The social media reaction has been positive to the news that Former Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks will enroll immediately at Arkansas as a grad transfer. Still, over the past several days, there had been push back from some Hog fans who (a) wanted Houston grad transfer D’Eriq King or (b) preferred that offensive coordinator Kendal Briles concentrate his efforts on developing redshirt freshman quarterback K.J. Jefferson for next fall and skip the grad transfer option entirely.
Briles partially explained his decision to go after Franks when he sat down with The Pig Trail Nation’s Tera Talmadge in a wide ranging interview. Briles explained that while he expects his quarterbacks to both run and throw the ball, in the SEC, with its brutally physical defenses, Arkansas’ signal caller will throw it a lot more than he runs it. The fact that this team finished last season with three quarterbacks under concussion protocol should be more than enough to explain Briles’ thoughts on that subject.
Franks’ main strength is in his throwing arm. He was the number five pro- style quarterback in the country coming out of Crawfordville, Florida, Wakulla High School, a solid four-star prospect. But he can run the ball. In his time with the Gators Franks rushed 189 times for 438 yards and eight touchdowns.
His decision is, no doubt, a sigh of relief for both head coach Sam Pittman and Briles who faced a dangerously thin situation at quarterback without an experienced grad transfer. For those still insisting that this team would have been fine without Franks, consider these career passing numbers:
K.J. Jefferson: 14-31 (45%), 197 yds. 0 TDs
Jack Lindsey: 13-30 (43%) 126 yds. 3 TDs
John Stephen Jones: 14-32 (43%) 106 yds. 2 TDs
Feleipe Franks: 367-622 (59%) 4,593 yds. 38 TDs
For those enamored of Jefferson’s ability to run the ball here are his rushing numbers: 52 net yards on 30 attempts for an average of 1.9 yards per carry and two touchdowns.
One fact is obvious. Franks will start the season this fall as the only Arkansas quarterback with much of a track record at all on the college level. Will this translate into success? Certainly there is no guarantee but those same fans that worry Franks will suffer the same fate as Arkansas’ previous two grad transfer quarterbacks would likely acknowledge an expectation of better development under Briles than his predecessor, Joe Craddock, who is now coaching tight ends at Alabama-Birmingham.
Only time will tell how important this pick up will be but from my perspective, knowing what this team had coming back at quarterback, I’d say this may end up being the the biggest addition Pittman will have in his first recruiting class at Arkansas.