Can James Franklin Rally the University of Missouri Football Program?

By Curt Popejoy
James Franklin
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Missouri Tigers football program made the move from the Big 12 to the SEC and well, let’s just say things did not go as planned. The plan was to plow into the SEC with a high powered offense led by starting quarterback James Franklin and he would run and throw all over the SEC defenses.

But that never materialized. Franklin was bit with the injury bug early and often. He came into the season with a surgically repaired shoulder, and re-injured it in the second game of the season. No sooner does he recover from that, he suffers an MCL sprain in the 6th game and missed more time. He made it back only to suffer a concussion near the end of the season and kept him out for the last game of the season. He essentially missed part of all of five games and with that the Tigers season was lost. They finished the year at 5-7 and were only 2-6 in conference play. Hardly the start the first SEC season they wanted.

But hope springs eternal for the Tigers as word out of Columbia is Franklin is healthy for sure, and should be able to participate fully in all off-season work. Last year Franklin had to have shoulder surgery in March which limited his Summer and Fall work; setting his development back quite a bit.

If you look back to his 2010 season you got a real taste of what a healthy Franklin is capable of. He threw for over 2,800 yards, rushed for 981 more yards, and had a total of 36 touchdowns. As a true dual threat quarterback, he was among the best in the country. He was a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.

The 2013 schedule for the Tigers is daunting. they travel to the University of Georgia, and have home games against Florida and Texas A&M. It won’t be easy, but make no mistake a healthy Franklin makes this team a contender week in and week out. But can he really make enough of a different to make the Tigers competitive in the SEC? I think so. No, the Tigers aren’t going to win the SEC in 2013, but with six very winnable games, all Franklin has to do is steal a couple more of the rest of the games and win the ones they should and this team could be back at eight or nine wins in a hurry. This will be a huge season for Franklin and Missouri. He’s a senior and his goal has to be not only to help his team win but also to position himself for the 2014 NFL draft.

If you haven’t gotten to see Franklin play at full speed I strongly suggest you give him a shot. He’s so explosive and so dynamic. I just wonder if the rest of the roster has enough talent to carry their share of the load. If the rest of that team can step up, Franklin and the Tigers will be a very tough out every single Saturday.

Come follow me on twitter @nfldraftboard for all my football ramblings.

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