Luke Franklin - Class of 2023
One of the most common questions I get from parents is, "Why should we consider playing tournament football?"
My response starts with an explanation and ends with the reality.
"As a parent I want my son to start varsity as a freshmen. This is a lofty goal and translates into thousands of dollars for camps, combines, training, and All American games. When I found out I could have my son try out for a team that would be comprised of the best-of-the-best then I was sold. I got a return on the investment because of the extra practices, games, scrimmages, and superior competition. I am a football fanatic and realize the importance of practicing when the rest of the state has forgotten about football. I do not care if my son ever plays a down or plays his favorite position. I just care about the experience and if this experience can help him get a shot on Friday night. One extra year of Friday Night Lights is worth it 100%. My son Rylan started at tight end his first year and had never played tight end in his life. He was a safety and running back. The second year for the 8th Grade Team Indiana FBU he started at safety. Bottom line is my son started varsity as a freshmen and is All State as a sophomore at safety. He is also a running back in High School and scored 14 touchdowns. This is why you sign up for Team Indiana, Team Indiana FBU, or Team Indiana Select. No matter which team you choose your son will get the experience and high level competition he needs to get onto the field earlier", (Cole, 2014).
I have to start this article with a special note about this player’s family support system. The parents of youth athletes are all different and as a parent myself and coach for 20 plus years I have established a favorite type parent. The parents that openly communicate, voice opinions openly & outwardly to avoid gossip, and to use a very rudimentary hip hop cultural term or saying, “Keep it real 90’s or the 2000’s Keep it 100”.
The Franklin's are a true football family and always keep it 100!!!!
In 2018, Luke Franklin was a starter with Indiana Select 14U. This 8th grade All Star team advanced to the final round of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy Youth Football World Championships after a “Battle” with Team Mexico. This won VS a very scrappy Mexico squad was bitter sweet because it came after a tough loss to Indiana Select rival Team Indiana.
Background: Franklin and Team Indiana
Luke was a starter for Team Indiana in 2017. After this season the team split with some staying with Team Indiana and others migrating to Indiana Select. Team Indiana won the National Championship and I was the Head Coach. The reason we dominated was because of our offensive line. We won each and every battle in the trenches with the “Biggs”.
Luke had the size, technique, and diversity as a big man and earned his spot on one of the most devastating offensive lines ever assembled. Luke flourished in the run centric offensive scheme and ended up playing Center, Guard, and Tackle during our championship season, but found himself starting as a tackle. We a had disciplined attack with a Zone blocking philosophy and a Run, Pass, Option approach. This offensive game plan would not have been effective without versatile, mobile, athletic, and physical players battling it out on the line.
The 2017 Team Indiana offense was lead by QB Sterling Smith and running back by committee; Caleb Marcus, Christopher Jordan Jr., and Rodney Johnson. The offensive line was moving people all season with an aggressive attack. This group was not only aggressive at the point of engagement, but climbed up to the second level like no other.
The philosophy is simple; linemen are athletes. In order to climb to block a faster linebacker; being an athlete is mandatory. Franklin was hungry and fit the mold. The right to play on the line was not a right of passage because of his extensive football resume, his high light films, or his social media followers. This position was highly sought after by other like minded and bodied "Biggs". They all wanted to start and would stop at nothing to get a starting position. Once a player had the position they would try even harder to retain the position. So to say you started on the 2017 National Championship Team means something.
Luke played whenever and wherever the staff asked him to. He got better every week and battled against the best competition in the state at practice every week. D.J. Ward Jr. and the Brownsburg tandom of Jones & Jarvis made every practice a challenge.
Franklin came ready to go hard every week and this student athlete is a true team player that would often help other players with technique, even though this help may intrude on his ability to lock a position down. Luke was never seen doubting, questioning, complaining, or pouting about the job he was asked to do. He just stepped up day after day and worked his hardest to earn his spot. I told the “Biggs” before the season that it was a privilege to start on this offensive or defensive line. They all seemed to get it and the competition was testy at times, but a necessary evil of any good offensive line.
Luke wanted it bad and asked me for ways to get better and was serious about winning a position. I wanted to get the linemen doing board drills and provided military rubber boards for the linemen at each practice. Luke Franklin took his board home and this was when I knew he would be a starting offensive linemen. Franklin worked his boards in the yard and each week his technique; namely footwork got better. His biggest improvements included staying low, being aggressive at point of contact, buzzing his feet with short choppy steps, and taking the proper Zone Steps. He progressed by getting to second level and making the linebackers respect our inside game; while creating monster cut back lanes for the backs to go through. The little things or intangibles were second nature by the end of the season. Luke made good fits, kept his elbows in tight, went the season without a holding call.
This 2017 season was possibly the most rewarding season as a head coach! Luke was one of those players that helped make it possible by working hard every practice, game, and tournament. Watching the team come together as a unit and each player solidify his role was amazing.
Back to 2018 Indiana Select Season
After the win VS Mexico and our emotional loss to the former team/rival; the Indiana Select team was eliminated from National Championship contention. But after the dust settled and all the Regional games were tallied, Indiana Select was given a second life and mathematically qualified for the championships.
However, Luke made a commitment to his high school when he thought the team was done for the season. It was definitely a loss for the team.
I did not hear the news on social media, from another coach, or from a parent. I received the following e-mail.
