James Franklin is in his second season as recruiting coordinator at Maryland. Franklin joined Coach Ralph Friedgen's staff in April 2000 as a wide receivers coach, a responsibility he still holds in the Terps' program. Franklin is responsible for recruiting Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Dan, Cibolo, Texas: What were the Terps' biggest needs this recruiting season? How did we do in filling them?
James Franklin: Probably the major priorities were to increase team speed and get more players at the wide receiver postition. We definitely filled both requirements. A guy like Anthony Wiseman has great track times. Darrius Heyward-Bey has run the second fastest 55 (meter) time in the country right now. He's an unbelieveable track prospect and is going to run here at Maryland as well. Anthony [Wiseman] is the national prep record holder in the indoor 200 meters. We have two guys who can flat-out run. For receivers we signed five wide receivers, so we filled that requirement nicely.
Scott, Burke, Va.: Did the injury to Josh Allen make recruiting a running back a higher priority?
James Franklin: We have one running back in the class, Morgan Green, who was highly recruited and would have broken the state rushing record had he been healthy all season. At the end we looked at taking another one because of the injury to Josh, but we're very confident in Lance Ball, J.P. Humber, Keon Lattimore and Mario Merrils. We feel it's a pretty strong group.
David, Frederick: It seems like a lot of defensive ends were recruited this year, with Melvin Alaeze being the biggest signing. Are the Terps that thin on the defensive line or was this a case of signing the best athletes available and converting them to other positions?
James Franklin: Good question. Really, it's a little of both. Melvin Alaeze obviously is the No. 1 defensive end in the country. You're never going to turn him down, and he was a priority for us. The defensive line was not a major area for us because we had a lot of guys coming back. Dwight and Tommy Gault, our strength coach's sons, are both defensive end- and tight end-type of guys, but they are also long snappers, so they are going to help in that area. Jared Harrell is listed as a defensive end but he could play tight end or outside linebacker. Barrod Heggs can be a defensive end or outside linebacker. All of these guys have the size and some could grow into defensive tackles as well. You take as many big athletes that can run as you possibly can and you've got to find a place to get them on the field.
John, Potomac: The quarterback position was a major reason for the team's losing record in 2004. Did you find it difficult to recruit quality players for this position in the 2005 class?
James Franklin: We had some challenges we had to overcome. We definitely wanted to bring in a playmaker at the quarterback position. We kept scouring the country from coast to coast to find a guy that could come in and make an impact for us and compete. We ended up going out to California to recruit Chris Turner, who committed to us. We were fortunate. He came out, he wanted to study political science. He really liked it. It worked out well. We think he's the guy that is going to come in and make our fans proud.
Randy, Olney: What is the current status of the quarterback situation and do you expect all quarterbacks from last year to return?
James Franklin: Right now, we don't have a starting quarterback. Out of spring ball, we should have a better idea, obviously. You never know. You could have a quarterback leave or guys leave at other positions for whatever reason. As of right now, all of the guys in our program, we are excited about them being here.
Paul, Silver Spring: Coach Franklin, it appears there are two growing trends in college football recruiting - more kids making early commitments and more kids changing their minds and switching their commitments to other schools. What's driving these trends? Is the first driving the second? Should there be an early signing period?
James Franklin: I think an early signing period would [help]. We've been trying to get an early signing period on the books for a while. For example, Washington State, where I used to coach, doesn't want an early signing period because they don't have a lot of recruits in their state and they don't get a whole lot at camp. Schools in the remote areas are going to fight this as much as they can.
For us at Maryland, we could probably get 15 legitimate commitments in the summer. If we could sign them up, it would relieve some stress and pressure from the coaching staff as well as the kids and allow us to focus on the last 10 recruits. I don't know if [an early signing period] will ever go through.
Gavin, Westminster: Much is made of how high a recruit is ranked, or how many stars he has. When assesing film of a recruit, what makes you go after him?