FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas Razorback men’s track and field head coach Chris Bucknam announced the addition of Chancellor’s Scholar and incoming freshman Nathanael Franks for the 2010-11 season.
Franks, a native of Damascus, Ore., will join the squad as a walk-on and begin his collegiate career as a freshman at the start of the 2010 fall semester. He will compete in the heptathlon and decathlon.
"Nathanael is a terrific student-athlete and we are thrilled we attracted him to our campus and our team," Bucknam said. "He is a very well-rounded student with an impressive academic resume."
While attending Sam Barlow High School, Franks was the 2010 valedictorian and received certificates of excellence in chemistry and physics. He was involved in the National Honor Society, academic decathlon, band and choir and student government. He also spent a school year abroad, in Essen, Germany, where he lived with a German family, attended high school and competed in handball.
Franks lettered in cross country, football, soccer, basketball and track and field and earned all-league honors in soccer, basketball and track and field. He is the 2010 Oregon State Champion in the high jump and was also a member of the state champion 4×400-meter relay team.
"He has some very strong decathlon events in the high jump, javelin, 400 meters and 1,500 meters," Bucknam said. "I know with some time his other decathlon events will come along very nicely. He is a very gutsy kid with an enthusiastic attitude. Those are the intangibles that you can’t teach. We are very excited about adding Franks to our decathlon crew for next season. With our already strong cast of Terry Prentice, Matt Kirbos and incoming freshmen Kevin Lazas and Auston Chen, it is going to be a lot of fun."
Franks holds prep bests of 49.43 in the 400 meters, 171-9 in the javelin and 6-7 in the high jump. He was the 2009 Oregon USATF Junior Olympic State Champion in the decathlon. He recently placed 12th at USA Junior Championships but was disqualified in the 400 meters. A legal race, with his other efforts, would have earned him roughly 6,950 points and a fifth-place finish.
Franks joins Neil Braddy (Fort Smith, Ark.; sprints), Auston Chen (Tampa, Florida; multi events), Sam Ewing (Glenwood, Ark.; pole vault), Dwayne Golbek (Claremore, Okla.; high jump), Walter Henderson (Edmond, Okla.; sprints), Noah Kittelson (Indianola, Iowa; high jump), Kevin Lazas (Brentwood, Tenn.; multi events) and Dey Tauch (Rend Lake College; distance) in Arkansas’ 2010-11 signing class.