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Thursday, March 7, 2013
Franklin feeling the benefits of 7-on-7

By Erik McKinney

As a cornerback, Shawn Franklin (Chandler, Ariz./Chandler) might spend a lot of time backpeddling, but everything the 5-foot-11, 155-pound athlete is doing this offseason is designed to move him forward.

Franklin has spent much of this offseason in the weight room and on the track, looking to get bigger, faster and stronger as he prepares for his senior season and a chance to move past a first-round loss in the playoffs last season.

"We had that disappointment with Brophy [Prep] last year, and that still sticks in our head," Franklin said. "I've been lifting really hard and doing track. I just have to keep working hard."

Part of that hard work has come in the form of 7-on-7 practices and tournaments. Franklin is a cornerback for Those Guys, an Arizona-based 7-on-7 team with some of the top talent in the state. Though they came up short in their quest for a title at the NLA 7-on-7 in Las Vegas, the secondary, featuring Franklin, was one of the standouts of the event. Franklin credits the extra work, specifically the opportunity to go against standout receiver Jalen Brown (Phoenix, Ariz./Mountain Pointe) for his significant improvement this offseason.

"When we go to practices, it's all competition," Franklin said. "You're going against the best, so you have an opportunity to be the best. Jalen Brown really helps me a lot, because he's pushing me to the limits. I know that if I can go against him, I can go against anybody in the country."

Franklin can already see the improvement in his game.

"I'm more dominant in my speed and getting better with my hips and drop step," he said. "I'm a better athlete and better student of the game. I know what to look for on film."

Arizona and Arizona State invited Franklin to their junior days, and he said both coaching staffs told him to keep pushing forward and to stay in touch. Franklin said he would like to hear from the rest of the Pac-12 as well, including both Los Angeles schools, UCLA and USC.

"I'll get there," Franklin said. "I just have to keep working hard and climb the ladder."