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Why Feleipe Franks says his ankle injury was ‘the biggest blessing in my life’

The former Gator and current NFL prospect discussed his path back after his pro day at Arkansas.
Feleipe Franks suffered a gruesome ankle injury at Kentucky in 2019, which led to his transfer from Florida to Arkansas.
Feleipe Franks suffered a gruesome ankle injury at Kentucky in 2019, which led to his transfer from Florida to Arkansas. [ TIMOTHY D. EASLEY | AP ]
Published Mar. 10
Updated Mar. 10

When Feleipe Franks’ ankle broke and became dislocated during a gruesome scene at Kentucky in 2019, it started one of the most challenging experiences of his life. He went from the Gators’ starting quarterback to a backup without a clear future at Florida.

Looking back on it a year and a half later, Franks doesn’t resent the incident. He considers it one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Related: Meet the Florida fans who sent get-well cards to Feleipe Franks

“I think it was one of the biggest blessings, because it gave me the opportunity to come to Arkansas,” Franks said Wednesday after the Razorbacks’ pro day. “It gave me the opportunity to become more mentally tough, to meet so many more new people, have new teammates, all that kind of stuff.”

Feleipe Franks faced his former team last season in Gainesville.
Feleipe Franks faced his former team last season in Gainesville. [ PHELAN M. EBENHACK | ASSOCIATED PRESS ]

And, perhaps, to boost his NFL resume. Franks had an eventful career with the Gators, full of low lows (getting booed at home repeatedly and shushing the crowd back) and high highs (becoming the offensive MVP of the Peach Bowl). The injury —and Kyle Trask’s emergence from longtime backup to proven star — sparked Franks’ transfer, giving him the fresh start he needed.

As Trask delivered one of the best seasons in UF history, Franks was having success on his own. He quickly became a leader with the Razorbacks and helped snap their 20-game SEC losing streak. His completion percentage (68.5) set the program’s single-season record.

“To hold that record is awesome, because there’s been a bunch of great players besides Feleipe to come through Arkansas,” Franks said. “It’s an honor, man, just to be able to have my name up there somewhere.”

One of Feleipe Franks' Florida highlights was leading the Gators to a win over Miami to start the 2019 season.
One of Feleipe Franks' Florida highlights was leading the Gators to a win over Miami to start the 2019 season. [ ALLIE GOULDING | Times ]

The 6-foot-6, 234-pound Crawfordville native turned his college production into a trip to the Senior Bowl. His size and arm strength make him a late-round prospect, even if his on-field decision-making was an issue at UF.

Franks said he and Trask remain in touch and that they’re “both on a mission to get to the top.” There’s no animosity for Franks with his former teammate or the awful injury that derailed his career.

Related: Why Mel Kiper Jr. is praising former Gators star Kyle Trask

“I think it was the biggest blessing in my life, to take the next step in my quarterback game and my leadership and all that stuff,” Franks said. “It was a good experience to be able to go through that, and at the end of the day, it made me who I am today.”