Cards extend offer to 'hidden gem' lineman

Talk about some of the emerging stars in the state of Florida that are being discovered this summer, at camps and combines, and here is yet another name to add to that growing list. Colleges from all over the country are impressed at what this young man has to offer!

During the spring and into the summer, will bring you our IN THE HUDDLE segments with football players throughout the state of Florida.

These are similar to the evaluations we pass on to the hundreds of colleges who visit our website, call us on the phone and correspond via e-mail.

Here is another top football player to keep an eye on this season – and beyond.

PLAYER: Orlando Franklin
POSITION: Offensive Tackle
SCHOOL: Delray Atlantic
40 SPEED: 5.4
HEAD COACH: Christopher Bean Pre-Spring Ranking: Not rated.

The one thing that we pride ourselves in here at is finding those hidden gems that no one else knows about.

Just in the past three months, we have uncovered something like 25 players who NOBODY knew a thing about and have watched them elevate their respective status to an upper D1A level. We have exposed these athletes to at least 15 different major college programs.

Here is yet another athlete we discovered and have thrusted into the spotlight. During the next to last weekend of the spring, Larry Blustein and I made the trip up to Delray Beach Atlantic High to watch them play against Boyd Anderson (Lauderdale Lakes). It was to be the last game at this current school. In the fall, they will open a beautiful new campus.

With nearly every major college on hand to watch stars Preston Parker, Charles Deas and Herb Bynes, with good reason, there were some other quality athletes on that field who also made a lasting impression.

At 6-foot-6 and over 300 pounds, it's not hard to notice Franklin. In the coming weeks and months leading up to National Signing Day, I will guarantee that this is a name that you will here plenty about. Why has no one heard of Franklin before today? That answer is plain and simple - he recently moved from Toronto, Canada and did not play football last season.

While names like Sam Young, Daron Rose, Daniel Wenger and Corey Hobbs are talked about the most, and if you've watched those young men play, you will understand, Franklin is someone who is looking to put his name in the ring with those elite performers.

As we have done since the end of last season, Blustein and I have had the opportunity to see a number of rising stars – and those in the making. North Florida, Central Florida, South Florida and in cities and counties in between. We take this business serious and have caught the attention of players and coaches who continue to see us pop up at events that nobody else has come to. Larry and I figure that seeing players in this state live is the only way to do this job the right way!

We caught up with Franklin over the weekend at the D-1 Camp at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, which is becoming a premier line camp. We went to the skills camp at the end of last week and then saw a number of athletes in Coral Gables at the University of Miami Camp over the weekend as well.

"My opinion on Franklin is the kid was the best line prospect at the camp," said Hollywood Hills High Coach Jeff Bosley, who worked the event. "The kid was blowing guys off the ball. If he improves his technique, watch out, he will be a very good one."

STRENGTH: What stands out most about Franklin is his athletic ability for such a big guy. He moves exceptionally well and his footwork is very solid for an offensive linemen.

He also is very strong and dominates anyone we had the pleasure of watching him go up against. What most coaches will look for as well in an offensive linemen is how well they get to the second level. Franklin is able to get to the linebacker and defensive backs because of his quickness off the line.

There are very few linemen you will see with his quickness. Strength is his wingspan. Left tackles with good footwork, can get out of the blocks quickly and have a long wing span are tough to find. He has all those qualities recruiters look for in left tackles.

WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: Franklin just needs to continue to work on his technique, which is due to his lack of football experience. While his technique is not bad, it could use some work. He needs to learn to use his long arms which are a big advantage to him when going up against defensive ends.

Another thing I noticed is he also needs to learn how to finish his blocks. At times Franklin will stop his opponent from getting to the ball carrier but he needs to finish the play off.

OVERALL: While Franklin is not a finished product, there is no doubt that his stock will continue to rise. You just don't find offensive linemen with size, quickness and overall upside that Franklin has and ignore it. His performance in the recent spring game garnered him enough attention that Orlando walked away with an offer from Louisville.

COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON:Franklin mentioned to us that University of Miami and FSU could be ready to offer very soon, and sources close to the situation have certainly given Larry and I every indication that this is true as well. Franklin mentioned to us that FSU told him that an offer could be in the mail this week.

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