"Good luck this weekend coach- sorry it had to go down like it did- but wanted to give you some positive news:
After canceling the tourney and committing to the varsity football coach for this weeks for with the varsity team, Luke has made a huge impression. Upper class men thought he was a transfer and blew them away he was an 8th grader.
Coaches using Luke for demonstrations on technique!
Your one goal was to prepare these kids to play Friday nights- well you may have one more to add to the list.
Give em hell coach and thank you for the past 2 years of developing Luke!"
This was a good parent; and great communication.
Alright let’s talk about Luke Franklin’s football resume!
Franklin was 13 years old and his birthday was in March. This made him a younger player in the 14U age bracket. Most sports it's a good idea to play up, but this is not the norm in tournament football. This is just Luke for ya; he has the size and so you would never know he was on the young side for the 14U level. Franklin was able to compete and win his position because of his ability to digest the game and mentally focus on task even in the heat of battle. He never let emotion get in the way of progress and maintained a calm demeanor in the face of adversity. Franklin has a high football IQ. This is not the, “I play Madden”, type of football awareness; Franklin has the, “Been there done that”, brand of play.
His dad says, “The kid eats and breaths Football”.
I say, "Your right dad, but I think he lives, breaths, and sleeps football".
Luke is humble and played last season injured. Not just any injury but with a lineman's nightmare, he played with a gimpy hamstring. He was not 100% but never made excuses or blamed others. Franklin just he made it work. I believe he used his experience of playing since 1st grade and watching his older brother at linebacker at Seymour mask the fact he was injured.
Luke is a versatile lineman and although he is quiet off the field he makes his presence known once the ball is snapped communicating with the best of them when it counts. He was like David Banner and turned into the Hulk only after he put on his helmet. He has played 7 years at Center with (Seymour), which is the same town John Cougar Mellancamp is from. John Cougar is an avid football fan and will likely be watching Luke with Jack & Diane.
Luke played 1 year at guard (Team Indiana), 1 year at Tackle, Center, and Guard (Team Indiana Select) and has always been a Long snapper for his hometown (Seymour).
Franklin works out with the high school team and works out at his home gym.
Franklin works the boards, ladder drills, cone drills, route running (tight end), snapping (under center, shotgun, pistol, veer, long snap) at home. This extra work is above and beyond other players are willing to sacrifice to get better. This extra work will take him to another level and it’s hard to find linemen that can beat him; but if they do it will be short lived because if he continues to work he will pass them eventually.
Luke does have a life and is still just an over-sized kid. So in his downtime, Luke enjoys playing Madden with a focus, of course, on how the game is intended to flow. Like chess, Madden is a game, that imitates the art of war. The definition of strategy includes making a plan of action designed to achieve or accomplish a predetermined goal. Franklin has a vision and all moves are part of his master plan.
"Franklin is one of those guy's we don't have to worry about. He just needs direction and he is focused on task until the job is done", (Cole, 2019).
Scouting Luke Franklin
Coach Jason Montgomery, Columbus North, told me he had a monster sized lineman that could move and so I found his profile on Youth 1 Media. Montgomery had never been wrong about a player in the past and was not wrong about Franklin. "When you see this one coach he is like Barger, Fisher, or even Mack", (Montgomery, 2016).
My response to Montgomery, "I never doubt you buddy, but there is no way you are get another top linemen this year. The odds are against you boss", (Cole, 2016).
I was impressed with his profile, the article I read about him, and his extensive experience heading into the 7th grade. After his first tryout he became a fixture on the offensive line. I hate to admit that Montgomery, "Coach Monty", found yet another top linemen.
Here is the first article I found while scouting the entire state for Lineman.
Here is the link to his football profile in Youth1 media!
Luke Franklin’s Stats: Size, Power, Speed
Self proclaimed lover of Pancakes!
- 6’1 – 220 llbs.
- Bench – conversion max 225
- Squat – Conversion max - 330
- Power Clean – 185
- 40 time: 5.45
- Wingspan: 74.5”
Here is a link to his Huddle Highlights from Rocky Top National Championships over 2018 Thanksgiving Weekend!
Football Resume: The “Luke” Franklin
Honor Roll - (Student Athlete) 2011-2019
2019- Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy "Elite Middle School Camp" Invitation
2018 – Pro Football Hall of Fame Regional Champion
2018 – Rocky Top Thanksgiving Bowl Runner -up
2018 – Naptown Classic Runner-up Elite Division
2018 – Elite Indiana Select Selection
2017 – Diamond Elite All-American 7th Grade
2017 – Pro Football Hall of Fame Game For Life National Champions 7th Grade All Star Division
2017 – Pro Football Hall of Fame Regional Champions
2017 - Canton Classic Runner-Up
2017 - Canton Classic Academics Excellence Award (Silver)
2017 – Naptown Classic Champions
2017 – Elite Team Indiana Selection
2017 - FBU TOP GUN Selection – Rock Hill SC
2017 - FBU Ohio Football Camp
2017/2018 - 2-time Seymour Middle School MVP (Center/DE) 7th and 8th Grade
2017 - 7th Grade Mr. Seymour (embodies characteristics of Seymour Football)
2016 – Purdue Football Camp
2011 1st grade State runner up Trinity Lutheran (Seymour) (Full contact)
Click below to see Luke's Bleechr Profile
Luke's Bleechr Profile
Marcus Cole-Commissioner Indiana Select Youth Football League