« Football 2017

Zaire Franklin

School

Syracuse

Position
Linebacker
Major
Finance & Marketing Management

Classroom

Zaire Franklin is on pace to graduate this May with dual bachelor’s degrees in finance and marketing management. Holding a 3.14 cumulative GPA, he is a three-time member of the Syracuse Athletic Director’s Honor Roll (min. 3.0 GPA) and has made the Martin J. Whitman School of Management Dean’s List twice. Franklin also was selected to the Academic All-ACC Team and ACC Honor Roll (min. 3.0 GPA) as a freshman in 2014-15.

Character

Franklin has served as team captain for two different head coaches at Syracuse and is the second three-year captain in the 128-year history of the program. In addition, he is a past president of the Krazy Kappa chapter of Omega Psi Phi. In the role of president, Franklin organized community service events and collaborated with campus and Syracuse area organizations. One of his most important collaborations in the last year was with leaders of Vera House and 100 Men of Syracuse. In the wake of Donald Trump’s “locker room talk” comments leading up to last November’s election, Franklin worked with leaders of those organizations to present the Kappa chapter’s workshop “Real Men, Real Talk: Locker Room Talk Edition.” The open campus forum produced a healthy dialogue, focusing on localized strategies to combat America’s rape culture and prevent violence against women.

Franklin is a past member of Syracuse’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The committee is composed of student-athletes who represent their respective sports with the goal of providing open communication between athletes and the Syracuse Athletics Department, Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA. While in high school, Franklin lost the two women who raised him less than two months apart. His mother died in February 2013 due to complications from recurring brain tumors. In April of 2013, his grandmother passed away from kidney failure. With the help of his aunt and uncle and his youth coach, Eric Taylor, Franklin completed the recruiting process and matriculated to Syracuse.

Community

Franklin is an active member of the Syracuse chapter of Uplifting Athletes whose 2016 “Lift for Life” event raised more than $20,000 to support those affected by rare diseases. Through Uplifting Athletes, Franklin and a handful of teammates have formed a relationship with Lillian Belfield and her family. Lillian is an 8-year-old girl from nearby Mexico, N.Y., who was diagnosed with anaplastic astroblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer. Franklin visited Lillian in the hospital following one of her surgeries, attended one her soccer games last summer and periodically checks in with the family to offer encouragement and support. He also participates in several outreach initiatives through the ‘Cuse Cares community service program. He’s been a frequent guest at local elementary schools and was a skills station leader at the Ft. Drum Youth Clinic in 2015. As part of Omega Psi Phi, Franklin has tutored fourth- and fifth-graders in math each week and performed various physical activities with the kids after the sessions.

Competition

Franklin is in his third season as SU’s starting middle linebacker. He leads all active Orange players in games started, tackles, tackles for loss and sacks. Last season, Franklin was voted to the All-ACC Third Team after carding 101 tackles and finishing eighth in the conference in tackles per game (8.4). He has earned 2017 preseason All-ACC honors from Athlon, Lindy’s and Phil Steele. He is a quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and a member of the watch list for the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl.