Polite to a fault, new Mizzou QB Franklin steps up
Missouri's James Franklin, right, runs past McNeese State's Brandon Zanders, left, during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, in Columbia, Mo. Missouri won the game 50-6. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) By L.G. Patterson
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri begins fall practice Thursday with a new quarterback who hopes to continue the school's recent run of top signal-callers.
Sophomore James Franklin played sparingly in 2010 as a backup to Blaine Gabbert, now an NFL rookie with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The soft-spoken Franklin earned the top job after spring practices.
Franklin's status became more secure after his main competitor, Gabbert's younger brother Tyler, decided to transfer in early May.
Recent Missouri quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Brad Smith also play in the NFL after record-setting careers in Columbia under Coach Gary Pinkel's spread offense.
Missouri could also find out Thursday if highly touted defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson joins the team. The junior college transfer from St. Louis has spent the summer trying to gain academic eligibility.