Former UTSA star receiver Zakhari Franklin transfers to Ole Miss

Rylan Renteria, Contributor

After four seasons with the Roadrunners, star receiver Zakhari Franklin announced his intent to transfer to Ole Miss. 

Franklin played a key role in the Roadrunners’ back-to-back Conference USA championships. In his last two seasons, Franklin had 174 catches for 2,164 yards and 27 touchdowns. Franklin also holds the school records for receiving yards, receptions and touchdowns. 

This move is certain to leave a lot of UTSA fans stunned and confused as to why — after spending almost all of his collegiate career with the Roadrunners — Franklin would transfer for his fifth and final year. The answer is quite simple, Franklin wants to maximize his draft stock. Even if Franklin led the nation in receiving yards with UTSA, he was going to be a second-round pick at best. The level of competition in C-USA is not high enough for scouts to place a lot of value on stats. By transferring to Ole Miss Franklin has bet on himself to be able to continue to produce at a high level, this time against SEC competition.

As much as this loss hurts from an emotional standpoint, the Roadrunners will have no problem going to the next man up. The transition from Franklin to the next man up is much easier when the next guys up are De’Corian Clark and Joshua Cephus. Cephus and Clark are in the top five in all major receiving statistical categories for UTSA in school history. Before Clark suffered a season-ending injury in 2022, he was on pace to rack up more yards than Franklin. 

On top of Cephus and Clark returning, UTSA also added Willie McCoy Jr, who was ranked the seventh-best wide receiver in JUCO in 2022. McCoy shined in the UTSA spring game and will likely be a key contributor for UTSA in the 2023 season. With Frank Harris, Kevorian Barnes, Clark, Cephus and McCoy all suiting up for UTSA in 2023, the Roadrunners’ offense is going to be fine.