I’m rooting for Zaire Franklin. Not because Syracuse has a verbal from an extremely rare commodity: a potential 4-star linebacker. Not because he could be the anchor to a great defense one day. Not because it proves the coaching change in January did nothing to stem the tide of SU’s football recruiting.
I’m rooting for Franklin because of one quote. One sentence that told me all I need to know about the young man. Once he decided to verbally give his commitment to the Orange, he personally called all the other coaches who had offered him scholarships. He didn’t want them finding out via the internet or through the grapevine.
“At the end of the day, they all gave me an opportunity to, for one, go to college for free, and do something I really want. You just gotta show your appreciation.”
And there you have it. The ultimate clarity for a highly-sought after athlete. Something far too rare in today’s high school and college athletics.
We all (including this site) breathlessly talk about players from the time they’re 16 years old, dissecting their every move, endlessly discussing where they might land.
Twitter, Facebook, message boards, and comments sections like The Fizz can whip into a frenzy over a recruit. Coaches are deluging them with letters and calls. Reporters are begging for a few minutes. Recruiting experts are detailing their every step. Some athletes begin to feel like they’re entitled to all the attention. They believe they’re celebrities above all else.
But at its very core, a college scholarship is a chance to get an education for free. Something most of us would kill for. And to follow a path that we truly want? Well, that’s icing on the cake. And Franklin sees all of that, and he’s only a high school junior.
Well done, Zaire. You can suit up for my school any day.