E.K. Franks is in his fourth season as director of recruiting.
Since 2015, Arkansas has averaged a recruiting ranking of No. 24 nationally and hauled in a total of 27 four-star prospects, including 12 ranked in the ESPN 300 and four ranked in the ESPN JC 50. The program’s last three signing classes have featured 21 players from the state of Arkansas, 10 from Louisiana, 10 from Texas and nine from Florida.
Most recently, the Razorbacks signed the No. 1 wide receiver and No. 1 tight end in junior college and also picked up three ESPN300 prospects, including the No. 9 pocket passer, No. 11 cornerback and No. 12 safety for 2017. Additionally, five of the program’s signees from Arkansas ranked in the top 10 in the state.
The 2016 class, which included four in-state signees and was highlighted by the No. 11 overall player, checked in at No. 24 in the ESPN team rankings. The Razorbacks’ 20-person class also featured four prospects from Texas, including the nation’s No. 6 running back by ESPN, and two from Florida.
In Franks’ first year in 2015, the signing class was one of the best in program history, ranking No. 22 by ESPN. The class included 10 players from Arkansas – the most since 2008. The Razorbacks were also very successful in Florida, signing five prospects. It was the second-most Floridians in one class for Arkansas since joining the SEC in 1992. Overall, the 2015 class included 11 four-star signees.
Franks came to Fayetteville with 10 years of collegiate experience, most recently serving as associate head coach and running backs coach at Southeastern Louisiana. He has coached or trained multiple professional athletes, including Wes Welker, Terence Newman and Darren Sproles, and also has extensive recruiting ties to Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas and Mississippi. He worked with head coach Bret Bielema during stints at Wisconsin and Kansas State.
Franks has a keen eye for talent and a diverse background. He has experience as an assistant coach, strength coach, academic counselor and director of minority relations. In addition, he is active in youth programs and community service outreach, serving on the board of the Kansas-based non-profit S.A.F.E., Success Achieved in Future Environments, which helps mentor youth through athletics.
At Southeastern Louisiana, he tutored Xavier Roberson to multiple All-America honors as a sophomore running back and kick returner. In 2012, Roberson and Rasheed Harrell teamed to make up one of the top freshmen running back duos in the country under Franks’ leadership. Before Southeastern Louisiana, Franks spent two seasons as defensive line coach and head strength coach at Delta State. There, he coached a pair of first-team All-Gulf South Conference selections in 2011.
Franks was a defensive graduate assistant at Wisconsin for two seasons while Coach Bielema was the Badgers’ defensive coordinator. Prior to Wisconsin, Franks coached the defensive line at Texas State for the 2003 season and was an academic counselor and director of minority relations at Kansas State from 2001-03.
His first collegiate coaching experience came at Kansas State, where he was a strength and conditioning coach for the football team during the 2000 season and 2001 offseason. His first coaching position was at Heritage High School in Oklahoma City, where he tutored defensive backs and was a strength coach for the school from 1996-2000.
The Kansas native earned his bachelor’s degree in 2000 and a master’s degree in adult education from Kansas State in 2002.