Maryland is taking two BUCK linebackers in the 2017 class, and the Terps have numerous offered targets on their board, and another who could be moving closer to earning a UMD scholarship.
Glasgow (Kent.) outside linebacker Steven Franklin has been in touch with Maryland defensive line coach Mike London since the spring, and, at the behest of UMD Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry, set up a College Park, Md., unofficial visit for Oct. 22.
“I’m really excited to see Maryland. That is my first visit, and they’re my No. 1 school,” said the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Franklin, who holds offers from Memphis, Bowling Green, NIU, Middle Tennessee, Eastern Michigan, Toledo and others of that ilk. “Coach London and I had been talking on Twitter all the time, and once the season started and they saw my film, it really started getting serious. Then Coach London told me to start contacting Coach Berry since he handles all of the recruiting visits and stuff, and me and Coach Berry talk like every day now.
“[Berry] talks to me and my dad, actually, and he was telling me how the staff loves my film; they like me as a person; and they like my family too. Coach [D.J.] Durkin thinks I can play the BUCK role at Maryland, which is like the most important spot in their defense. He thinks I’m a player who can get after the quarterback on third down and who they can work with.”
Franklin said the film evaluation was important, as Durkin and Co. weren’t sure initially whether or not the Kentucky product could fill the BUCK role. But after reviewing the first couple games of his senior season, and noting how he grew to 6-2, 240, “they’re working to get me up there.”
“Coach Durkin was saying how Dante Fowler, who he coached at Florida, was only like 6-3, 260, so that’s not that big of a difference. He thinks I can be a playmaker at that BUCK spot,” Franklin said. “So now it’s a matter of me getting up there, sitting down with Coach Durkin and Coach London after the game and seeing where we stand on this offer.”
Needless to say, it’s an offer Franklin covets. He’d relish the opportunity to play in the Big Ten and play for someone like London and the defensive-minded Durkin.
“I like Maryland’s defense and how they get after it. I’ve watched their games and I really like how they attack,” Franklin said. “And my cousin lives near Maryland, and he was telling me about the school. He said it’s a great, tight-knit community and very welcoming. Also, I talked to [UMD commit] Josh Kaindoh and [UMD commit B’ahmad Miller] and they said I’m going to love it there. They were like, ‘You get on campus, you talk to Coach Durkin, and you see what’s going on there and you’ll know that’s where you want to be.’
“So I feel like I’m going to fit right in when I go up there…I’m from a small, small town, but I feel like I’m going to really like Maryland.”
Franklin had his share of praise for London as well. He said the UMD assistant has become a mentor of sorts the last couple months.
“He’s a very Christian guy and tells me the right and wrong way to go about things. He really cares about you as a person,” Franklin said. “The people at Maryland aren’t about football all the time; they’re about building quality men. So I really respect that.”
In addition to Maryland, Franklin said he’s been speaking to coaches from Michigan, Ole Miss and UVA. He’d like to visit Ole Miss, but nothing has been scheduled as of yet.
Franklin, who has no other trips planned beyond his Oct. 22 one to College Park, also has no defined decision timeline. He said once he finds the right fit, he’ll simply commit.