Mizzou fans: Meet James Franklin, your new QB
www.stltoday.com/sportsMay 10, 2011
QUESTION: With Tyler Gabbert’s transfer, it looks like the starting QB job for Mizzou next season belongs to James Franklin. What does Franklin bring to the table and can he provide the level of play we’ve seen from Mizzou’s most recent QBs ... Blaine Gabbert, Chase Daniel and Brad Smith?
James Franklin is a unique commodity, almost completely different than his recent predecessors. He isn’t as fast as Brad Smith, but he is elusive and has demonstrated a knack for making something out of nothing. He doesn’t have the size of Gabbert or the mechanics of Gabbert and Daniel, but I think he is more accurate than people realize and will have a good stable to throw to.
Moreover, Mizzou can contour its offense to his strengths, and that figures to include a more balanced attack that could rekindle an offense that was in the second tier of the conference last season.
What no one can really know until it happens, though, is how Franklin will perform as The Man in the crucible of college football. It was one thing to do it in high school, another in spot duty in 10 games last season. Expect to know a lot more by Sept. 9 at Arizona State, and Sept. 24 at Oklahoma.
Coming out of Lake Dallas High School, James Franklin was considered one of the top multi-dimensional QBs in the nation. We have to assume based on that template he would most likely be expected to fall on the Brad Smith skill-set line. But we have not seen nearly enough of Franklin to know what sort of quarterback he will become. Is he a star in the making? It’s way too early to know. But from the small sample size it doesn’t look like he will be as explosive as his predecessors.
We didn’t get to see much of his passing skills last season, but folks familiar with his high school work believe he can become an effective passer in this system. Matching Gabbert’s arm strength, Daniel’s offensive feel or Smith’s slithering running style will be difficult, but Franklin should be an effective passing/running threat. Like Daniel and Gabbert, he should benefit from seeing game action a year before taking over the starting assignment.
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