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Michigan State football should enter the Zakhari Franklin sweepstakes

Zakhari Franklin would be an elite addition.

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Michigan State football
© Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State football wasn’t the only team losing their star receiver to the portal. UTSA’s Zakhari Franklin would be an amazing pick-up.

Over the weekend, Michigan State football lost Keon Coleman to the transfer portal. We were not the only school to lose our star receiver, however. Should UTSA’s loss be Michigan State’s gain?

Yesterday, CBS Sports released their list of the top uncommitted transfer portal players after the spring window. Since the article’s featured image is Keon Coleman, I decided to read through to see where he ranked on the list. To my surprise, he was not the top player or even the top receiver on the list. That honor belongs to Texas-San Antonio (UTSA)’s Zakhari Franklin. I decided to do a little digging to know more about Zakhari Franklin, and here is what I found.

In terms of size, Zakhari Franklin is 6-foot-1, 185 pounds. While not the most imposing figure, or even as big as Coleman (6-foot-4), Franklin makes up for it with his hands. While watching his highlights, a few things stood out to me. Despite struggling with catching the ball into his body at points, Franklin has tremendous hands. Some of his highlights reminded me of a player that just went to his first NFL team last weekend, Jayden Reed.

This play, in particular, reminded me of a play we’ve seen Reed make multiple times in the last few years:

He adjusts to the ball and makes a spectacular catch against phenomenal coverage. In addition, this was not against Rice or Southern Miss or a small school. This came against Texas.

Franklin’s run after the catch is also spectacular. He has housed screen passes, and is good in space. His ability to track the ball for back shoulder catches is astounding. Franklin is not just a player that makes flash plays, either. He holds the UTSA record for receptions, receiving yards, touchdown catches, and 100-yard receiving games. Two years ago, Franklin topped 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career. That alone gave him all the aforementioned records. This last season was even better, catching the ball 94 times for 1,136 yards and adding 15 touchdowns.

Mel Tucker has heavily recruited Texas. In the most recent class, Tucker is adding two Texas high school recruits as well as Tunmise Adeleye, a Texas A&M transfer. Considering the Spartans’ need for another receiver with Reed, Germie Bernard, and likely Coleman gone, I believe the Spartans should put their hat in the race to get Franklin. He is extremely productive and would be a plug-and-play WR1 for the Spartan offense. Noah Kim or Katin Houser would have a top 10 receiver in college football to throw to right away.

Even with the Spartans heavily courting Tyler Harrell, another receiver would not hurt. One of the many things that derailed the Michigan State football season last year was that the offense never seemed to be fully healthy. The Spartans could use another player or two to pair with the combinations of Tyrell Henry, Montorie Foster Jr., Tre Mosley, Antonio Gates Jr., and Jaron Glover.

Franklin is likely to draw quite a few schools’ interest. He provides an interesting case for Mark Diethorn in his first week on the job. Considering Mel Tucker’s transfer portal luck in the past, I would not put it past him to pull in both Franklin and Harrell.

Michigan State Media and Information Management Class of '22. Emmett covers primarily football, recruiting, and basketball for Spartan Shadows. He has also written for Spartan Avenue, Basic Blues, and Hail WV.

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