Perhaps the best RB in the 2013 NFL Draft, Johnathan Franklin now stands alone in the annals of UCLA history, as it’s all-time leading rusher with 4.403 yards (including an astounding 1,734 as a senior) and finished 2012 as a Doak Walker Award finalist (Nation’s best RB). Franklin was invited to Mobile, AL for the prestigious Senior Bowl where he continued to impress with his all-around skills, and even scored a touchdown in the game. Franklin may solidify himself as a 1st round pick and the top RB in the draft with a solid Combine performance. I recently had the opportunity to interview him for NFL Draft Zone.
Shaun DePasquale: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today Johnathan. Can you tell me where you’re training for the NFL Draft?
Johnathan Franklin: API in Carson at the Home Depot Center
SD: What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses (things you may need to work on)?
JF: leadership and work ethic are my strengths in my opinion. I am my biggest critic so as far as weaknesses, I want to improve on everything!
SD: How do you feel your time UCLA helped you prepare for the NFL?
JF: Being at UCLA has helped me become the person I am today, with the diversity UCLA brings it has helped me get out my comfort zone and speak to everyone regardless of who they are. Which helped be confident speaking to different teams. Coach Mora has done a tremendous job with preparing us on the practice field and pushing me to be the best I can be not only as a player but a man!
SD: What was the Senior Bowl experience like?
JF: To compete against the top players in the country it was great! Meeting scouts and playing on a national stage was a humbling and a great feeling.
SD: What type of feedback have you received from NFL scouts?
JF: I just need to work as hard as I can.
SD: What active NFL player would you compare your skillset to?
JF: None, although there are some great players in the NFL, every player has their own swag and style of play. So I just strive to be the best I can be in all aspects!
SD: Who was the toughest defender you ever faced in college?
JF: Eric Berry
SD: What has been your greatest accomplishment, athletically or personally ?
JF: Personally, finding Christ has to be the best thing that has ever happened to me. Athletically, being the UCLA All-Time leading rusher and single season record holder!
SD: UCLA obviously really turned a corner this past season. What were the main differences?
JF: Coach Mora taking the team to San Bernardino really helped us. Reason being was our team grew so much and became closer. We weren’t just a team but a family! With that came leadership, expectations and player accountability!
SD: If you could have dinner with any 3 people, living or otherwise, who would they be and why?
JF: John Wooden because of the wisdom would love to pick his brain! Martin Luther King Jr., I’m about change and strive to be a role model would love to Shadow him and know how he did it. Thirdly my grandfather he passed away years ago, but I miss him dearly!
SD: What player growing up did you most admire and model your game after?
JF: I just loved football so I watched everyone.
SD: Give me the name of a teammate on UCLA that isn’t talked about nearly enough.
JF: UCLA BRUINS!! The whole program. The best player on the team is the team.
SD: What message would you like to send to NFL teams about Johnathan Franklin?
JF: My focus is about growing and maturing as a player. I’m going to work hard and be the same guy every day.
SD: Last question, what would be your first purchase with an NFL paycheck?
JF: I’m not sure, I’ll have to pray about it first. I’m on this platform to be a light so it’ll be a wise choice. Maybe something for my mom!
SD: Thank you so much for your time Johnathan. Good luck in your journey!
Please give Johnathan a hello and a follow on Twitter @JFrank2308. You can follow me on Twitter @ShaunDePasquale