The Hurricanes have always been able to have success with great running backs from South Florida, such as Willis McGahee, Duke Johnson and Frank Gore, just to name a few. Now, Miami has a running back committed for their 2021 class, also from South Florida, who is making a name for himself, 4-star Thad Franklin from Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Broward County.
Franklin, who is perhaps the best running back in the entire state, established himself as an elite prospect in 2019, rushing for 2,282 yards and 28 touchdowns. In the title game, Franklin’s 333 rushing yards broke the Florida State championship game record, previously set by Travis Henry back in 1996. Franklin rushed for 913 yards and 14 touchdowns in the playoffs alone.
#ChaminadeMadonna HS (FL) & #Miami #Hurricanes commit 2021 RB Thad Franklin Jr. (@Gucciboypopo) leads the #Lions to their 3rd straight state championship! Franklin had a state record 47 carries, 333 yards & 5 TD’s pic.twitter.com/JJ7qGHbnYs— IG: @SleeperAthletes (@SleeperAth1etes) December 7, 2019
Sun Sentinel named Franklin Broward County Class 5A-1A offensive player of the year.
Chaminade-Madonna @Nadeboyz 2021 4 ⭐️ RB Thad Franklin Jr @Gucciboypopo commits to @CanesFootball. Franklin is the top RB in the State & one of the top 10 backs in the nation. His 2282 YD and 28 TDs made him an All-American in ‘19 & put him in range to hit 5000 for his career.— The Crib South Florida (@TheCribSouthFLA) February 12, 2020
Franklin originally committed to Miami in 2018, then de-committed last December, shortly after the Hurricanes loss to FIU. Then, a few months later in February, Franklin announced he was re-committing to UM, and though there were recent reports he would open his search back up, he instead shut down his recruitment, saying he was locked in to Miami.
@Coach_MannyDiaz @CoachPop_Cooney @CoachEHickson2 @D_VanDyke8 @CoachRumph16 pic.twitter.com/gdDKBHpfON— Thaddius Franklin Jr. (@Gucciboypopo) July 23, 2020
247 Sports has Franklin as the #10 running back in the 2021 cycle, #32 player in the state of Florida, and #223 nationally.
I've covered five high school football seasons. Some of the names that come to mind are:— Adam Lichtenstein (@ABLichtenstein) July 6, 2020
-Thad Franklin (last year's 3A title game was a tour de force)
-Kenny McIntosh https://t.co/dBAwrXfznV
Last month, Franklin was named first-team All-State by MaxPreps for Florida, as well as first-team All-American by MaxPreps. Franklin has continued to receive accolades heading into his senior year, such as first-team All-USA by USA Today.
Congratulations to future Miami Hurricanes Thad Franklin, Andres Borregales and James Williams on being named to the USA Today 2020 All-USA high school preseason team! https://t.co/5B2oFjSWOT— GO ‘CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) August 20, 2020
At 6-0 and weighing 225 pounds, Franklin has the size and durability that can make him a superstar at the college level. Any running back who rushes for over 2,000 yards in a season, playing in talent-loaded South Florida, deserves to be called one of the best in the country, and honestly, I think he’s underrated on recruiting websites.
Miami 2021 commit Thad Franklin @Gucciboypopo with a touchdown run in Chaminade-Madonna’s kickoff classic against American Heritage. pic.twitter.com/cy4X5jMCw6— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) August 17, 2019
With a powerful frame, Franklin reminds me of the late Tyrone Moss, another Broward County product, who was Miami’s running back from 2003 to 2006. Moss didn’t have breakaway speed that most look for, but he was productive and effective for the Canes offense. Franklin has also gained comparison to Najeh Davenport.
Find someone who fights for you the way this kid fights for touchdowns. Thad Franklin goes for 5 scores and 300+ yds in the 3A State Title game for Chaminade-Madonna. Yea @Nadeboyz is bringing home the hardware. (video courtesy Spectrum Sports) #Canes pic.twitter.com/GSh3koUvKj— Mike Cugno (@MikeCugnoCBS4) December 7, 2019
Franklin is similar to Moss, won’t blow you away with his speed like Lamar Miller or Jaylan Knighton, but he has the ability to take on a heavy workload, carrying the ball 288 times in 2019. Also being an all-around effective back, Franklin averaged nearly 8 yards per carry last year. Once he gets through the line of scrimmage and into the open field, Franklin is tough to bring down.
Not many people remember Najeh in high school. He was a big, physical runner with speed. The ultra productive Thad Franklin is a similar beast with a little more wiggle to his game. RB recruiting is looking like the old days pic.twitter.com/TUV0ZeP4CP— Canes Legacy (@CanesLegacy) February 12, 2020
Watching his film more and studying his game, I’m impressed at Franklin’s ability to make quick decisions, not dancing around in the backfield. He can also flash quickness that helps him outrun the secondary.
Thad Franklin with the cutback and the 30-yard touchdown run, and Chaminade-Madonna stretches the lead to 27-7 late in the third. @Gucciboypopo pic.twitter.com/2hmj9AqS3v— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) October 26, 2019
Franklin is one of three players from Chaminade-Madonna committed to Miami in 2021, along with 3-star kicker Andres Borregales, and 3-star defensive tackle Allan Haye. Franklin is also the only running back committed to Miami for 2021, after the Hurricanes signed two in their last recruiting class with Knighton and Don Chaney Jr.
Coming to Miami, I think Franklin will fit in nice with Rhett Lashlee’s offense, with his size serving as a complement to the speed of Knighton and Chaney. Looking ahead to the future, the trio of Franklin, Knighton and Chaney, could give Miami one of the best running back rooms in college football.