Franklin Healthy And Ready For Competition

With Missouri Tigers spring football practice getting underway on Tuesday, senior-to-be Quarterback James Franklin spoke to the media following the first practice about his expectations and his health going forward.

As a sophomore in 2011, James Franklin took over as the starting QB for the Missouri Tigers, and he posted one of the top seasons by a QB in Missouri history, which was capped off by his being named the MVP of the Independence Bowl.

During the first week of Spring Football 2012, Franklin suffered a torn labrum and missed the rest of the spring as well as most of the summer. After rehabbing his shoulder, Franklin came into fall camp last August throwing the football as well as I’ve seen him. With his team leading Georgia in the second quarter, Franklin was hit on the arm in the middle of his throwing motion by Jarvis Jones. Later in that game, Franklin attempted to throw the ball over Jones, a pass which he has always thrown very well. But the pain in his shoulder caused that pass to fall well short of its intended target, and Jones made the interception. That began a fourth-quarter roll for Georgia that carried the Bulldogs to victory, and it signaled a downward spiral for Franklin and Missouri’s season. Franklin battled that shoulder injury all season, and he also later suffered an MCL sprain and a concussion.

In all, Franklin played about a half a season, and for much of that he played at considerably less than 100% healthy. Because of his health, he rarely practiced. His performance did not begin to approach the level of efficiency at which he had played the previous season. Despite a sub-par junior season, Franklin enters 2013 second, trailing only Chase Daniel, on Missouri’s career list for completion percentage (62.2%) and passer efficiency rating (134.03).

Heading into this spring, Coach Pinkel has opened up the QB position to competition, citing Franklin’s lost season, and the resultant absence of “an established QB”.

As spring practice got underway, Franklin took time to speak with, and he talked about his health and competing for the starting job.

Franklin said that he’s completely healthy, and in the best shape of his career.

“Actually, yes,” explained Franklin, who said that he currently weighs “roughly 235” pounds. “Just going by the DEXA, my bone density and muscle mass are a lot higher, and my body fat is down………………………………. People say that it seems like I’ve thinned up a little bit. I’m trying to get down to 10% body fat by this summer.”

He weighs a little more, but he looks more slimmed down, and in recent testing, he posted personal records.

“I feel like I’m completely healthy,” said Franklin, who admitted that he didn’t fully recover from his injuries until “about halfway through Christmas break”, and that he experienced concussion symptoms until mid-December.

Franklin said that he continues to work on maintaining a positive attitude, and not getting down on himself. He also said that he is working on improving his “command presence” with his teammates.

Franklin said that he had “expected” that the QB position would be open to competition.

"Especially with the season I had last year, and not just because of the injuries," said Franklin. "Also, when I was playing, I wasn’t performing well……………………………………………. That was something that was definitely in the back of my head, knowing that this is what’s going to happen, so just expect it, and attack it the best that I can.”

“Coach Pinkel just let everyone know that (the QB position) is open, and anyone can take it,” said Franklin. “And, it’s kind of just waiting there for somebody to take."

In watching Franklin, he’s throwing the ball very well, and he appears to be enthusiastic and in charge, as well as in great physical condition. As Coach Pinkel said of Franklin, "he is determined" to win the job.

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