CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. — In early December, Ginger Franks woke up on a Sunday morning to loud music and a quiet house.
She thought her two sons, Feleipe and Jordan Franks, could be sleeping in, but their rooms were empty. A quick glance out of the kitchen window confirmed her suspicions and also found the blaring speaker system.
“They were out there in the pasture, in their boxers and barefoot,” Ginger said. “They woke up and went straight out there to throw the football. Then they were out there in the dark doing it.
“That’s just how those two are. It’s like they were kids again.”
This was the highlight of their childhood in Wakulla County. Don and Ginger Franks have owned their property for 21 years, which features a pasture for their horses.
It’s also served as the playground for Feleipe and Jordan, the oldest by two years.
“I would just throw them outside,” Ginger said. “I actually have a picture in my office from when Feleipe was in diapers. He and Jordan are running around the pasture, just playing in the mud and throwing the football.
“It was just two country boys having fun. That’s how they were raised. The dirtier they could get, the better they were.”
Jordan, a wide receiver, is finishing his sophomore season at Central Florida. Feleipe is a 4-star quarterback who will enroll at Florida in January.
Their road to FBS college football began at their home in Crawfordville, Fla.
“That’s where it all started, in the pasture,” Feleipe said. “For a while there, we weren’t old enough to drive. So this was our practice field.”
The two brothers played several sports growing up, but both gravitated toward football. When Jordan hit 10th grade, he wanted to make it his future.
Jordan’s recruiting process and path to UCF was much harder than Feleipe’s, who received offers from big-time programs as a freshman.
“In high school we really started training,” Feleipe said. “He just had a drive to not be an average player. He was all about getting better and being the best at the position we played.
“That’s what really inspired us. We didn’t have the resources to go out and find a personal trainer or coach. YouTube has been our biggest friend.”
When Feleipe teammed up with his brother as a ninth grader, they would have “film sessions” watching YouTube training videos and then practice in the pasture.
“He’s a perfectionist,” Franks said of his older brother. “We would go out there three times a day to do drills, sometimes even after (Wakulla’s) practice.”
Their mother, who admittedly isn’t a big football fan, said watching her sons play together at Wakulla in 2012 and 2013 were the best times of her life.
“I remember Feleipe’s first touchdown pass in his first varsity game was to his brother, and it was also Jordan’s first touchdown,” Ginger said. “That was the start of the ‘Franks Connection.’ It was just exciting to watch them improve as players.
“They were honest with each other about what they needed to do. That sounding board was huge because they didn’t have anything else to go off of.”
As Feleipe gets ready to move away from home, he’s thankful for the countless hours he spent barefoot in the pasture with his sibling.
“The younger years were fun, just looking up to him,” Feleipe said. “His hard work and dedication to the game really inspired me. He would wake me up every morning to get out there and throw the football.
“He wanted me to be even more successful than him. I’m blessed to have a brother like that.”