UTSA is poised to transition from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference on July 1, but the Roadrunner football program may be without one of its all-time greats when moving day occurs.
Wide receiver Zakhari Franklin entered the transfer portal on Friday afternoon, as first reported by 247Sports’ transfer portal reporter Chris Hummer.
Franklin led UTSA in receiving yards each of the past three seasons. He is UTSA’s all-time leader in career receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns and set Roadrunner single-season records in all three categories last fall. The Cedar Hill, TX native is also responsible for the only two 1,000-yard receiving campaigns in program history.
In 2022, Franklin ranked 11th nationally in receiving yardage (1,137), seventh in receptions (93), and tied for second in receiving touchdowns (15) for the C-USA champion Roadrunners. It was his second consecutive top 10 finish in the FBS receiving touchdowns categories, as he also found the end zone 12 times in UTSA’s 2021 C-USA title season. The C-USA Championship Game stage was clearly a favorite of Franklin’s, where he totaled 67 yards and one touchdown against WKU in 2021 before exploding for 144 yards and three touchdowns last December against North Texas.
Franklin’s transfer destination is unknown at the time, but the receiver who has 3,348 receiving yards and 37 touchdowns under his belt retains just one more year of collegiate eligibility.
Despite the departure of Franklin, UTSA still retains a pair of 2022 All-C-USA wide receivers in Joshua Cephus and De’Corian Clark. Cephus accumulated 985 receiving yards and six touchdowns last year, while Clark pitched in 741 yards and eight touchdowns before suffering a season-ending ACL tear in a Nov. 5 win over UAB. Without Franklin, the Roadrunners likely round out their starting lineup with Tykee Ogle-Kellogg, who emerged as a viable option following Clark’s injury last November with a career-high 220 receiving yards.
The Roadrunners retain super senior quarterback Frank Harris — a two-time All-AAC selection who has captained the program to back-to-back C-USA titles. With Harris and several veteran receivers in the mix, UTSA opens its new era as an AAC member on the road against former AAC member Houston on Saturday, Sept. 2 — a rematch of last year’s triple overtime thriller.