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Miami Hurricanes 2021 Recruiting Notebook: RB Thad Franklin

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Miami adds a big, bruising RB to the already well-stocked offensive backfield

Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna RB Thad Franklin is yet-another blue-chip RB for the Canes.
247sports

In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet a tough, physical RB who offers a bit of a different skill set to the Canes roster: Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna RB Thad Franklin.

Bio

Through good times and bad, through success and failure, the Miami Hurricanes have always had top notch running backs. To continue that trend into the future, Miami targeted Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna RB Thad Franklin.

Franklin is the latest blue chip player that Miami has targeted from this powerhouse local HSFB program, and the first RB from Chaminade to earn that honor. This is for good reason, as Franklin has been an integral part of Chaminade’s 3 consecutive State Championships.

Franklin is teammates with fellow Miami commit DT Allan Haye, and K Andres Borregales played at Chaminade the last 2 seasons before transferring to Hialeah (FL) Champagnat Catholic for his senior year.

Unlike some other prospects, Miami was not the first to offer Franklin. But, the moment they did jump in with a scholarship offer, the Canes were near or at the top of Franklin’s recruitment. How do I know? Because Franklin committed to Miami 3 days after receiving his scholarship offer. That’s how.

With Miami struggling mightily through the 2019 season, Franklin, like several other players, decommitted from Miami. I mean, Miami lost to FIU that season. Of course there was going to be negative recruiting movement in the aftermath of that game.

But, even with Franklin opening things up, and several teams trying to get a foothold in his recruitment, Miami was always at the forefront. It took a couple months, a new offensive coordinator, and a couple unofficial visits, including one to an invite-only Junior Day on campus, but Franklin recommitted to Miami on February 11th.

Recruiting Ranking

On the 247sports composite, Franklin is a 4-star prospect, the #11 RB nationally in this class, #34 in the State of Florida, and #242 recruit overall.

George committed to Miami over Penn State, Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina from a list of 25 offers from around the country.

As A Player

While Miami has been known for small to medium sized backs who excel with quickness and speed, Franklin is a tank of a player. At 6’0” 225lbs, Franklin is thickly built and muscular, especially in the lower half. And he’s used his frame to great success so far in his career.

While Franklin is 225lbs, he could easily be in the 240lb range in a hurry. Franklin is also a standout basketball player (point guard, if you were wondering), and all that running in basketball has helped him keep his weight down. There was even talk that Franklin was interested in playing hoops at Miami. If so, that would be good additional cardio to keep him from getting too much bigger. But, if he doesn’t hoop at The U, Franklin could quickly and easily add weight.

Being the size that he is, it’s understandable that Franklin isn’t the fastest player in the world. He’s got about average speed, but his quickness is the better athletic trait. Franklin is good at setting up defenders and making 1 cut to get up field. Though he has run away from some guys at the HS level, I do not expect that to continue in college, especially if he continues to be utilized mainly between the tackles. Could he break a big run if everything goes right? Yes, of course. But Franklin will never be a “speed back”, and that’s fine. He does plenty of other things well.

Franklin is a big back, but nimble. He steps out of ankle tackles, but doesn’t really have much “wiggle” to his game. Franklin shows good feet in making his cuts, but that supports his downhill running style. He also lowers a shoulder to run over smaller defenders when the opportunity presents itself. That’s not the only manifestation of his physicality however; Franklin keeps his legs moving and moves piles of players with regularity.

Since he’s not the shiftiest player in space, Franklin is seldom if ever used as a receiver. He could use development in technique and performance in that area. An area of the passing game where he can be effective, if only because of his size, is pass protection. But, like most HS backs, he’ll need additional reps at the college level to improve in this area as well.

Franklin is an incredibly productive player. He entered his senior season with nearly 4,400 yards and 47 TDs. He had 47 carries for 333 yards and 5 TDs in Chaminade’s 2019 State Championship Game win. That was a HSFB Championship Game Record for rushing yards. (that record was broken the next day by another player in another classification). So, when his team needed him most, Franklin simply delivered the greatest championship game performance ever seen to that point. That’s pretty good, if you ask me.

Here’s another evaluation of Franklin by 247sports Director of Scouting Barton Simmons:

Powerfully built running back prospect. Thick through the hips, thighs and calves and broad chest. Extremely productive high school back with a heavy workload. Durable and tough runner. Plays behind his pads and delivers blows at the contact point. Falls forward. Presses the hole effectively and can find cut-back lanes. Isn’t featured as a pass-catcher in high school but has shown plus ball skills and hands in camp settings. Plays with balance. Plodding runner that does not have breakaway speed. Doesn’t demonstrate make-miss-ability. Has the look of a consistent, dependable starter for a Power Five program but athleticism and dynamic ability limits NFL Draft upside.

Strengths

  • Quickness
  • Size
  • Incredibly productive

Weaknesses

  • Straight line speed
  • Pass receiving
  • Pass protection
  • Lots of carries already (too many?)

Miami Outlook

Note: changing this up from just a freshman-season outlook to a career outlook for each player.

Franklin is a different kind of RB than any on the roster. As such, he could carve out a role running between the tackles, particularly in short yardage situations. That’s a way he can use his impressive physicality to his advantage.

Miami is not at all hesitant to play young players at RB. A freshman or sophomore RB has been top 2 on the roster in rushing for the last decade or more. So, Franklin, who will likely be the only RB in this class, figures to get early reps on the field in his Miami career as well.

While others on the roster came in with more fanfare, Franklin is a solid player. He should develop into a key part of the running game, if not the starter for the Canes. For a top-tier program such as Miami’s, that means Franklin could challenge for All-ACC honors in his career.

Overall, Franklin should be a solid addition to the roster, be a 4 or 5 year player at Miami, with the ability to be a high level contributor while on campus. And, if things break right, he could elevate his performance beyond that.


That’s it for this installment of The Recruiting Notebook.

Go Canes