Rutgers Offers Jersey Defensive End

The recruitment of a previously under-the-radar recruit is about to explode, and the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from New Jersey is getting an offer from Rutgers. According to the player's coach, an offer from the Scarlet Knights was supposed to go out to the future college defensive end over the weekend. Find out why he was under-the-radar, and what happened to make his recruitment explode.

The video and scouting report began making the rounds to college recruiters last week, and by Friday Taques Franklin of Manchester Regional (Haledon, N.J.) was told he would be receiving an offer from Rutgers.

By midday Monday, Michigan also joined the fray by visiting the school and telling coach Rande Roca a written offer was being sent out. Boston College is also slated to stop by the school early this week, and when Rutgers hits the recruiting road May 3, it will also be at Manchester Regional.

It is all for the athletic, 6-foot-5, 220-pound Franklin, who plays running back for the Falcons but is projected to play defensive end or tight end in college.

"He's phenomenal,'' Roca said. "He's really like a defensive end-type kid, tight end, split end. The way he runs, I said ‘Let's give him the ball. Who's going to tackle him?' He got over 1,200 yards running the ball. He runs like a small guy, but he's huge, and he did fantastic for us. He blew onto the scene.''

Roca said he's fielded calls from more than 20 schools in the last week about Franklin, who made tentative plans to travel to Rutgers for Saturday's spring game, but a last-minute schedule change kept him from attending.

"Extremely smart, extremely coachable,'' Roca said. "He's so talented, and some of those talented kids are head cases, but he's totally not. He works like crazy on the field.''

But Franklin's path to potential gridiron star shows why he was under-the-radar until recently. He played at Passaic County Tech (Wayne, N.J.) as a freshman, then transferred to Manchester Regional, a Group I (New Jersey's smallest classification) school in the northern stretches of the state, for his sophomore season.

However, his move to Manchester Regional was anything but smooth. He sat out his sophomore year, and opened his junior season at tight end before moving to running back. Defensively, Franklin played defensive end, and has the athleticism to drop into coverage.

He also plays basketball, which is where Roca first saw his football potential.

"When he played sophomore year everybody was saying, ‘basketball, basketball,' but he looked more like a football player to me,'' Roca said. "He's very big, he's aggressive out there. He did good this year in basketball, but he's a much better football player.''

Roca believes Franklin's aggressiveness on the field lends him to being a defensive player in college. left messages with Franklin, and will update the story after an interview takes place.

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