As soon as last weeks University of Arkansas Seniors Camp was over with, Razorback defensive coordinator Reggie Herring made a point to meet with Marion standout Jerry Franklin .
He had a simple message for Franklin (6-3, 210, 4.5), who is holding an offer from Ole Miss and told reporters that he would probably commit to the Rebels if he didnt get one from Arkansas right after camp.
The first thing Coach Herring said was there was no reason to go out and commit anywhere right away, Franklin told Arkansas' Dudley E. Dawson. He said whats the rush? He told me that I did really good in camp and that he thought that he would end up offering me a scholarship before it was all over with. He told me he would be shocked if they didnt, but they just wanted to come and see me play in a game first.
As of Tuesday night, Franklin who plays cornerback and wideout in high school but who could also be an outside linebacker in college - said that he was indeed going to slow down.
Since they made it clear to me they were going to follow me early in the fall and then probably offer, Im going to go ahead and wait a little while before rushing in and making a decision, Franklin said. I think that is the best thing right now to let them see me play and let them offer and go from there, Franklin told Arkansas' Dudley E. Dawson
Franklin is definitely the epitome of a hidden gem, one that got more publicity for his effort at the Ole Miss and Arkansas camps this summer than he did for his on field play last season.
Thats despite putting up some solid numbers with 67 tackles, 7 interceptions (3 taken back for scores) and 15 catches for 520 yards and 8 touchdowns last season.
Not too many people at all knew about me, Franklin said. But I think I have opened some eyes this summer.
He opened enough eyes in Oxford to garner an offer in their first look at him.
Personally I didnt think I did all that great at the Ole Miss camp, but they must have thought I did because they went ahead and offered, Franklin said. I thought I was sluggish although they kept telling me I had a great day.
Signing with Arkansas and Ole Miss will give Franklin who is also drawing legitimate interest from Memphis and Tennessee a chance to play in the conference he wants to be playing.
I love the chance to play in the SEC, thats a big-time conference right there, Franklin said. That would happen for me at either Arkansas or Ole Miss so thats a great thing.
Marion finished 9-3 last season, losing to eventual Class AAAA state champion Greenwood 44-34 in the second round of the playoffs.
Barring an injunction in a lawsuit filed against the Arkansas Activities Association, the Patriots will move up to the what is now called the 6A classification and open their season with nonconference game against former conference foe Wynne.
Marion beat Wynne last season for the first time since 1984.
I dont look at it (the move) as a challenge because football is football to me, Franklin said. I dont care who is on the other side in the game, I just go play.