Former Last Chance U quarterback John Franklin III has had a winding path to the NFL. After a short stint at EMCC as the inaugural season of Last Chance U showed, Franklin transferred to Auburn and later joined Lane Kiffin at FAU. Now, Franklin is looking to realize his NFL dreams as he attempts to make the Chicago Bears roster.
According to NBC Sports, Franklin signed a rookie contract with the Bears in May, but is looking to make the team as a defensive back. Franklin impressed NFL teams by running a 4.32 40-time before the draft. Franklin agreed to terms with the Bears after failing to land a deal with the Seahawks after participating in their mini-camp. Even though Franklin technically signed a contract with Chicago, he is still fighting to make the team. Franklin admitted to being on a steep learning curve when learning defensive coverages.
“Nothing actually [what he knows about being a defensive back],” Franklin told the Chicago Sun Times. “I never played defense until I went to Seattle’s rookie minicamp last week. That was the first time I ever played defense in my life. But it prepared me to come here in minicamp and do extremely well. So I’m thankful that I got the chance to do that before I came here.”
While he is still raw defensively, Franklin hopes to lean on his experience as a quarterback to help understand his new role with the Bears.
“The defense I pick up real fast because I know what it looks like as a quarterback,” Franklin noted to Chicago Sun Times. “I know what I’m facing. I know how to stop it. I’m just learning physically to train my body how to stop it. So mentally, I feel like I’m ahead of somebody that just moved over [to defense]. I learned everything from the eyes of the person looking across the field. That’s one of my biggest advantages, and I’m using that. Once I get comfortable physically, I’ll be able to add that piece to it.”
Where Is John Franklin III Now? Trying to Make the NFL After Stops at Auburn & FAU
Many players go the JUCO route hoping to get an offer from a major DI program, only for it to never come. In that regard, Franklin succeeded by transferring to Auburn. Franklin failed to take control of the quarterback competition, but played in 12 games. Franklin only managed to complete make 26 pass attempts for 204 yards and a touchdown. While at Auburn, Franklin was utilized all over the field and rushed for 430 yards and two touchdowns.
After a season at Auburn, Franklin transferred to FAU, a school that has become a hub for former Last Chance U players. Franklin explained his decision on an Instagram post (via Sun Sentinel).
This wasn’t an easy decision by any means, but its what’s best for me and my family and right now I’m doing what I need to do for the betterment of myself as a player, and a man. Once again thank you for everything. I’m coming home and looking forward to playing my last collegiate season at FAU under Coach Lane Kiffin and excited to see what God has in store for me on this journey.
Franklin would be one of the first players featured on Last Chance U to make an NFL roster. Franklin had 16 rushing attempts for 229 yards and two touchdowns for the Owls. He also had 95 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Here’s a look at some of Franklin’s college highlights.
Source: Heavy Sports