Earlier this offseason, John Franklin III changed positions. Just a couple of weeks before the start of a new season, he’s changing schools. Again.
In a statement, head coach Gus Malzahn confirmed that Franklin “has made the decision to play elsewhere.” The coach cited Franklin’s desire to closer to his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as the reason behind the decision, although it comes a few months after he moved from quarterback to wide receiver — and a day after Jarrett Stidham was officially named the starting quarterback.
Franklin will be leaving The Plains as a graduate transfer, meaning he’d be eligible to play immediately this season. Already, speculation has Lane Kiffin and Florida Atlantic as a potential landing spot.
Below is Malzahn’s statement, in its entirety.
John Franklin came to me expressing his desire for the chance to play more and get closer to home. He has made the decision to play elsewhere this season as a graduate transfer. John has been an outstanding young man during his time here and leaves Auburn with a degree. We wish John nothing but the best and thank him for his time at Auburn.
Franklin began his collegiate career as a three-star member of Florida State’s 2013 recruiting class. After playing in two games in 2014, he transferred from FSU to ‘Last Chance U” before reports surfaced in November of 2015 that he would be transferring to Auburn. In his first (and only) season with the Tigers last year, he started one game in place of the injured Sean White.
College football lost an icon and one of the pivotal figures in sport on Monday as legendary Arkansas head coach and athletic director Frank Broyles passed away at the age of 92.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Coach Frank Broyles. He passed peacefully in his home surrounded by his loved ones,” a statement released by his family said. “For 92 years John Franklin Broyles lived nothing short of a remarkable life. To all who would listen, Frank Broyles was quick to proclaim, in his unmistakable and infectious southern tone, that he was blessed to live ‘A Charmed Life’.”
Broyles died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease according to an obituary posted on Arkansas’ website. He had spent the past several years out of the public spotlight as a result following nearly five decades of heavy involvement in Razorbacks athletics.
The lengthy list of Broyles’ accomplishments starts as head coach in Fayetteville, where he guided the team to a record of 144-58-5 that included seven Southwest Conference titles and the 1964 national championship. He was part of a number of historic college football games, including the famous 1969 ‘Game of the Century’ with Texas.
In addition to his duties on the gridiron, Broyles was the school’s athletic director from 1976 through 2007 and played a pivotal role in guiding Arkansas from the SWC to its present day home in the SEC. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and was also well-known for his duties calling games for ABC Sports in the 70’s and 80’s.
“Frank Broyles made a lifelong impact on thousands of Arkansas student-athletes and millions of fans and alumni, all who knew him as Coach Broyles, while positively altering the course of the University of Arkansas and the entire state of Arkansas,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “He fostered a unique loyalty to Arkansas Athletics and promoted the Razorback brand nationwide.”
A private family burial will be held in Fayetteville but the school is planning an on campus “public celebration of his life” in the future.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was optimistic about wide receiver Kyle Davis returning to the team at some point this spring, but the tune has changed regarding his future. Malzahn is now saying Davis may be out for the remainder of Auburn’s spring practices due to personal reasons.
“Kyle Davis is still taking care of some personal business,” Malzahn said, according to SEC Country. “I’m not for sure if he’s going to be back before the end of the spring. He will be back for the fall, just taking a little bit longer than we initially thought.”
It was just a few weeks ago Malzahn said Davis was going to be out for the start of spring practices, which are now close to half over. For now, the plan is simply to have him return over the summer in preparation for the fall.
In the meantime, Malzahn confirmed John Franklin III is working primarily as a wide receiver, which had previously been suspected to be the case.
We don’t know yet who will be Auburn’s starting quarterback. We do, though, know who won’t be.
Tyler Queen took to his personal Twitter account this afternoon to announce that, “after a lot of prayer and discussion with my family,” he feels “it is time to transfer and explore other opportunities.” In his Twitter missive, the rising redshirt sophomore wrote that “I feel like I haven’t had a chance to show the player I’m capable of being.”
A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2015 recruiting class, Queen was rated as the No. 15 pro-style quarterback in the country. Elbow surgery helped lead to a redshirt his true freshman season. He appeared in two games last season, completing one of his two passes for 11 yards.
Incumbent Sean White and Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham are viewed as the main contenders for the starting job, with the latter seen as the favorite by many. White is extremely limited this spring because of a broken forearm suffered in the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma, leading new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey to declare that a starter won’t be named exiting the 15 sessions.
Redshirt freshman Woody Barrett and early enrollee Malik Willis are on the periphery of the competition as well. John Franklin III would’ve been a part of the signal-calling gaggle but has been getting reps at wide receiver.
Having a quarterback who can do it all is a nice luxury to have. While much of the Auburn quarterback situation may be focusing on Jarrett Stidham and the news that John Franklin III is seeing reps at wide receiver this spring, it is Woody Barrett who is turning heads with his sense of self-confidence.
The redshirt freshman quarterback is making a good impression with his teammates with his mentality on the practice field. Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson respects the way Barrett is working hard this spring and explains the young quarterback seems to think eh can score at will.
“Woody gets out there, and, it’s funny, Woody literally believes he will score every play,” Johnson said, according to Al.com. “To a point, that’s what you got to love. That’s the same mentality I go in with every play. I love it. He’s got so much confidence that it gets scary sometimes.”
Now is a good time to have that kind of confidence in your game, especially as Auburn is in a position where it could benefit by having a solid quarterback option. Sean White is banged up this spring and Stidham is making the transition to his new program after fleeing Baylor. Franklin III is competing for playing time at quarterback as well in addition to getting some time to catch passes.
“He’s got a skill set, everybody knows he’s a great athlete,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said regarding Franklin, according to Gridiron Now. “It’s kinda hard to tell. He hasn’t gotten much, but we’ll give him an opportunity and his attitude is great. He’s wanting to help the team any way he can.”
Other quarterbacks hoping to impress in the spring include Tyler Queen and Malik Willis.