Tackling changes both on and off the field

Orlando Franklin runs tires at practice on August 25th. Lindsay Brown//Photo Editor

Senior offensive lineman Orlando Franklin is making a move this year as he switches from left guard to left tackle. But that isn’t even the biggest move he’s had to make in life.

When his mom moved from Canada to Florida to make a better living for her family, 14-year-old Franklin was stuck with his older brother in Toronto. Some will think when you live with your 20-year-old brother when you’re 14 you will be free to do whatever you please.

“I thought when my mom left it was a free for all,” Franklin said. “I was thinking I was going to get a freebie and be able to be outside because my brother was a young guy. But I’m still in the house at eight at night doing the dishes and chores. I had a lot of work to do. It made me humble though.”

To this day, Franklin credits his brother for being his inspiration and his idol. His mother is also a big part of his heart.

“My brother taught me right from wrong ever since I was little,” Franklin said. “As for my mom, she has been through a whole lot. She is a strong black woman. No matter what situation, she is there for me. She is always trying to make it right.”

Franklin was born in Kingston, Jamaica but the bulk of his childhood he spent north of the border before he moved down to Florida at the age of 16. In Canada, Franklin was always curious to see his friends carrying around helmets and shoulder pads. He had no clue what they were wearing or what they were doing. Franklin’s mother wasn’t a big fan of having her son watch TV so he wasn’t able to watch football games.

But one day, it all changed. Franklin kept asking his friends about what they were doing and finally they brought him to a football practice.

“Since that day, I have loved football to death,” said Franklin, who is an Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award candidate.

Since his freshman year, Franklin played the guard position where he has played in every single game. Franklin is a physical specimen standing at 6 feet 7 inches and 310 pounds. But don’t let this beast of a body mislead you.

“He is a gentle giant,” head coach Randy Shannon said. “He is a big guy in size, pretty massive. His size can get to you but deep down he is a calm guy that really wants to do well, and you don’t have the opposing feeling.”

This will be Franklin’s first season at tackle for the Hurricanes. On the field, Franklin is in the best he has ever been at UM and plans on playing “99.9 percent of the snaps” this season. His commitment to Miami can be seen on his left arm, where Franklin has a massive tattoo displaying the word “Canes” and Sebastian the Ibis wearing the number 74 and throwing up the U beneath it.

“My tattoo means a whole lot,” Franklin said. “I always knew I wanted to get something with the Miami Hurricanes as soon as I was able to play. I have so much respect for the orange and green. I can be in Canada and throw up the U and people will know what it is.”

Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at lledoux@themiamihurricane.com.