Franks finally hits practice field 7 months after transferring to Razorbacks

By: Matt Jones Matt Jones's Twitter account
Published: Monday, August 17, 2020
Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks throws a pass during practice Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, in Fayetteville.
( Walt Beazley, Arkansas Razorbacks )
Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks throws a pass during practice Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, in Fayetteville.

— Arkansas opened preseason camp Monday with quarterback Feleipe Franks leading the first-team offense.

Franks, the senior graduate transfer from Florida, hasn’t been named the Razorbacks’ starting quarterback for the Sept. 26 opener against Georgia, but all indications pointed toward him being the front runner in the lead up to Monday’s first practice.

It was Franks' first practice as a Razorback.

He transferred to Arkansas for the start of the spring semester in January, but the team wasn’t able to go through spring drills. Franks’ only on-field work in Fayetteville had been walkthroughs in the weeks leading up to the start of the preseason.

“Feleipe’s got a very, very strong arm,” Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman said following Monday’s practice. “I thought he was really accurate today. He played like what you certainly hope a veteran quarterback would play.”

Players wore helmets but no pads Monday. It was Franks’ first workout since a season-ending ankle injury he suffered last September during a game at Kentucky. Pittman said Franks’ ankle looks “100 percent.”

Last week, Arkansas offensive coordinator Kendal Briles said the starting job was Franks’ to lose. Franks is easily the Razorbacks’ most experienced quarterback, having started 24 games at Florida.

Franks could provide stability to a position that was Arkansas' most volatile last season. The Razorbacks started five quarterbacks in their final five games and struggled all year with production in the passing game.

In 27 career appearances, Franks has passed for more than 4,500 yards and 38 touchdowns. In his only full season as a starter, he led the Gators to a 10-3 record in 2018.

“The thing I’ve been impressed with is how he’s been able to get the ball out of his hand and just really consistent with all his throws,” Briles said last week. Briles added there was “not a lot of wobble” in Franks’ throws.

Pittman said Monday he liked the relationship between Franks and his receivers.

“Feleipe is just, from what I've seen, the guy has just stepped up tremendously,” senior running back Rakeem Boyd said Monday. “I see him sometimes in the film room when you're not even supposed to be in there. On the field today, he looked good. He looked like an older guy that knows what he's doing out there, so it looked pretty good.”

KJ Jefferson was the No. 2 quarterback Monday, Pittman said, followed by a rotation of John Stephen Jones, Malik Hornsby and Jack Lindsey. Jefferson, Jones and Lindsey all started a game apiece last season for the Razorbacks.

Pittman said Monday he has been excited about Jefferson’s knowledge of Briles’ offense, but cautioned, “you have to understand he’s still very, very young as a quarterback in college. So he’ll have to play faster and things of that nature, but that’ll come with reps.”

Pittman said he has been pleased with the development of all the quarterbacks. He noted Lindsey led his group to a touchdown during a two-minute drill Monday.


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