**This post was very ill-timed. Almost immediately after this article published, Franklin left the Mizzou-Georgia game with what turned out to be a season-ending shoulder injury. We wish him a speedy recovery so that he can audition for NFL scouts come next year. **
When most people sat down and talked about SEC quarterbacks before the season, one player who was oft-forgotten about was Missouri senior QB James Franklin, and perhaps rightfully so.
Franklin was coming off of a year in 2012 when he was pretty banged up, and the SEC had Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, National Champion A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray–one of the most prolific passers in SEC history–, and Zach Mettenberger, whom some have compared to former Ravens first round pick Joe Flacco.
It’s not a shocker that Franklin has gone underrated, especially since some forget that Mizzou even plays in the SEC. But after watching what he’s done so far this season combined with an excellent performance on the road against Georgia, Franklin’s stock is very much on the rise for me.
Back in 2011, Franklin took the Big 12 by storm as a sophomore, throwing for 2,865 yards and 21 touchdowns, also rushing for 981 yards and 15 more scores.
Like I said in 2012, Franklin was pretty banged up and his numbers saw a significant drop because of it. In fact in 88 rush attempts, Franklin didn’t have a single rushing touchdown last season after scoring 15 as a sophomore.
However he’s come back healthy in 2013, and is playing some of the best football of his career. Heading into the Georgia game, Missouri is undefeated playing what some are calling a cupcake schedule, but they’ve still been able to beat what’s stood in front of them. Franklin is a lot bigger than I thought he was at 6’2″ 230 pounds and obviously has the athletic ability to run some of the dual-threat offenses that are being implemented into the NFL today.
Regardless of where he’s ranked by major media outlets right now, I think Franklin has legit NFL potential if he can stay healthy and his stock for me is very much on the rise. If Missouri can find a way to win on the road against Georgia (up 28-20 heading into the fourth quarter) then Franklin is likely going to hit the national spotlight sooner than later.