February 9, 2013

NSD Insider Report: Franklin will get a shot at QB

With four scholarship quarterbacks already on his roster, it would seem unlikely that Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher would keep three-star John Franklin at QB once Franklin arrives on campus.

The South Plantation High star is rated the No. 25 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2013, but at 6-foot-1, 171 pounds with a sub 4.4 40-yard dash, his future doesn't project to be as a signal caller.

However Fisher said he hasn't ruled out the possibility of Franklin throwing passes for FSU, rather than catching or deflecting them.

"He threw the ball at our camp extremely well," Fisher said. "He's a tremendous athlete, great hands. Can flick it, can throw it, can run, and when he tucks it down now, you talk about zone reads and doing all that stuff or scrambling, he's going to the house. He can fly. Great instincts."

Fisher believes that Franklins could be another South Florida diamond in the rough for FSU, in the same mold as Devonta Freeman or Xavier Rhodes.

Franklin has the athleticism to be either a wide reciever or defensive back if quarterback doesn't pan out, but Fisher said he will get a shot to play QB in the fall.

"Tremendous athlete, he can do a lot of things but we think he can be a quarterback," Fisher said. "There's no doubt he could be a tremendous wideout or corner in a heartbeat, but I think he has great skills at quarterback. We like him at quarterback and the way he throws the ball, he can provide a lot of athleticism."

Before he officially signed with FSU, Franklin told Warchant.com that Fisher has told him all along he's being recruited as quarterback. Franklin also said that he hasn't given any thought to playing another position if he doesn't earn the top spot on the QB depth chart this fall.

"To be honest I think I'm going to win it," Franklin said. "Who doesn't go into something thinking they're going to win it? If you can put the work and effort in, then things should go the way you want it. It just depends on how hard you work for it. That's my plan, just go in and hopefully I'll be able to take that job."

FSU Track & Field get another boost from 2013 class

For the second straight year, Fisher's signing class will not only have a big impact on the gridiron, but on the track as well.

Last season FSU signed football and track start Marvin Bracy and Ronald Darby to play both sports. This year Fisher inked another talented duo that will do both sports in college.

Four-star wide receiver Levonte Whitfield is an elite sprinter as well, and five-star corner Jalen Ramsey is a state champion decathlete and a terrific long-jumper.

Whitfield, who is Bracy's cousin, is the reigning Florida 2A State Champion in both the 100m (10.21 seconds wind-aided) and the 200m (20.96). He also is the national high school 100m champion after a hamstring prevented Bracy from running last summer.

"Levonte is one of those special talents that has come through our state," FSU Track & Field Associate Head coach and Sprints coach Ken Harnden. "The best way to describe him is that he belongs in the same sentence as (Walter) Dix, Bracy, (Xavier) Carter, (Justin) Gatlin and the greats before them like Bob Hayes. He possesses the ability to run both the 100 and the 200 at the highest level."

Fisher said that while Whitfield is track star, he's also a dynamite football player.

"He's probably the fastest guy in high school," Fisher said. "His times are right there with Marvin's. I don't know if he's quite as fast as Marvin. But he runs track, I think he thinks of himself as more of a football player than a track guy, he just happens to be very fast and he can run now. He can roll. He's a tough guy, plays very physical, great ball skills, very good ball skills."

Ramsey's Track & Field background is not quite as extensive as he's only participated for one year of high school after transferring schools. Last year though for Nashville, Tenn. Brentwood Academy Ramsey captured state titles in the decathalon, the long jump, the 200m (21.84) , 400m and was runner up in the 110m hurdles.

"He's going to break 25 feet this year," Fisher said of Ramsey in the long jump. "Probably a 40-inch vertical. Very explosive."

In addition to Ramsey and Whitfield, FSU Track & Field also signed a football prospect of its own in three-star offensive lineman Austin Droogsma from Gulf Breeze. Droogsma was rated the No. 19 offensive guard in the 2013 calls but turned down football offers from a number of high profile Division I schools (FSU recruited Droogsma for football at one point as well) to throw discus and shotput for FSU.

Droogsma is the top-rated discus and shot put thrower in the state, and is also rated the No. 2 discus thrower in the country. As long as Droogsma is on a track scholarship he will be unable to play football, but could decide to play both in the future if FSU decides to give him a football scholarship.

"I've never seen a guy more excited about Florida State than Austin Droogsma," Harnden said. "The kid is just over the moon."

Fisher plans to keep Kerr at tight end

With a 6-foot-6 frame and weighting only 254 pounds, it's easy to see why many believe that three-star FSU tight end signee Jermey Kerr projects as a future offensive tackle.

However Fisher said that Kerr, who is a self-admitted blocking-first tight end, will not be moved to offensive tackle anytime soon. Fisher instead plans to use Kerr as run-blocking tight end in the same mold as guys like Ja'Baris Little to help seal the edge against defensive ends who typically have close to a 20-pound advantage on tight ends.

"There's not a plan for that right now," Fisher said. "I think it's very important to have some big physical tight ends at the point when you're running the ball and running the stretch and doing some things on the edge so you can match up physically… I think he gives us some more physicality on the edge.

"Now if he happens to grow like that, that's fine, but that's not the plan. The plan is to keep him on the edge and let him block. He really fills a need at which we have in the offense."

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