While the Buckeyes prepare for their January 4th game versus Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, we are previewing a few of the key players for the Razorbacks.
So far, we have looked at running back Knile Davis, defensive end Jake Bequette and tight end D.J. Williams.
Today the focus moves to linebacker Jerry Franklin.
Franklin, a 6'1", 241-pound junior out or Marion, Arkansas has actually led the team in tackles three straight seasons. After redshirting, he was a freshman All-American in 2008 when he tallied 77 tackles and picked-off two passes, and then moved his totals up to 94 tackles and three interceptions as a sophomore.
This season, with one game to go, Franklin has 93 tackles, including 12.5 for loss with an eye-popping 6.5 sacks. His fine season resulted in Franklin being named second-team All-SEC.
Recruited out of high school as a safety and wide receiver, Franklin possesses excellent speed for an inside linebacker, but has bulked up to become a fierce run stopper.
He will be a key player in the Razorbacks' efforts to slow down Boom Herron and the potent Ohio State run game.
An interesting matchup to keep an eye on will be Buckeye fullback Zach Boren going against Franklin, as they could have some pretty violent collisions at the line of scrimmage. It will also be important for OSU to keep the Arkansas middle backer from getting to Terrelle Pryor on the blitz.
If the Bucks can hold Franklin in check, it will go a long way toward bringing success in the Sugar Bowl.