Robert Franco, or "Robbie," as he prefers, finished his junior season with 156 total tackles, including 98 solos. He also had 5 sacks on a 7-4 team.
"I have good quickness," said the 6-foot, 225-pound, three-star weakside linebacker/fullback from San Pedro, Calif., "I think I also have good instincts. I can see the whole field well and I'm always around the ball. I'm always making the play. I'm also hard-hitting and smart."
Franco says he can bench 365 pounds, squat 470 and has a 34-inch vertical jump. "I'd like to improve on playing outside and playing in space," he said. "I want to improve my technique and breakaway speed at fullback too."
Scout.com's No. 24 weakside linebacker says he runs a 4.65 forty.
Franco is close to receiving an offer from Washington State. "I talked with (running back) coach Steve Broussard on Monday night and he told me they plan to offer me," he said. "He said he was on the road right now but that I'd get the offer in the mail in the next few days.
"My coach tells me he coached a kid that played at Washington State and he has good things to say about them," he said. "He said he had a good experience there. I've just heard good things about them."
Franco said he has always followed California and UCLA and places both the Bears and Bruins solidly in the lead over Washington State, Boise State and Arizona State.
"Cal is actually recruiting me the most even though they haven't offered yet," Franco said. "They told me they need to see more of me and want me to come to their camp (June 7). If they offer me I'd definitely consider committing, but I really like UCLA too."
Franco says he's good friends with former Cal tight end Craig Stevens who was just drafted in the third round by the Tennessee Titans. "He's been a real big influence on me and a huge help," he said. "I've gone to a lot of his games and he really exposed me to Cal and got me real high on them. I've gotten to know Craig because I'm best friends with his younger brother, Eric, who is a walk-on linebacker at Cal too.
"I love the fan atmosphere at Cal and I really like the coaches," he said. "Craig has nothing but great things to say about them, especially coach Jeff Tedford. He also loves the Bay Area and the city and I think I'd like it too."
It looks like it might be a battle of the Bears as UCLA is right up there with Cal. "I'm from the Los Angeles area and used to go to their games as a kid," he said. "I love their tradition and I really like the new coaches. Head coach Rick Neuheisel seems like he can turn them into a powerhouse. Plus, he's nice and straightforward. Coach Dewayne Walker is just an amazing coach and everybody knows that. I really want to see how they do and how quickly they can turn it around."
"They said they are gonna see how I perform at their camp this summer (before offering)," Franco said. "But I'm high on their list."
He plans to attend the Nike camp at Stanford on May 17, the Cal camp on June 7 and the UCLA camp as well. Camps at Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona State and Washington are also possibilities.
"Arizona State was just at my school last week and before that they weren't recruiting me at all," he said. "They did great last year and are a top team and that's what I like about them.
"My dad works with (Broncos running back) Ian Johnson's dad and he tells him a lot about Boise State," he said. "They have nothing but great things to say about them and I guess Ian really loves the school so I want to check them out too."
Although Franco feels that getting an offer from Cal or UCLA would be difficult to pass up, his coaches have advised him not to commit too early. "I want to be sure because you never know what else is gonna happen," he said. "I want a school with great tradition and strong academics."
Franco reports a 3.0 core GPA and a 1500 SAT (three-parts).