It's been two games but Johnathan "Jet Ski" Franklin has burst into the national scene as a legitimate contender for the Heisman. He has had unreal start to this season putting together 200+ yards game in each of UCLA's first two games with one highlight play after another. Pac-12 conference has also made him player of the week for two straight weeks (HT LA Bruin) over certain quarterback the Los Angles and national media have been groveling over for months:
Franklin, a senior from Los Angeles, Calif., rushed for a career-best 217 yards on on 26 carries (8.3 average) and hauled in three passes for 59 yards (19.6 average) and a touchdown in a 36-30 win over No. 16 Nebraska to earn his second-straight Pac-12 Player of the Week honor. He became the seventh Bruin to eclipse the 3,000-yard rushing mark and moved into seventh place on UCLA's all-time rushing list. Through two games this season, Franklin is the NCAA's leading rusher, averaging 215.5 yards per game.
Franklin is becoming an early Heisman Trophy contender. Franklin had 217 yards on 26 carries in UCLA's 36-30 upset of Nebraska. It was his second consecutive 200-yard rushing game and third of his career. Franklin's 215.5 rushing yards per game leads FBS this season and is more than 90 teams.
As did Chris Huston from CBS (a former media relations staffer for Southern Cal's athletic department):
What to make of a running back who has 431 yards and three touchdowns in his first two games (one of them against a ranked team) and leads the nation in rushing while averaging 10.5 yards per carry? In almost every case, I'd call him a Heisman candidate.
In this case--at least for now--let's call him my Heisman Player of the Week. UCLA senior Johnathan Franklin earns the honors after rushing for 217 yards on 26 carries and catching three passes for 59 yards (and a score) in the Bruins' 36-30 win over Nebraska.
Given UCLA's recent history, perhaps I can be forgiven for being a bit slow to jump on the Franklin-for-Heisman bandwagon. I think he's a really good back and he's certainly blossomed in UCLA's new offense directed by Noel Mazzone. And the way the schedule sets up, with the likes of Houston and Colorado on tap within the span of the next three weeks, he should have several opportunities to pile up the yardage. Looking even further ahead at the schedule, he'll close things out with USC and Stanford in games that a lot of people will be watching, especially if the Bruins are ranked and in contention for a decent bowl.
But I think the best early-season test for Franklin will come two Saturdays from now when the Bruins host Oregon State. If Franklin can glide by a Beaver defense that made mincemeat of Montee Ball, he'll give a lot of Heisman voters something to think about.
This one included.
Well, I don't disagree with the skepticism wrt UCLA's hot start. National voters have seen impressive September wins from UCLA before. But if the Jet Ski stays on his hot streak, he should give the voters more than something to think about.
I doubt Franklin is thinking about the Oregon State defense. Given what we have seen from Jim Mora and his staff, I imagine Franklin and his team-mates are going to be fired up for the Houston Cougars. Bruins have some business to take care of on Saturday night to payback for last year's opening game disappointment.
That said JoeBruin15 is right. Time is now for to set the stage for Franklin for Heisman campaign. We know we can't depend on Dan Guerrero and his incompetent athletic department. As of this Monday they don't have a single video package available playing up Jet Ski's explosive start to this season and where he ranks as one of the best UCLA RBs of all time (he is poised to break Gaston Green's career rushing record). They finally put up a special release on Franklin this afternoon after Pac-12 announced him as the player of the week for the second straight week. A competent athletic department would have a full throttle Franklin for Heisman campaign going across multiple platforms - traditional media, new media and social media - get UCLA fans all jazzed up about senior running back's explosive start to this season.
So as JoeBruin15 suggested let's take matter in our own hands. We are not going to make video suggestions because that involves copy right issues. Hopefully someone in the athletic department will wake up and get something of high production value done in next 24-48 hours (if they had a pulse they'd have this kind of stuff ready or be in position to have it ready before the season).
But we can do at least few simple things in the world of social media to keep the buzz going:
- If you are on Twitter FOLLOW @JF23_4_Heisman and use the #Franklin4Heisman hashtag in your tweets
- Tweet this post by clicking on the tweet button at the bottom of this post.
- If you are on Facebook - LIKE the page Franklin for Heisman.
- LIKE this post using the Facebook button below or even better share it with your friends.
- You can also retweet the following:
If you are blogging here promoting Franklin for Heisman, make sure to tag your post, fanshots with "Franklin for Heisman." Oh and BTW if you want to check out more eye popping highlights of Franklin and rest of his team-mates from last Saturday night, Pac-12 networks will have a 60 minute UCLA-Nebraska highlight package airing tonight in less than an hour.
Let's get this campaign officially started on BN.