If football doesn’t work out for John Franklin III the Auburn quarterback might have a future in law enforcement. Wide receiver Tony Stevens still isn’t sure how the junior college transfer tracked down his number in January before the two even met.
“He got us (all the receivers) in a group message and I was like how did he get all of our numbers,” Stevens said.
Stevens only previous experience with Franklin was watching the then-Florida State quarterback play in the Seminoles’ spring game two years ago.
When Auburn’s newest quarterback arrived on campus, he wasn’t interested in waiting for formal introductions to reach out to his teammates.
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“As soon as he got here he texted all the receivers let’s get it, let’s go throw on his own time and usually the receivers will text the quarterbacks let’s go throw,” Stevens said. “He texted us and wanted to be there, knew what he wanted to do and how he wanted it.”
Franklin came to Auburn after a brief stint at East Mississippi Community College focused on winning the starting job over Jeremy Johnson and Sean White and getting familiar with his receivers was part of that effort.
“He’s pretty much a leader in my eyes,” Stevens said. “On the field, you can see he’s having fun out there. He’s already at home.”
On Tuesday, Stevens was just the latest Auburn representative to praise the quarterback. Coach Gus Malzahn used the phrase “wow factor” in describing Franklin’s speed earlier this month with both Kamryn Pettway and Chandler Cox backing up their coach’s assessment. Stevens added his name to the list when he was asked how Franklin would do if the team went live (full contact) later this week.
“John, I mean, he’s fast so good luck trying to catch him in a scrimmage,” Stevens said.
The senior also offered up his thoughts on the comparisons of Franklin to former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, who Stevens played two seasons with.
“I see a lot of similarities,” Stevens said. “Their quickness, their shifty-ness, their speed obviously to get outside, the arm strength – they both have the same arm strength.”