Due to his speed, the natural comparison for Auburn junior college transfer quarterback John Franklin III has been former Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall. But as Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee pointed out Thursday, Franklin still has serious ground to make up from a physical standpoint.
Marshall played at around 200 pounds in his first year as the starter. Franklin is listed on Auburn’s official roster at a mere 174.
“I think in our league it does (matter),” Lashlee said about the weight disparity, according to The Ledger-Enquirer’s Michael Niziolek. “He (Marshall) came back in his senior year and was up to about 210 and that 10-12 pounds made a huge difference. He played the whole year and never missed a game and stayed healthy.”
Franklin has gained 10 pounds since arriving to campus, according to Lashlee, and the coach anticipates further weight gain during the summer. He could stand to put on another 20 to 25 pounds before the start of fall camp.
On the field, Franklin entered this spring’s quarterback battle as the least experienced among his two competitors, senior Jeremy Johnson and sophomore Sean White. Johnson and White both saw time as the starter last season, but Franklin is making an effort to get up to speed as quickly as possible.
“He’s tried to do everything and take advantage of every opportunity he’s had to learn the playbook, learn more about the system, learn the offense and to just improve,” Lashlee said, according to Niziolek. “I’ve seen positive development there and there’s no question that’s the kind of initiative and leadership we need.”