Franklin has been committed to Missouri since last spring, and is preparing to enroll at Missouri in January. He talked about his recent trip to Columbia. Said Franklin, "It was good. I'd been there twice before, so this time I was just trying to get to know some of the players, and the other recruits that were there. And, the food was very good. I really liked the cookies."
James said that he really enjoyed being at practice. "I know that we're surrounded by good players. It's just cool to meet them, and see what they're like. And, see all the competition around, and see how competitive everyone is."
I asked Franklin how he felt about coming in at the same time as Tyler Gabbert. He said that they are just becoming acquainted, then added, "I like the competition! I'm looking forward to competing with all the QBs."
He continued, "We're not necessarily the same. I mean, everybody's different, but that doesn't mean you can't become friends once you get to know each other."
Franklin is pretty much all business, really invested in playing football. Off the field, he's kind of a quiet young man who is defined by his faith in God. His off-field behavior is more consistent with perhaps a more mature person than most 18 year-olds. Off the field, I've heard others who know him well compare him to Tim Tebow. At Missouri, his demeanor and values will draw comparisons to Brad Smith. He's more likely to be involved in organizing youth Bible studies, or educating and counseling youths regarding sexual abstinence and social responsibility.
In high school, James often helped teammates with their homework, or befriended the ones who might otherwise have fallen into the wrong crowd. When I spoke with him tonight, he was escorting a group of youths whom he had helped to organize for Christmas caroling around a nearby mall. Franklin is the guy that the other kids look up to and are able to count on. He'll finish up classes at Lake Dallas High School on Friday, then prepare to make the move to Columbia next month.
Perhaps Franklin's on the field presence can best be understood by the things that rival Denton Ryan Head Coach Joey Florence had to say about him. "He's just a great kid in the community, and great leader on the football field. Y'all at Missouri got you a good one there. A lot of people think y'all got the best QB in the state (of Texas). We haven't had much success against him, so I'll be glad to see him go."