Jaylan Franklin always hoped he would be a member of Michigan State’s football program. It was the team he grew up rooting for as a native of Brownstown, Mich., and when he earned an offer from the Spartans, his parents assumed his recruitment was a done deal.
But Franklin won’t be enrolling at Michigan State this summer. Instead, he signed in December with Wisconsin, where he will play tight end. In the end, Franklin realized the Badgers better suited his needs, and he fell in love with the campus and football culture. You can read more of Franklin’s story here.
Franklin also recapped his whirlwind recruitment with Land of 10 and shared stories and advice he learned throughout the process. Here is his recruiting rewind:
Q: If you could give a junior only one piece of advice about the recruiting process, what would it be?
Franklin: Advice I would give to them is pay attention. You really have to focus and you have to pay attention to not just on the football field but off. You have to think about who’s recruiting you, why he’s recruiting you and what he wants from you because these recruiters, some of them really just don’t care about you. They’re doing their job. I think a lot of people make it a little bit too personal sometimes.
And you really have to pay attention to the way people are recruiting you, how they’re recruiting you and why they’re recruiting you. I think paying attention was probably my best upside to why I got recruited so highly because when I went to camps and when I went to media days and things and when people would talk to us, I would be sitting up straight, paying attention, listening to every word. I would never seem bored. Whenever a coach talks to me, you shake his hand, you say your name and you look him in the eye. It’s the little things that really matter.
Those are the little things I’ve seen some people lose their offers or don’t get offered because they lack those qualities. So I just think paying attention would be probably the most important thing.
Q: What was the most creative thing a school or coach did to get your attention?
Franklin: It was either Northwestern or Kentucky. I think they sent me 50 letters in one day. Each letter had a little piece on it and had a little bit of information on me. It pieced out to be like a big picture of me, and I thought that was pretty interesting.
I know Michigan State sent me a card with my name on it. It was all my high school pictures put together from my freshman year to my sophomore year. I think Vanderbilt did something similar with that. They put the team I would be drafted to with my name on it. It’s a lot of creative things.
Q: What is the funniest thing any head coach said to you during the entire recruiting process, either on the phone or in person?
Franklin: Indiana’s head coach called me while I was at B-Dubs [Buffalo Wild Wings]. It was pretty packed. It was loud. They had put it on a five-way call. It was all the coaches in there. They were just all talking to me asking how my day was. It was very hectic because everybody was trying to talk at one time. I think that was probably the funniest thing.
Q: What was your biggest regret during the recruiting process?
Franklin: If anything, I just wish that I could’ve encouraged a few of my teammates to stay on our team because a few players did leave and go to different schools and they didn’t receive as many offers as I did. I guess I wish I could’ve convinced some of my teammates to stay.
Q: What was the funniest story that happened on one of your recruiting trips?
Franklin: At Vanderbilt, in Nashville. I went down to Vanderbilt for a visit and my brother plays for Austin Peay in Tennessee. So they’re right next door to each other. I went down and we were planning to see him, but we actually never saw him. Then we were walking through the city and we just saw him in the street. That was may be the weirdest thing. I don’t know about funny, but that was probably the weirdest thing to see him walking around.
Q: Which coach was the hardest to turn down and say you weren’t coming there?
Franklin: I think it had to be Michigan State. That was rough. Because when I committed, I sent out a thank you letter to my top 5 schools that recruited me, who were in my top 5. I think Vanderbilt responded, Northwestern responded and a few other schools responded. But I remember Michigan State didn’t respond. I was a little bit hurt by that because I remember how emotional it was for me to even get that offer that I had been working for pretty much my whole life because I assumed I was going to go to Michigan State. I always wanted to go to Michigan State. When they offered me, I remember I broke down.
I started crying in front of Coach [Mark] Dantonio. When I went on the next visit, he tried to pressure me a little bit to make a decision. He brought me in the locker room by myself, just him and I, no parents, nobody. Just him and I. He just told me about the culture of Michigan State and the things they could do and we could do together. It was really hard because he’s such a great coach, a phenomenal coach. It was the way he was just persuading me, it was hard. But I knew what was best for me in the end.
Q: You wrote a letter to him?
Franklin: I wrote a letter to him. I wrote a letter to Vanderbilt’s head coach and a few others.
Q: Which school disappointed you the most during recruiting?
Franklin: It’s definitely got to be Michigan for me. They came to my school. I think they came seven times in two weeks. They visited my school, a different coach every time. It was a good recruitment, but I didn’t really feel like I was one of their high priority recruits. They just kind of came and went and it wasn’t really enough for me. I just thought it was kind of disappointing to see how downhill that went with that recruiting.
Q: Did Michigan offer you a scholarship?
Franklin: No. I was probably two or three days away. I was going to go to their camp and I was told I was going to get an offer, but I decided to commit to Wisconsin before all that happened. I decided to let it go because I knew before that, that it wasn’t the place for me.
Q: Which college would you have considered more seriously if they had offered you earlier in the process?
Franklin: Honestly, maybe the University of Florida just because I have a lot of family down there. I was a fan of Florida before I got into high school. I would have considered it, but it probably wouldn’t have been where I would choose.
Q: How did it happen that you wound up picking Wisconsin?
Franklin: Right before I committed, I talked to a lot of my other coaches. I talked to Coach [Bob] Bostad and had a long conversation with him. I talked to Northwestern’s coaches. I just prayed on it and thought about it. I just kind of stopped and went back and took a step back and took about a month or two away and got offered by Wisconsin. That pretty much changed the rest.