Exclusive with Steelers UDFA RB Jarvion Franklin

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First, let us know how it’s going – how are you handling the craziness of the moment?

Oh yeah, just to comment on the craziness. It’s been the craziest week of my life. On Thursday I was in Kalamazoo getting my graduation picture taken. Then I went to a graduation party Friday night, then back to Kalamazoo Saturday and got picked up by the Steelers Saturday night.

It’s been a rollercoaster, up and down. But it was worth it. I watched the draft with my family – a sort of graduation party and draft party. I didn’t really want to watch the draft with my family but they’ve done so much for me. I couldn’t let them down.

Did you expect to get drafted?

I expected to get drafted. I believe I was good enough but I wasn’t surprised knowing how the system works. So I wasn’t entirely surprised. My agent was working behind the scenes calling teams and negotiating and keeping me in the loop. I asked him to keep me informed, and I know that wasn’t easy with everything going on.

Why choose Pittsburgh as your landing spot?

Why Pittsburgh? I think because I fit their system perfectly. Physical…gritty…tough-skinned coaches and players.

Not too mention the city. The cold weather and snow…I think I fit the mold. Plus I have guys I played with at Western Michigan there in Keion Adams and Chuks Okorafor, Maybe Chuks and I will be roommates again if he’s not sick of me yet!

I’ve spoken to a lot of players, and some were more thankful to get their pick of teams as undrafted free agents instead of getting drafted near the end of the draft. Any thoughts on that?

You said it well yea. It’s bittersweet. We all want to be drafted. But in the later rounds, if a team that has an extra pick takes me even though I’m not a great fit, just because they liked me…that’s not the perfect fit for me. Being an undrafted free agent let me take a step back and really choose the right system for me.

I guess it’s a perception – you could defend both sides.

What did the Steelers tell you to want you to sign there and who did you speak with most?

I talked a long time with the running backs coach {James Saxon}. He told me he was excited and that I should come ready to work. I spoke to him a lot at the combine – we sat down and got to know each other, I felt like he knew who I was – that he had a good feel for me. That helped make it feel like a good fit for me.

It’s a crowded backfield in Pittsburgh – what about you earns you a spot – what separates you fro the pack?

I’m a one size fits all back. I could even play fullback – I can handle that role. But I want to be a running back -I know I can run sweeps and swing passes and have the footwork to make plays.

Off the field I do a lot in the community. At Western Michigan I did a lot of work with charities in the area.

How are your receiving skills?

I was a three-sport athlete in college. I have great hand-eye coordination. I’m most confident in my ability to catch the ball. If you watch the college tape you can see those skills.

Who are you looking forward to meeting most and mentoring under in Pittsburgh?

Who couldn’t say Le’Veon Bell. Who couldn’t say Big Ben and Antonio Brown. He was from the MAC and was a sixth round pick who worked his way up the ladder. And that Steelers offensive line – how they work. How I can benefit from their hard work.

What would your college coach say about you if asked?

My coach would say I can be a bit goofy once you get to know me. That I’m a leader by example and get better as the game goes on. He always said that to me. And that I’m a playmaker and all-around great guy. He used to invite me over to his house and watch his kids while they went out. He’s come back to see me playing bases with all of the kids in the neighborhood!

What should fans know about you – what would surprise fans about you the person – not the football player?

I just graduated, so now I’m trying to figure out what to do wit that. I don’t party much. I’m more like JuJu and play Fortnite with friends when I’m not working out or watching tv!

Read more by former Steelers via the book Steelers Takeaways: Player Memories Through the Decades To order, just click on the book:

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