John Franklin III stands out at receiver, catches touchdown in Auburn’s 1st spring scrimmage

John Franklin III stands out at receiver, catches touchdown in Auburn’s 1st spring scrimmage

Auburn’s newest receiver is making himself right at home this spring.

Former quarterback John Franklin III, who made the full-time move to receiver when Auburn returned to practice from spring break on Tuesday, stepped up as a playmaker during the Tigers’ first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday morning inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. The 6-foot-1, 183-pounder made multiple catches, according to coach Gus Malzahn and teammates, including a touchdown.

“John is really good,” quarterback Sean White said. “He’s working hard to make the transition. He looks good. He caught a touchdown today I saw. He caught a couple more passes. I think he’s going to be really good.”

Franklin, who began working at receiver during Auburn’s third practice on March 4, caught a touchdown from true freshman quarterback Malik Willis during Saturday’s 100-plus play scrimmage. It was one of two touchdowns thrown by Willis on the day.

Franklin’s performance at receiver on Saturday caught Malzahn’s eye, the coach said afterward.

Franklin has seemingly embraced the position change after spending his entire career at quarterback, first as a backup at FSU, then while splitting time at East Mississippi Community College in 2015 before serving as White’s backup last season. The redshirt senior spent his spring break working out in South Florida and releasing a series of hype videos showcasing drills he worked on to improve his skillset¬†at the position.

“He’s a speedy guy,” defensive back Carlton Davis said. “He has dangerous speed, so you always want to respect that from your receiver, and he has good hands. Just from being a quarterback and now converting to receiver, he has a lot of ability over there, and he has a bright future at receiver.”

Along with making plays at receiver on Saturday, Franklin also got an opportunity to return one of three live punts during the scrimmage. Previously this spring, during media viewing periods, Franklin worked on special teams as a gunner on punt returns. However, given his playmaking ability, Malzahn wants to make an effort to get the ball in Franklin’s hands in the open field in multiple ways.

“We’re just trying to get the ball in his hands,” Malzahn said. “He did some good things. Still learning the position, but he’s a veteran guy. The fact that he played quarterback, he understands the splits and the depth and the timing and everything that goes with that.

“I thought he did some good things. Each practice, you see him getting more and more comfortable. He can flat-out run.”

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Published at Sat, 25 Mar 2017 20:16:00 +0000