Franklin: One Of College Football's Good Guys

DALLAS - You've seen it before, picked up the morning newspaper, tuned into sports talk radio, or turned the TV to ESPN only to hear about some college athlete, usually a high profile football or basketball student-athlete, that makes the headlines for something bad. It could be a DUI, drug arrest, shoplifting, or domestic dispute. Those are no fun to report.

Heck, as we communicate here the college football world is turning on its ear because of allegations that Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach mistreated wide receiver Adam James, son of ESPN college football commentator Craig James. As a result Leach is suspended and will not coach the Red Raiders in the Alamo Bowl on Saturday.

While all of that gets front page attention, there are other deeds, good deeds that are done by college athletes and coaches every day with much less and usually no fanfare.

It leaves you wondering sometimes who are all these good guys. Well, Oklahoma State senior offensive guard Noah Franklin is one of them.

Franklin, a fifth-year senior, that waited and worked hard for his starting assignment this season. He has grown his hair long four separate times, starting in high school, and each time he cuts it short again and donates the hair to Locks for Love, an agency that takes the hair and uses it to make wigs and hair pieces for cancer patients and other patients that lose their hair during illness and treatment.

"I guess this is the fourth time for me to do it," confirmed Franklin, who usually does it quietly and without any publicity for his kind act.

On Tuesday morning, he will do so again in front of a group of photographers, both print and television. While the Oklahoma State team is making its hospital visit to the Texas Scottish Rite Children's Hospital, Franklin will drop a helmet size for Saturday's 74th Cotton Bowl against Ole Miss.

"Coach (Mack) Butler asked me if I would do it and I wasn't really sure because I didn't want all of this pub stuff," said Franklin. "This woman came up to me and told me a story about her sister who had done it (donated her hair) her whole life

"She said she had told her if anything happened to her she wanted it cut again and donated before she was put to rest. Two weeks later she died in a car crash and her sister told me how special donating her hair was, not just to her sister but also to her. I figured this would be a good way to get the organization out there (in the public) so I decided to do it."

The 6-5, 314-pound Franklin can be an imposing and intimidating figure. He is big and with the long hair and even a non-expression he can seem too tough to talk to. Not true, Franklin is a friendly young man that really has a caring heart. That is why it is not bad for people to see that a big tough football player that punches (legally) defensive linemen on Saturdays is a good guy.

"It is, I've never been a big fan of all this (publicity), but it is good that people understand that college athletes do good things," added the Vinita, Okla., native.

Now on Saturday it will be back to controlled violence as Franklin and the Cowboys offensive line, a line that helped OSU lead the Big 12 in rushing offense, will have a jumbo chore on their hands in trying to block Ole Miss defensive linemen like nose tackle Jarrell Powe, end Kentrell Lockett, and end Marcus Tillman.

"They are big ol' boys and they are going to be a tremendous challenge," said Franklin. "We still have a bad taste from Bedlam in our mouth but I think that has driven us to work even harder through these bowl practices and make sure we have everything covered and ready to finish the season strong with a good effort."

The old story is of the strength that Hercules gained from his hair. Franklin is one of the strongest players on the team and gets his strength from giving his away.

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