Franklin Ready For Future With Terps

Last Wednesday was signing day, and the Terps held a press conference announcing the new class. Afterwards, media members were able to sit down with some of Maryland's coaches, including offensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting James Franklin.

The University of Maryland was able to pull in a very impressive recruiting class this season, signing 21 players in a top-40 class, including eight on offense for offensive coordinator James Franklin. That kind of class is especially remarkable considering that the Terps finished 2-10 last season. Coach Franklin thinks that last year's performance might have hurt the Terps' standing among local prospects, but didn't really affect their reputation nationally.

"The season, I think, affects us more locally than far away," he said. "What happens is [local] kids are constantly seeing and hearing what's going on here. These things could happen in California, but if you're not there to hear the local media on a daily basis, it doesn't have the same type of effect."

Franklin remains very confident that in-state recruiting will only improve as the coaching staff gets more years in at College Park.

"There will be a time when we will get every player in the state [of Maryland] that we want to get," he said. "I couldn't be more serious. We are always going to recruit the very best players in this state. If we think a kid maybe doesn't fit our exact prototype, but he's a great player in-state, we're always going to go after him because it's our state. If we're going to take a chance on a kid, we're going to take a chance on a kid in-state, because the kid you might be getting from Florida or even New Jersey, you think you know what you're getting, but you don't know that kid as well [as one from Maryland], because of exposure."

Speculation about the possible dismissal of head coach Ralph Friedgen arose after the Terrapins' unsuccessful 2010 campaign. When asked what measures the Terps' coaches used to counter any possible negative recruiting tactics from other schools, Franklin had a detailed plan.

"That's the whole reason why we have the head coach-in-waiting, to kind of counter that, that's the reason that people do it," he said. "Because people are going to use [a possible lack of coaching stability] against you. It allows us to have an answer, so when they say 'How much longer is coach X gonna be there, it's getting late in his career?' or whatever reason people try to give them in recruiting, now we can say 'No, we have a plan for the future', and I think that helped us a big deal, not only getting some guys but keeping some guys, and I think that's going to continue to help in the future."

One thing that sticks out in this recruiting class as something the Terps were not able to get is a dynamic player on offense, one who the defense has to account for on every play. Franklin talked about that as a focus for next year's recruiting, the possibility of defensive back recruit Jeremiah Wilson playing offense, and the disappointment of losing four-star recruit Brandon Coleman to Rutgers.

"I wouldn't say that [Jeremiah Wilson playing on offense] would happen," he said. "Although if you look at his film he's pretty impressive on that side of the ball. But I think the more you can recruit those kind of athletes that have the flexibility to play on either side of the ball, the better you're gonna be. Obviously losing Coleman hurt, he was a guy we really wanted, he brought some special qualities to us that we didn't have - a real big, physical wideout that would be a matchup problem, so that's gonna be an emphasis for next year. We're probably gonna go out and sign three wideouts next year.

"At running back, we got two four-star national recruits last year in Caleb Porzel and D.J. Adams. We redshirted D.J. last year, so that's almost like signing D.J. this year. We felt the biggest issue that we had to solve [this year] was our offensive line. At Maryland we don't really recruit or have the ability to go out and sign junior college players, and it's hard to play as a true freshman on the offensive line, so we'll see, but we feel very good about the ones we did get."

One of the stronger points of Maryland's recruiting class is quarterback play, coming from 4-star recruit Tyler Smith and 3-star recruit Devin Burns. Franklin talked about what he looks for in a quarterback when deciding whether to recruit someone.

"Would you like to go out and sign a kid who's a nationally recruited quarterback? Yeah, you would," he said. "But my point is, I want to recruit as many well-rounded kids as possible. If you look at the last four guys we've signed, they're all 6'3", they were all very successful high school quarterbacks, they were winners, they played basketball, they all have really good grades, great character, great homes, you've got kids with all of the intangibles. In the past we've had some highly recruited guys come here who haven't panned out, so what we're doing now is finding guys with really high character."

Franklin is looking forward to experimenting with fresher legs at quarterback over the next few years, after designing plays for oft-lumbering Chris Turner for most of the past two years. If this recruiting class pans out like it's supposed to, there could be a new golden age of Maryland Terrapins football on its way.

TerrapinTimes Top Stories