Countdown 2007: Websider Impact Players - #24

As we count down to kickoff, Aggie Websider takes a look at 25 players who can make the biggest impact for the Aggies this year. These rankings are not based on talent, but rather, what contributions can be made by individuals to put Texas A&M back among the nation's elite programs.

Keeping with the theme of Aggie Websider's No. 25 impact player, No. 24 is also a critical component for a successful special teams unit.

Senior Kerry Franks was largely responsible for transforming the Aggie special teams into one of the top units in the country in 2006. In 2005, the Aggies were ranked No. 109 in the country in special teams, but in 2006, thanks in large part to Franks' 4.4 speed (he was part of his high school's 4x100 state championship relay team) and 29.3-yard average on kickoff returns, they moved all the way up to No. 2.

What he's done so far

As a freshman, Franks hauled in 12 receptions for 278 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games, including an 84-yard touchdown against Wyoming, which was the longest pass play of the year for the Aggies. Franks finished that day against Wyoming with 128 yards on five catches, showing that he was capable of making big plays early on in his career.

As a sophomore in 2005, Franks was used sparingly, posting just 10 receptions for 60 yards in 11 games. However, Franks also had six carries, returned five kickoff returns and a punt return as he began to gain more experience at special teams. Franks' junior year in 2006 is when he finally announced his arrival in the Big 12 and began making a name for himself on the national level.

The 5-foot-11, 196 lb. athlete led the Big 12 with 26.2 yards on 25 touches last year and led the Aggies with 13 plays of 20 yards or more, once again, showing that he was capable of being a key playmaker. Franks also hauled in 10 catches for 265 yards, two of which were 65 yards or longer.

Franks averaged 29.3 yards on 13 kickoff returns, including a 99-yard touchdown return against Texas Tech. The kickoff return was the first for the Aggies since Jason Carter's 89-yard return against Nebraska in 2003.

Why he's important

Franks has always been a player with huge play potential. As a senior in high school, Franks had 1,094 yards on 126 carries (8.7 ypc) and 202 yards on 16 receptions (12.6 ypc) as a running back.

If his 2006 numbers are any indication of things to come, that potential could turn into serious production in 2007. If Franks continues to develop into one of the nation's elite kick returners, the Aggies will have good starting field position on a regular basis, especially with kickers kicking off from the 30-yard line this season.

His ability to make big plays at wide receiver could be just as important though. In a year when QB Stephen McGee and the Aggies hope to stretch the field vertically, Franks' speed and ability to make defenders miss could be a huge addition to the A&M offense.

2007 Aggie Websider Impact Players
24. Kerry Franks, WR/KR
25. Justin Brantly, P

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