The Gilman School in Baltimore, Md. has produced a wealth of football talent over the years. The Greyhounds have sent six players to the National Football League and a litany of others to major D-I schools.
- Victor Abiamiri (Defensive end, Philadelphia Eagles)
- Brandon Copeland (Defensive end, Detroit Lions)
- Jamal Cox (Linebacker, Chicago Bears. All-ACC at Georgia Tech)
- Brian Ferentz (Offensive lineman, Atlanta Falcons. Also an assistant coach for New England)
- Darius Jennings (Wide receiver, Virginia. Also played in the NFL)
- Cyrus Jones (Defensive back, New England Patriots. 2x national champion at Alabama)
- Ambrose Wooden (Defensive back, Notre Dame)
Gilman is a school that prides itself on tradition, state championships and producing excellent recruits.
Zachary Franks, a 6-6, 280-pound class of 2019 offensive lineman originally from Madison, Conn., hopes to be the next national prospect to graduate from Gilman. Franks was able to speak with Armchair about high school, the recruiting process and his early thoughts on college football.
Franks’ father played offensive guard for the University of Connecticut before being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. As a child living in Connecticut, Franks naturally grew up cheering for the Huskies. He began playing football at the age of four, and won his first state title with Gilman in just the ninth grade after moving to Maryland in middle school.
In the classroom, Franks maintains a 3.4 unweighted GPA while taking Advanced Placement courses. He understands that he must excel both on and off the field if he is to stand out to D-I colleges.
Franks’ junior year highlights begin with a compilation of pancake blocks by the 6-6 lineman. It is worth noting that not all pancakes are created equal — each block is a testament to different parts of Franks’ game. When matched up against quicker defensive ends, Franks’ size does not limit him to brute strength. Instead, Franks relies on his surprising athleticism to maintain pace with edge rushers before taking them down. On the inside, Franks disposes of much larger defensive tackles with ease.
Part II of the video begins at the 5:00 mark when Franks shows highlights from Gilman’s regular season game versus St. Francis. Franks was a dominate force in the matchup and had a complete game on the offensive line. Run and pass blocking skills, littered with pancakes, are all on display.
Parts III and IV include highlights from Gilman’s remaining regular and postseason games. Again, Franks showcases success against elite competition.
The highlight reel makes clear that Franks is an incredibly physical offensive lineman that is willing (and able) to take down most any opponent he lines up against. Defensive players do not easily shed blocks made by Franks, and he has the quickness to adjust to any play. Based on this film, Franks would make a solid addition to most offensive lines.
As an offensive lineman at one of the top schools in Maryland, it is no surprise that the Terrapins have taken notice of Franks. Maryland has yet to extend an offer, but Franks says talks are progressing nicely and that he enjoys speaking with offensive line coach Tyler Bowen and his staff. Franks has also received early interest from Virginia Tech, Virginia, Rutgers, Temple, North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio State, UConn and Boston College.
Franks has spoken with Buckeyes assistant head coach Larry Johnson and hopes to schedule a visit soon to Columbus. Additionally, Franks was teammates in middle school and freshman year with class of 2018 Buckeyes commit Taron Vincent. Vincent transferred to IMG Academy his sophomore year, then committed to Ohio State in April as the top ranked defensive tackle in the country.
“Taron has had nothing but great things to say! So I’m looking forward to [visiting Columbus].”
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