From the Stephen F. Austin State University Athletic Department
NEW YORK, N.Y. (News Release) - For the first time since 2015 the Stephen F. Austin football program will be represented at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana, as defensive end John Franklin was invited to participate in the coveted workout this week. Held at Lucas Oil Stadium Tuesday-Monday, Feb. 27-March 5, Franklin is the first Lumberjack to be invited to the NFL Scouting Combine since All-American and SFA's all-time leading rusher Gus Johnson participated in the pre-draft showcase in 2015.
Only top prospects eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft are invited to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine where general managers, executives, coaches, scouts and doctors from all 32 NFL teams conduct an intense, four-day job interview in advance of the NFL Draft. Hundreds of the very best college football players participate in measurements, medical exams, interviews, testing and on-field workouts across the four days with the measurable drills being the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and shuttle run.
Franklin will be a part of the defensive linemen group, which will participate in the NFL Scouting Combine Thursday-Sunday, March 1-4. His on-field workout with timing, stations and skill drills will take place on Sunday, March 4.
The NFL Network provides exclusive coverage of the league's next generation of talent with live coverage of the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.
Franklin's NFL Scouting Combine invitation comes on the heels of a spectacular performance at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl a couple weeks ago at the historic Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California. Leading the Mike Martz' coached National team to a 23-0 rout over the American squad, Franklin posted a team-high tying seven total tackles, including a tackle for loss, and had a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry.
A native of Greenville, Texas, Franklin has had a remarkable journey from going 0-40 as a prep player at Greenville High School to a three-time All-Southland Conference honoree. An All-Southland Second Team selection this past fall, Franklin finished out his Lumberjack career as one of SFA's top performers on the defensive line all-time. He led the Lumberjacks' defensive front in his final season suiting up for the Purple and White, posting a team-best 13.5 tackles for loss for negative 46 yards, including dishing out 3.5 sacks for a loss of 24 yards. In league play, Franklin's 11.5 tackles for loss were fifth-most in the conference as he tied for sixth in tackles for loss per game (1.28). Ranked 42nd nationally in tackles for loss per game (1.2) for the entire season, Franklin finished with the fifth-most total tackles (55) on the team, including 27 solo stops.
Prior to the 2017 season, Franklin was tabbed as the 31st most important player in Texas by Dave Campbell's Texas Football. Franklin completed his Lumberjack career fifth on SFA's all-time career tackles for loss list with 37.5 over the past four seasons, while finishing ninth in program history in all-time career sacks (17.5). He compiled 130 total tackles across the last four seasons, including making 70 solo stops, forced five fumbles and had 22 quarterback hurries.
With a plethora of looks from NFL teams throughout the fall, his NFLPA Collegiate Bowl performance and the NFL Scouting Combine workout, Franklin has a strong opportunity to become the first NFL Draft pick for SFA since 2011. Former All-American linebacker Jabara Williams was taken 228th in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft, becoming the 32nd draft pick for the 'Jacks in program history.