Temple High School junior defensive lineman T.J. Franklin has been to several Baylor games this season, and always likes the effort Matt Rhule’s team delivers.
Franklin plans to join the Bears in 2019 after making his verbal commitment Saturday night. Baylor was his first scholarship offer, and he decided to jump on it.
“I’ve been to a few games and I like the atmosphere and the program,” Franklin said. “They’ve gotten close in a few games and I think a turnaround is coming. I talked to my parents and we think it’s a good place for me.”
Franklin plays both end and tackle for the Wildcats, who substitute defensive linemen frequently to keep them fresh. At 6-6 and 265 pounds, he has a lot of room to add weight to his frame at the college level.
“He’s got a humongous frame,” said Temple coach Scott Stewart. “I think he could play at 290 pounds easily. He’s long, rangy and athletic. He can run a 4.8 (seconds in the 40-yard dash) and is fast up front.”
Franklin has been under the radar for recruiters, but the Baylor coaches recognized his potential. He’s made 18 tackles and two sacks this season for the Wildcats who have a 6-2 record.
“He was a contributor for us last year, but he’s really just kind of come on the scene this year,” Stewart said. “Coach Rhule and those guys have done a good job of seeing him and staying in touch with him.”
Franklin said he’s begun to establish a relationship with Baylor defensive line coach Elijah Robinson.
“We get along well and I just like the way they run things,” Franklin said.
Franklin is Baylor’s second verbal commitment in the 2019 class as he joins Round Rock Cedar Ridge receiver Jaylen Ellis.