I'm glad to be a part of it and coming in and making a difference.”