However, Lewis' early departure from Raleigh left the Pack coaches in search of another PK and elevated the spot to one of extreme importance for the class of 2006.
The Pack typically likes to bring prospective kickers into their camp where they can evaluate each player under controlled conditions. One prospect they'll be keeping an extremely close eye on in June is Nathan Franklin from Hoggard High School in Wilmington, NC.
Although smallish at 5-10, 160 pounds, Franklin squeezes out every ounce of power when kicking the ball. Last year he connected on 7 of 10 field goals with a long of 47 yards. This past Saturday at the Shrine Bowl combine, he was easily the most consistent kicker- nailing all eight of his kicks, including one from 55 yards. Franklin attributes much of his success to the various kicking camps he's attended but he also gives much of the credit to a former teammate and potential college rival. The rising senior told Pack Pride recently that current UNC kicker Connor Barth helped him a great deal while the two played together at Hoggard and the potential to play against each other is intriguing. "It would be fun to have a little rivalry going," said Franklin. "We're friends and we kicked together for about two years because we went to the same high school but I think it would be fun. Connor helped me out a lot when he went to school with me."
Franklin would appear to be a strong candidate to make the Shrine Bowl squad later this year and that kind of potential has earned him recruiting interest from schools like Tennessee, NC State, Georgia, LSU and Northwestern. LSU and Tennessee called Franklin this month while Northwestern and NC State made trips by Hoggard to check in on him during the spring evaluation period. Franklin knows that his trips to various camps over the summer will be critical for his chances at a scholarship and he's planned stops at LSU, NC State, Tennessee, Georgia and Maryland.
While still early in the recruiting process, Franklin has put together a top five but isn't ready to declare a favorite just yet.
"I like NC State, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and Maryland," Franklin said. "I don't really have anyone at the front."
NC State is a program that has certainly caught Franklin's eye. They have a need for a kicker and are close to home. The talented kicker attended the spring game and has come away impressed with the Wolfpack program. Franklin told Pack Pride that an offer from the Pack would really give him something to think about. "If they were to offer me, I would really consider it," said Franklin. "I like it up there. I know a bunch of people that go to school there. The coaches were real nice."