CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. — The hype and stress of being a high-profile quarterback came early for Feleipe Franks.
Clemson offered him in the spring of his freshman year (2013), before he had even become the full-time starter at Wakulla High School. That summer, Florida was the next school to offer.
Franks picked up nine more offers in the three months following his sophomore season, including schools such as Alabama, Florida State and UGA.
His mother, Ginger Franks, made sure it didn’t go his head.
“He overlooked a lot of that stuff,” Franks said. “He knows that when he gets to college, it’s not going to be like when you’re being recruited. You have to get up, go to work and fight for your position. That’s just the way it is, bottom line.
“So we never got caught up in the recruiting stuff. We’re simple people just living out in the country. We like a quiet life. So I told coaches, ‘You don’t need to wine and dine us.’ Feleipe knows that’s not reality.”
An offer from LSU in May of 2014 led to Franks’ commitment to the Tigers two months later. For more than a year, his recruiting process calmed down with his pledge in place.
That all changed this November, when Franks made three consecutive visits to Florida and flipped to the Gators by the end of the month, citing his relationship with coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier as well as their track record with quarterback development.
While Franks’ decision may have been easy, the aftermath of it was anything but.
Florida’s pursuit of 5-star QB Jacob Eason and LSU’s last-ditch efforts with two in-home visits were a feeding frenzy for fans and media. Franks addressed those topics in an exclusive interview with SEC Country, but otherwise ignored the outside noise.
“I definitely am a guy that stays focused on the task at hand and takes things day-by-day,” Franks said. “When everything was happening around me that the media was blowing up, I was just focusing on my team and winning a state championship. I can’t worry about what I can’t control.”
His mother said she’s proud of how he handled himself during his recruitment, especially near the end with his team in the midst of a playoff run.
“A lot of quarterbacks, they just have to be able to block out stuff or they’re not going to be good,” she said. “Feleipe did that. That’s just a trait of a good quarterback.
“I think growing up the way he has, just the country lifestyle, kind of isolated him from a lot of nonsense. I’m really honest with him about social media and staying away from all of it. Don’t put something out there unless you want it on the front page of the newspaper.”
The last of a dying breed, Franks doesn’t really play video games and isn’t into social media, though he said he’ll get on Instagram every now and then. He made his last post when Gators fans were wondering if he’d stick with his commitment because of UF recruiting other quarterbacks.
“I have been up against tough competition all my life. The funny thing is, that’s where I thrive,” Franks wrote.
Franks proved that at the Elite 11 this summer, and his mother expects the same out of him in college.
“I’m excited for him,” she said. “I know how hard he’s worked to get there, but I’m very blunt with him on that. There’s always somebody trying to take your position and replace you, so don’t ever think you’re better than anybody. You have to stay grounded and humble.”