It would be easy for Feleipe Franks to be excited about the U.S. Army All-American Bowl because of the competition on show. The truth runs so much deeper than that.
Franks, an LSU commit and one of the nation’s top-ranked quarterbacks out of Wakulla, Fla., was raised in “an Army family.” His father is a 28-year Army veteran who is now a Master Sargeant (MSGT). That commitment to the military has spread to his sons, both older brother Jordan, who is now a wide receiver at Central Florida, and Feleipe, who celebrated his commitment to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as. The Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance came to Wakulla High on Wednesday.
“It means a lot not only to me but to my family,” Franks told USA TODAY High School Sports. “My Dad has been in the military for 28 years, so I’ve kind of been in a military family my entire life. To show how much I appreciate it, in a way give back and show my gratitude, it’s the best of both worlds.
“It was really special when my Dad found out about this. He was a bit surprised but definitely joyful. Both of my parents have been supporting me and it means a lot to both of them. Any way I can give back and show my Dad how I see how hard he works in the military and the industry. Picking this game over the Under Armour game means a lot to me and to him and my family.”
That includes Franks’ mother, who has always left for work at 6 a.m. each day so she could be there for their sons when they were done with school. That expanded to expansive road trips in recent years as the two brothers tried to attract the attention of top college coaches.
As it turns out, Feleipe had little trouble getting their attention. Now he is determined to show that the spotlight is justified when he arrives at his next ‘home.’
“LSU was a good commitment for me,” he said. “My parents are really involved in my recruitment, and a lot of people don’t have that. They helped me make the right academic and football choice. I have good people in my life to support whatever decision I made, but I think I found the best school for me, and that’s the most important thing. I think I belong there, and it’ll be great when I get up there because I’ve been committed for so long it feels like home already.”
Of course, he still has a senior season to finish, as well as a certain U.S. Army All-American Bowl in the future. And one thing is certain: Franks doesn’t want to shortchange any part of his personal Army All-American Bowl experience.
“Most people don’t even know that my Dad’s in the military, but I really want people to understand how much he’s put into that process. It’s really important to me that he can see how much I appreciate what he’s doing. Seeing my Dad do hard work, going through his PT tests, my brother and I watching that has pushed us. Seeing how hard my Mom works, that drives me. … Going out and meeting all the military people who work with the program and help set it up. Seeing all the people who show up at the game, the military experience, the fact that everything is sponsored by the Army, meeting everyone and letting them know my gratitude toward them, that will mean a lot to me.”