Defensive tackle Ja'mion Franklin knew enough about Notre Dame to put the Irish near the top of his list that features 13 FBS programs. Still, Franklin wanted to know more about the Irish, even after visiting during spring practice. That’s why he watched the Blue-Gold Game from his home in Ridgely, Maryland on Saturday.
He was impressed.
“They definitely look like a new team,” Franklin said. “You can see how everything is coming together. They keep making progress and taking steps forward and that. The running backs look incredible, man. (Dexter) Williams, he’s a beast. He reminds me of my teammate David Bailey.”
Of course, Franklin focused on the defensive side of the ball.
“The defense is what impressed me,” Franklin said. “If it was live on the quarterback, you would’ve seen a lot more plays being made. When I watch games, I look at my position and the defensive line was working their butts off. The technique was good and everybody was working hard.”
The pressure that Mike Elko’s 4-2-5 defense created intrigued Franklin too.
“It keeps people off guard,” Franklin said. “You never know what you’re going to come with a defense like that, that’s what’s so special about it.”
On the recruiting front, Franklin is still landing offers and has an upcoming visit set.
“I just picked up an offer the other day from Pitt,” Franklin said. “I was supposed to be at Virginia Tech (on Saturday), but that didn’t work out. Everything’s going smooth. I’m pretty sure I’ll be at Virginia’s spring game next weekend.”
With his commitment announcement set for July 1, Franklin will be returning to South Bend with his family so they can get familiar with one of his top schools.
“Late June, the 23rd or 24th, I’m going to be back at Notre Dame with my parents,” Franklin said. “Maybe Clemson, sometime, I think June 13, but the only days I know for sure that’s set in is Virginia’s spring game and Notre Dame later in June.”
Franklin has been doing some spring training to improve himself leading up to a big senior season.
“I’ve been trying to get a little bit leaner for the camps,” Franklin said. “I feel comfortable at the weight I’m at, but you can’t go wrong with getting a little bit lighter and a little bit more explosive.”
The three-star junior travelled to D.C. on Sunday to compete in The Opening Regional where he checked in at 6-foot-3, 306-pounds. He felt his performance was strong, even if it didn’t register with analysts.
“Overall, I think I was dominant,” Franklin said. “I only lost one rep all day. I really got better (there). The competition was good, there was some big (offensive) lineman, but I just had a good day, I guess. The one rep I lost, I just had a bad get off. Other than that, everything was smooth. I don’t know how I didn’t make the Top 5.”
Franklin is being treated as a priority recruit by Notre Dame and said he hears from the Irish staff daily. With all the attention he has received and the need at defensive tackle being strong, Notre Dame could easily be the pick on July 1.