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November 18, 2008

Season recap: Eric Franklin

It was the day of the Archbishop Curley-Archbishop Spalding game, and Friars coach Sean Murphy was forced to do some last-minute scrambling.

Curley assistant Warren Schwartz had to miss the game to be with his ailing mother, leaving Murphy without a defensive coordinator.

In Schwartz’s absence, Murphy turned to his captain, Maryland safety commitment Eric Franklin.

“The day of the game, we had gotten word that Coach [Schwartz] wasn’t going to be there, as she was passing,” Murphy said. “I had talked to Eric probably at about one o’clock; just a few hours before kickoff. He got together with one of our defensive assistants and kind of went through a game plan, just making adjustments and [deciding] how they would handle things. He made a lot of the calls on the field, with coverages and getting our defense in certain formations.”

Curley fell to Spalding, 27-20 in two overtimes, that day. But Franklin did his part, picking off one pass and leading the defense on the field.

“He’s always trying to find ways to pick kids up, and they respect him,” Murphy said. “They know he’s not only an outstanding football player, but he’s also very smart. He knows the defense as well as any of the coaches and gets our kids in the right position.

“I think he was a little more of a leader by example this year. He was much more vocal, made sure his presence was felt. Kids were more aware of him ... I think he stepped up and knew his role, knew when it was important to take more control of the team. He assumed his leadership role really well.”

As a senior, Franklin recorded approximately 80 tackles and seven interceptions, helping Curley to an 8-3 record. He also caught 13 passes and three touchdowns from the tight end position. Murphy said he thinks Franklin, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound prospect, projects as a free safety in college.

“I think [Maryland is] looking at him as a free safety,” Murphy said. “They also want to see how much weight he puts on. He might be a linebacker, but right now his best position is free safety. He has good field awareness and excellent hands. Not many people are going to get past him running the football. He’s a very good open-field tackler.”

Murphy said Franklin, a 4.0 student who also plays basketball and runs track, needs more time in the weight room before contributing on the field for the Terps. But Murphy is confident Franklin will make a positive impact off the field as soon as he arrives in College Park.

“As I told [the Maryland] coaches, those guys will be able to sleep at night,” Murphy said. “They’re not going to worry about him not doing well academically or partying. He keeps it all in perspective. He’s a good role model and he’s going to do some great things down there.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:33 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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