Dominique Franks: Union prep-pipeline continues

There's a tradition brewing down in Oklahoma. Well, not brewing as Union high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma has been cooking up a storm for awhile now. Only lately, though, have the "Redskins" been taking it to perennial powerhouse, Jenks, thus shifting the balance of power for now. With that kind of success, you need big time players and they have had that. This year is no different and one of those will be cornerback Dominique Franks. As his coach says, he's "legit".

Bill Blankenship has known a great deal of success with the Union Redskins. As the head coach for Union over the last 12 years, he's won 126 games, lost only 13 and won state titles two out of the last three years. That's not including all the times the Redskins have been in the title game, Union usually the main competition for perennial powerhouse, Jenks, once the season hits the state finals.

With that kind of success, especially against a team that is traditionally ranked in the top 25 of USA Today as it ranks the top high school football teams in the country, you have to have great coaching, but you better have great players as well.

That's no different this year as Union will try to make it three in four years and one of the players that coach Blankenship will be depending on in senior-to-be, cornerback Dominique Franks. Standing about a half inch above 6 foot and weighing right around 190 pounds, coach Blankeship describes one of Franks' biggest attributes is one that you can't see until it's too late. "He's a glider," Blankenship said. "When he's returning kickoffs, you can see that acceleration, but on defense, it's just really hard to tell."

"He's pretty, I guess you could say."

Style is one thing, but substance is what matters, but don't worry, Dominique has plenty of that, tallying over 70 tackles last year, forcing and recovering 2 fumbles, taking one back for a score and grabbing three picks.

To ask Franks himself about what his secret it or how he does what he does, it's pretty simple. "I don't do anything special, I just play my game and if they throw my way, I'm going to try and make them pay," Franks said. That didn't happen a lot, last year as Dominique said that most of opportunities came a little closer to the line.

That's probably because he had one of the staples at helping him out, a typically staunch defensive line that as Dominique said, "made me look good".

Franks looks good enough on his own, the offers starting to come in, Tennessee, Iowa State and Arizona State jumping in with offers last week, adding to Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Nebraska, to complete the list of eight he has right now.

With the recent flurry of offers coming in, though, one has to ask: Where's Oklahoma?

"I don't know," Dominique said. "They said that I had to come run a forty for them, but I told them that I was good with the 4.4 I ran at the Nike combine (Manhattan, KS). They said they would be in touch."

Franks said, however, that he's not waiting around, because unlike most of the rest of the Sooner-state, he didn't grow up with Crimson blood. "If I have to stay close to home, I'll probably take a closer look at them, but I'm looking to get out and see something different," he said. "I don't know, because it's way too early, but that's just one of the things I am thinking about."

What he won't be thinking about, at least isn't planning to at this point, is any more camps or even unofficial visits for the rest of the summer. Satisfied with the up-coming team camp, there isn't any plans to take in anymore off-season testing.

As far as the recruiting goes, Dominique is enjoying the increased attention, but he's keeping his mind-set real level, because he's in it for the long haul. "I probably won't even take my visits until around January," Dominique said. "I haven't made up my mind totally on that, but I'm not sure I want to do that during the season."

When he takes those visits, Dominique said that there is going to be one thing on his mind and it's not the hardware, facilities, fan-following or all the usual stuff that has some of the best in the prep-world drooling. It's how he feels. "I'm looking for another home, because that's where I am going to spend like four years of my life," Franks said. "I want to feel like that is a place I am comfortable and most importantly, that they want me there as a person along with being a player."

Yeah, Franks already has gotten more than his fill of coaches saying ‘we love you, we want you, you are great', because he's just not hearing as often something he'd like to hear every time a coach opens his mouth: "How are you doing?".

"Some of these coaches, from the start of the conversation on, it's about nothing but football and I'm not interested in that," Dominique said. "I like the coaches that ask me about me, my life, my grades, whatever, just something other than football, because that's not my whole life wherever I go."

"I want to go someplace I know they care."

To that end, Franks has had some good luck as well, our inquiries of course pointed specifically towards Nebraska and the coach recruiting him, John Blake. "Coach Blake is great," Dominique said. "Now, he does ask me about me. It's not all about football. He asks me how I'm doing, how things are going with me and my family. I mean, sometimes we don't talk about football at all."

"That's what I like."

Nebraska isn't the only one doing it, of course, and there are plenty of schools that will more than likely follow suit s the recruiting season progresses. No matter how overwhelmed over even impressed Franks is, though, he said that time isn't of any consideration at all. "I'm not making any early decision. I've got lots of time and I am probably going to use whatever I have and the visits are going to be key."

While some recruits around the country have already set up officials, Dominique hasn't quite made it there yet. With the three offers that just came in, he's probably figuring he's got plenty of time to do that as well. Chances are, his choices will increase before his final season arrives.

That's what he's looking forward to more than anything right now. With spring ball just having finished, the slight depression sets in, knowing that it's an entire summer to wait before he can strap it on for real once more.

Going for yet another state title, that's all any of his team wants, so the off-season is more just another part of the season to get ready when the real games begin. "That's what it's all about, getting ready for next year," he said. "We have big expectations here and you really can't take time off if you want to stay where you are at."

"Once you have won like we have been doing lately, you don't want to lose that, so that's why everyone works so hard. We want to go out winners."

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