James Franklin is the freaking man.
While everybody’s peppering him with questions about Danny O’Brien and Randy Edsall, Franklin’s landing a verbal commitment from Johnathon McCrary, who has a scholarship offer from Alabama and just returned from a visit to Junior Day at Tuscaloosa.
Oh, and McCrary, from Cedar Grove High in Ellentown, Ga., also has offers from Georgia, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, UCLA, Texas and Tennessee.
He’s 6-3, 190 and considered to be a dual-threat quarterback. Still unrated by Scout, but has four stars from Rivals, as well as the same 5.9 rating that Brian Kimbrow got, and is a member of ESPN’s top 150 players.
This is huge. In his first season, Franklin took the Commodores to a bowl by dramatically improving the offense despite a patched together offensive line that during the season started four players who were recruited or projected as defensive ends coming out of high school.
Franklin just signed six SEC-caliber offensive linemen. One had an offer from Alabama and two others had offers from Florida. He said last year that he’s looking for athletic tackles with long arms and quick feet, and that’s exactly what he got. All these guys have long frames and can add another 30 pounds or more and should be ready to go in a year or two. Add that to the five lineman — mostly interior guys — in last year’s class and we’ve got a nice foundation.
So, first Franklin keeps the interior guys – Pulley, Townsend, Bernstein and Valedon plus tackle Lewis – who had committed to Hand and Caldwell during the two-win 2010 season, then this year he adds his tackles – Jelks, McCoy, Holden and Fromang plus solid interior guys Butler and Gouger.
Meanwhile, he’s signing his first pure quarterback, Patton Robinette. He’s also picking up one of the nation’s fastest high school seniors (Kimbrow), a solid wide receiver (Batey), and a little all-purpose guy (McKenzie) who can play slot.
Now he’s got his blue-chip quarterback in McCrary. Which means we’re now in the market for some blue-chip wide receivers and maybe even a big every-down running back.
Of course, we’ve got to hang onto this kid for nearly an entire year. I’m less worried after watching how Franklin and staff reeled in Brian Kimbrow over the past 12 months.
Really, winning will take care of everything. Expect us to be in the running for some big names throughout the spring and summer. Then, if we can beat the teams we’re supposed to and if Franklin can pull a signature upset and establish the Commodores as a threat on the road in the SEC, then we should have the kind of recruiting haul we’ve only dreamed of.
When we start signing 300-pound defensive tackles, we’ll know we’ve arrived. That day is coming.
So what does Danny O’Brien have to do with all this? A lot.
For one thing, Franklin is getting a ton of positive publicity out of this. And if we get O’Brien, it will only make our team – including the quarterbacks at the top of our current depth chart – better. O’Brien would help us bridge the gap to the future. He and Carta-Samuels would leave at the end of the 2013 season (Rodgers is done at the end of 2012), and redshirt sophomore Robinette, redshirt freshman McCrary and maybe a true freshman better than both of them would be waiting in the wings.
Exciting times, eh?