Over the weekend, Lane Kiffin added what *might* be the final piece of the puzzle for his 2023 Ole Miss squad, securing a commitment from UTSA wide receiver Zakhari Franklin. An absurdly productive player the last two seasons, Franklin had 81 receptions for 1,027 yards and 12 TDs as a junior, and 93 catches for 1,137 yards and 15 TDs as a senior. Listed at 6’1, 185, Franklin will use his extra COVID year of eligibility to boost his draft stock in Oxford.
Franklin has been the top-ranked uncommitted player in the transfer portal for seemingly quite a while now. While Ole Miss had its sights set on Michigan State wideout Keon Coleman, who eventually chose to transfer to FSU, Franklin is rated even better.
Franklin isn’t a slot guy, nor is he a big, imposing presence on the outside. He just seems to consistently get open and make highlight catches, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The Rebels needed another potential playmaker in the wide receiver room after the dismissal of Texas A&M transfer Chris Marshall, and Franklin looks to be a serious upgrade over Marshall, who had tons of athleticism but very little experience. Ole Miss lost lots of depth pieces to the transfer portal this offseason (along with a couple of likely starters), and it’s not realistic to replace all of those backups with impact players. So while some of the incoming portal players won’t really move the needle much for the Rebs in 2023, that won’t be the case with Franklin. He’s a guy who has the potential to earn an extra win or two for Ole Miss this Fall.
In my opinion, Franklin immediately becomes the Rebel receiver most likely to lead the team in receiving stats. Other receivers in that conversation include Louisiana Tech transfer Tre Harris, Jordan Watkins, and Jalen Knox. I’d also expect tight ends Caden Prieskorn and Michael Trigg to be heavily involved in the passing game, with wide receivers Dayton Wade, Ayden Williams, Bralon Brown, and JJ Henry also contributing.
Stay tuned for more recruiting updates, plus an analysis of how the Ole Miss roster stacks up after the Spring/Summer portal window.