FAYETTEVILLE — Former Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks was one of the five seniors at the Arkansas Pro Day on Wednesday.
Franks is expected to be the first Razorback drafted in this year’s NFL Draft. Franks was asked how it went in his opinion?
“I did all the drills besides bench,” Franks said. “I thought it went really good. I think all the drills went really good for me. I worked pretty hard with the people at EXOS and got some pretty good times.”
Without shoes, Franks measured 6-foot-6 1/2, and weighed 234-pounds. He ran a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash. His other results were as follows.
Hand __________ 9 5/8”
Arm ______________ 34”
Bench ____________ N/A
Vertical Jump _______32 1/2” Broad Jump _________________9’ 9” 40-yard dash _____ 4.55-4.65
Short Shuttle________________ 4.35
Franks talked about where he has trained since the end of the season.
“OSMG (Overtime Sports Management Group) is the agency and I’ve been working out at Carlsbad in California,” Franks said. “My quarterback coach (Steve Clarkson) is in Orange County. So we worked out in Orange County, but yeah my speed training was in Carlsbad in between San Diego and Orange County.”
Franks was injured and missed the Missouri game and while he played the following week against Alabama he was still banged up with his ribs. But time off has allowed him to get healthy.
“Oh man, I feel awesome,” Franks said. “It was good to get a little breather from getting hit and stuff, but I feel awesome. It’s just more awesome to get back over here. These guys and the players I played with are going through spring ball now so it was good to catch up with them. But I feel awesome.”
Arkansas has 11 seniors who returned for an extra year, but Franks opted to head to the NFL. He talked about why he opted for the NFL Draft.
“No, that wasn’t something that was my focus,” Franks said. “I focus on the task at hand. When we’re playing Georgia I focus on Georgia not the NFL or any of that stuff. I focus on winning the game. At the end of the season being able just kind of my own thought. It’s always been my dream to play in the NFL. To go be a starting quarterback and win championships in the NFL. I felt like I was completely ready for that mentally and physically. So that’s what I did.”
While Franks only spent a year in Fayetteville, it’s something that has left a strong impression on him.
“On top of that. Fayetteville has treated me so nice,” Franks said. “I mean I came back Saturday and I don’t know how many people I’ve bragged to about the state of Arkansas. The people in Fayetteville. I’ve been treated tremendously and more than I could ever imagine. Not only the people and sports staff here at Arkansas, the players, media and everybody, it’s been a blessing, everybody has treated me so good. I feel like I owe it back when I come back. It’s awesome in Fayetteville. I have nothing but great things to say.”
While in California, Franks talked about what were his points of emphasis with the training.
“Points of emphasis for me and I think quarterbacks in general focus on footwork,” Franks said. “Just being able to make things time up with the concept and routes. Just being able to get away to go out to California for a couple of months was pretty cool. Lots of people would like to do that, but at the same time it was a business trip so just being about to go out there and get the work in helped me excel in my craft. It was fun to go out there. Beautiful weather and stuff. It was a good experience, but also good experience to be back in Fayetteville.”
At Arkansas this season, Franks completed 163 of 238 passes for 2,107 yards, 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He completed 68.5 percent of his passes which is a school record.
“Yeah, it’s awesome,” Franks said. “And I mean, it’s a privilege to be able for coach (Sam) Pittman and coach (Kendal) Briles that they even let me come to the University of Arkansas. The whole experience has just been a blessing for me, and I guess to hold that record is awesome as well. There have been a bunch of great players besides just Feleipe to come through Arkansas. It’s just an honor man I guess to have my name out there somewhere. It’s good. It’s good and it’s fun.”
A gruesome ankle injury in 2019 basically ended his career at Florida. On Wednesday, Franks reflected back on that injury.
“I think just with the injury, that was definitely one of the challenging things in my life, but at the same time it was one of the biggest blessings,” Franks said. “Because it gave me the opportunity to come to Arkansas. It gave me the opportunity to become more mentally tough. Meet so many more new people, have new teammates, all that kind of stuff. At the same time, it was a lot of adversity, but at the same time it was one of the biggest blessings in my life, to take the next step in my quarterback game, with my leadership and all that stuff, so it was a good experience to be able to go through that and at the end of the day it made me who I am today. So that’s kind of what I think about the injury part.”
What was it like being a transfer so late in your college career?
“I think at the end of the day when you’re a good player, I was never nervous to be like, ‘I’m going to go somewhere else and play big-time ball.’ I’ve kind of always been up for the challenge and Coach Pittman, I was grateful he was able to let me come,” Franks said. “Like I said, transferring, it was like being recruited again, and then when Coach Pittman called I said would come on a visit and I just fell in love with it. It was time to go to work. But it is different, especially under the circumstances that we have with covid and Zoom meetings, everything being cut short with training camp and spring ball, so it was definitely different. But at the same time it was a blessing. Those guys here are awesome. Everybody is working hard. It was an awesome program, and still is an awesome program that is only going up. Coach Pittman has it going in the right direction, so it was awesome to transfer to the University of Arkansas.”
At Arkansas, Franks was elected as an offensive captain and showed outstanding leadership. That is something the NFL scouts are very likely to hold in high regard.
“I think it’s awesome,” Franks said. “It honestly wasn’t just me. There were a bunch of other guys that were a part of this. It wasn’t just me. It was a collaborative effort. There were a bunch of leaders out there to hold people accountable, and that’s what you need with a program. A program that’s good will hold people accountable and everybody have fun. Go into each game knowing that we have an opportunity to win because we put the work in throughout that week. So it’s been fun.”
Franks was one of the quarterbacks in the Senior Bowl and had a touchdown pass in the game.
“I think when you think about what we’re going through right now with the pandemic and things, you have less opportunities to get in front of scouts with the combine being canceled,” Franks said. “But it was a great experience to go out there, and you meet players from all across the country, and some of the best. To go out there and compete with those guys, you learn so many different personalities. It’s awesome to go out there and everyone is working toward the same goal, so there’s dedication. I had to switch from like a pro-style offense again. There’s so many different challenges that arise. It was fun being at the Senior Bowl.”
Count Franks among those impressed with his potential replacements at quarterback, both KJ Jefferson and Malik Hornsby.
“They’re both awesome,” Franks said. “I was out there watching practice (Tuesday) and they look great. It’s a hard-working group. Coach Briles and Coach Mark do a great job of preparing day in and day out those guys. It just carries over mentally, those guys being out there competing. I think competition breeds excellence, iron sharpens iron, and those guys are competing. You’re seeing them put their best foot forward day in and day out, so those guys are awesome. And it’s also awesome for me to sit back and kind of just watch and see those guys compete. It’s pretty cool. Those guys are both working hard, and all the guys in the quarterback room. I see we’ve got a freshman and another guy that came in, and all of those guys are working super hard. It’s awesome.”
The NFL Draft begins with Round 1 on April 29, the next two rounds on April 30 and then the final four rounds on May 1.