Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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34 AUGUST 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY COREY BODDEN Notre Dame evaluated and began courting Ridgely (Md.) North Caro‑ line defensive tackle Ja'Mion Frank‑ lin in February, when new defensive coordinator Mike Elko began to dive into 2018 recruiting after a successful finish to Notre Dame's 2017 class. While on his visit to South Bend March 24‑25, Franklin landed an of‑ fer and the Irish took control of his recruitment. A little more than two months later, Franklin announced his pledge to the Irish during a press conference at North Caroline June 6. "The education factor was defi‑ nitely a big thing for me," Franklin told Blue & Gold Illustrated. "I'm mak‑ ing a four for 40‑year decision. You're also on television every week and that's something I love. I love play‑ ing in front of everyone. "Everything just came together and was a perfect fit for me." The 6‑2, 305‑pounder said he had an idea following his March visit about where he would wind up spending his college career. "After my visit at Notre Dame, I had that feeling that this is a special place and different than any other place I've been," Franklin said. "Ev‑ ery time we talked to the coaches it was a good 45‑minute conversation and it was genuine. "We even went over schedule [dur‑ ing the visit] because we were talking so much." Franklin's relationship with the Irish staff and fit within Elko's defense played major roles in his decision. "He's a genius," Franklin said of Elko. "Everywhere he has been he's had production. I'm honored to play in his scheme and I could make a lot of plays. He believes in how I could make an impact. "Coach Mike Elston is a family man and I'm very family oriented. He cares about all of his guys like they are his family. He demands greatness and I want to be great, so that works out perfectly." The Irish staff pitched Franklin — the No. 11 player in Maryland and No. 36 defensive tackle in the country according to Rivals — on being ver‑ satile and playing multiple positions. "From discussing it with Coach Elko, he sees me being able to play all positions on the defensive line," Franklin said. "Honestly, I'll be wher‑ ever I'm needed. "I'll bring intensity, grit and explo‑ siveness. I'm going to dominate the line of scrimmage and be a run stop‑ per. Whatever I need to bring to the table to get my guys elevated in their game I'll bring." Now that he is in the class, Frank‑ lin is ready to recruit for the Irish. He has a top target in mind to join himself and defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola and defensive end Justin Ademilola out of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep. "[Baltimore Gilman School four‑ star defensive end] Thomas Booker is my No. 1 guy," Franklin said. "I'm talking to him every day. He's my main guy. If I get him then I'm set. "I'll be in some other guys' ears as well. I'm starting to figure out some other targets. I feel like we have a good shot with him. I'm going to leave it at that. I think we have a great shot." Franklin recorded 63 tackles and six sacks during his junior campaign. He also held offers from Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Virginia, Boston College, Duke, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest, among others. The rising senior kept busy this summer by participating in camps, including Nike Football's The Opening and the Rivals Camp Se‑ ries. Franklin's performance at The Opening Regional in Washington, D.C., propelled him to an invitation to display his talents on the big stage among the nation's top athletes at The Opening Finals June 28‑July 3 in Beaverton, Ore. ✦ FILM ANALYSIS Strengths Ja'Mion Franklin is exactly what Notre Dame wants out of a nose tackle … A short, stout, powerfully built interior lineman that does his best work against the run game … Has impressive power and he plays with good le- verage, constantly winning battles at the line by getting into the pads of his opponents … Bullies his way into the backfield, but he is also athletic enough to shoot gaps and pen- etrate when called upon … Doesn't project as a player who will churn out a lot of sacks, but his ability to explode off the line and push his way into the backfield will help collapse the pocket and force quarterbacks into the arms of his teammates. Areas For Improvement Flashes quick and strong hands, but he will need to work on bringing them sooner and us- ing them more as a weapon … If that happens, he'll be an active and effective inside player at the next level. — Bryan Driskell COMMITMENT PROFILE JA'MION FRANKLIN "AFTER MY VISIT AT NOTRE DAME I HAD THAT FEELING THAT THIS IS A SPECIAL PLACE AND DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER PLACE I'VE BEEN." FRANKLIN Notre Dame Is A Special Place For Maryland Defensive Tackle Franklin — the No. 11 prospect in Maryland and No. 36 defensive tackle nationally according to Rivals — picked Notre Dame over Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Duke and Virginia, among others. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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