LAGRANGE, Ga. — Gus Malzahn and wide receiver coach Kodi Burns have been vocal about needing to find a place for John Franklin III in Auburn’s offense in 2017.
After spring practice, Chip Lindsey is in full agreement.
The first-year offensive coordinator also believes Franklin’s natural athletic ability will help him make his way onto the field when the season gets going this fall.
“John’s a leader on our team,” Lindsey said before a recent speaking engagement at the West Georgia Auburn Club. “Obviously, he’s on every special team. He can really run, obviously, and John’s excited about getting a chance to be a wideout full-time.”
Franklin’s speed is obvious. Burns has praised the junior college transfer’s “natural hands.”
The question isn’t if Franklin can help the Tigers — it’s where the quarterback-turned-receiver will have the biggest impact.
“Now, we got to figure out exactly which – you’ve got inside receivers, you got outside receivers, we got guys that do different things,” Lindsey said. “I think our goal this summer and even into fall camp is to find out where he fits, for sure. Because one thing he can really do is run.”
There are other aspects of the position change — including route-running details and hand placement —Lindsey expects to see Franklin improve on as he adjusts to the switch this summer.
But keeping up athletically and as far as understanding Lindsey’s new offense hasn’t been an issue for Franklin.
In fact, the Florida native is establishing himself as a standout in the receiver meetings this spring.
“It’s been good. It’s been nothing but positive to have John Franklin in the room,” Burns said on assistant coach media day. “I think any time you bring a quarterback to a receiver room and kind of see how a quarterback approaches the game, how he approaches meetings, I think has been really good.”
Following the Iron Bowl, Franklin thought about transferring where he could play quarterback. But communication with Lindsey seems to have helped him make the decision to stay — and turn toward a leadership role.
“We’ve had very real conversations but every one if them has been he loves Auburn, he loves being here,” Lindsey said. “I think he feels like Auburn’s home for him. He’s been at three different schools so I’m not sure he’s excited about making a jump. That would probably be something you’d have to ask him but I feel really good about where he’s at.”