Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey athlete Johnathan Franklin was one of the UCLA commits who went to Westwood over the weekend to meet new coach Rick Neuheisel.
“It went well, very well,” said Franklin. “I had a good time and it was good to talk with the coaches. They seem like they’ll take care of me.”
Franklin had positive remarks about the new head man for the Bruins as well.
“He’s a pretty cool dude,” said Franklin. “He has a lot of positive energy and he thinks he’s the coach who will take UCLA far. He knows what it will really take to get to the top level. He knows where to put who and he’ll have UCLA high in the Pac-10 standings and competing for a national championship. I see him taking them to the top.”
More importantly, Neuheisel made an impression on Franklin’s family.
“My mom likes him and my mom is all UCLA,” said Franklin. “Ever since Coach (Karl) Dorrell was there, we’ve been more towards academics. In football, I’ll excel but she’s all about academics. Football is not going to take me very far, my education will.”
Franklin spoke with Neuheisel during the week leading up to the unofficial visit, and that left an impression on him.
“He at least cared to call and he wanted to build the connection,” said Franklin. “That meant a lot. It was more than just a phone call. It showed character.”
Yet despite the impression that Neuheisel made on him, Franklin said it didn’t seal his decision to attend UCLA.
“I realize, since Coach Dorrell was fired, that no coach is promised enough time. I figure if the college fits me or the people I can connect with stand out and factor in the academics, that’s what matters to me, not the coach. I was telling Coach (DeWayne) Walker, that UCLA is still my number one choice. But I am going on a trip to Cal as well as Arizona State. And at the end of the trips, I will choose which school fits me best.”
This weekend, Franklin will take the first of those visits, heading up to Berkeley to visit Cal. Though he’s still waiting on an offer from the Bears, he thinks one could happen this weekend. Cal is recruiting him as an athlete, while Arizona State, which he’ll visit next weekend, is doing the same, with their preference for him to play running back.
“A week or two after the trips are over, I will make my final decision,” said Franklin. “I might even make it interesting and wait all the way until Signing Day. But I’m taking it one step at a time. Wherever I end up is the right place for me.”