It's been called âThe World's Toughest Job Interview.â For six days at the NFL Combine (Feb. 22 â Feb. 28), college football's best will be measured, interviewed, tested, watched and analyzed by countless NFL coaches, general managers and scouts conducting all of their due diligence before the NFL Draft. To prepare, more than two dozen prospects have traveled to IMG Academy for six-plus weeks of Physical, Mental, Communication, Nutrition and Vision training with Athletic & Personal Development program specialists and on-field training with some of the game's top football coaches through the IMG Academy football program.
Former Arkansas linebacker, Jerry Franklin had an 11-2 season with the Razorbacks, was a Cotton Bowl winner, and lead his team in tackles for the past four seasons. Franklin is training at IMG Academy to prove that his overall success doesn't end here. After putting on forty pounds since his arrival at Arkansas, Franklin has put that extra muscle weight to use ranking himself 3rd all-time for the Razorbacks with over 370 tackles. Franklin has taken time out of his intense training regiment at IMG Academy to discuss his thoughts on his relationship with his former teammates and coach, his cotton bowl experience, and how he handles both positive and negative feedback.
Jerry Franklin on...
âLooking back on it, of course it feels great, success always does. Winning the Cotton Bowl wasn't like winning a National Championship or anything, but setting a school history in wins was definitely huge for our team. We put those younger guys at Arkansas in a great position for next year and to have a successful future.â
â¦relationship with teammates
âI have a big brother type of relationship with my teammates; they all look up to me. I definitely miss being around the team, and all the bonding that we had. Yet, were (combine athletes) starting to develop that type of relationship here. Were all used to having a close relationship with our teammates, so things just seemed to naturally fall into place. We all have the same goals; this is what we all want to do to get where we want to be.â
â¦relationship with Coach Petrino
âCoach Petrino expects a lot out of you, yet at the same time he is a very fair guy. He just wants you to do your job and be responsible. His biggest thing was for us to act like a pro, even though we are in college, he always said to act like a professional in all that you do.â
â¦Cotton Bowl experience
âI think the Cotton Bowl is the best bowl out there. They give out the best gifts, the best hospitality rooms, and they just treat you well. Oh, and they had good food too. But during the game I didn't even feel like I had eight tackles. I thought I was playing bad but we were winning, so it didn't really bother me. I thought I only had about four or five tackles, so I guess I was making more plays than I thought.â
âI just got too heated and the Referee happened to be right there behind me when I turned around. It was just bad luck. If I had it back, I would have just gone and celebrated with my team. We were winning at that time and I getting kicked out changed the whole momentum of the game.â
âThey do a great job at working on an athlete's overall technique. They work on the little things to help improve everything else. Plus, a lot of the drills we do at IMG Academy are the same drills we will be doing at the combine and in the camps, so it's definitely preparing me.â
â¦handling negative and positive feedback
âIf you want to be the best, you just have to have that drive. That's what I try and focus on. A perfect example is with Luke Kuechly, I'm sure he gets positive feedback said about him on a daily basis. But once you talk to him, he is a humble guy. I congratulated him on his high amount of tackles this season and he replied with, yea, but we only won like four games, I would trade all those tackles away any day for your 11 wins. He comes in and works hard every day, and I do the same thing. Everyone is going to have their opinion, but you just have to ignore it and go out and work.â