ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico State junior receiver Austin Franklin is leaving school and will prepare to enter the NFL draft. Apparently, the loss of the school’s most accomplished big-play threat was news to Aggies coach Doug Martin.
“It was brought to my attention that Austin (Franklin) had declared for the NFL Draft,” Martin said in a statement released Tuesday by the school. “After doing some research I found this to be true.”
That was surprising candor. Most coaches are involved in the research on whether the NFL thinks a player is ready much earlier, before a decision to stay or go is made.
“Austin has been a very dynamic and explosive player for this team over the past three seasons,” Martin added, “and we wish him all the best in the upcoming draft and in the future.”
This past season, Franklin caught 52 passes for 670 yards and seven touchdowns in just eight games of a stormy season. Martin announced before the season that Franklin was going to be redshirted for the entire 2013 campaign to concentrate on academics, adding: “We move on. … (Franklin) needs to mature; he needs to grow up.”
Martin later backtracked on that stated intention, however, and reinstated Franklin after four games.
The Aggies finished 2-10, and their 24-16 home win over visiting Idaho to conclude the season was their first over a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent in roughly two years.
A 6-foot, 185-pounder from Dallas, Franklin played in 33 games for the Aggies over three seasons. He caught 160 passes for 2,439 yards and 19 touchdowns, all of which rank him in the top-10 in school history. Franklin recorded 10 games during his Aggie career with over 100 yards receiving, while leading the team in receiving in 2012 and 2013.