Wranglers sign veteran defensive specialist to complement secondary
AUSTIN, TX, November 29, 2005 - As part of the focus to upgrade the Austin Wranglers defense, the team announced today the signing of veteran free-agent defensive specialist Donvetis Franklin.
"Having coached against Donvetis from his time at Hutchinson Junior College through the af2 and his past four seasons in the AFL, I have had an opportunity to watch his growth in this game," says Head Coach Skip Foster. "There is no question that with his experience and talent, he can significantly improve our defensive secondary."
Entering his fifth season, Franklin comes to the Wranglers from the Columbus Destroyers where he started all 16 games in 2005, and was second on the team in tackles with 75. He also added two touchdowns, one off a 10-yard interception return and one coming off a 37-yard fumble return. As a kick return specialist, Franklin had seven kick returns for 145 yards and one missed field goal return for 33 yards.
"Having played against teams coached by Skip Foster, I know and admire what he demands out of his players," says Donvetis Franklin. "I think the Wranglers will be a great fit for me and with the leadership of Coach Foster, we will be in a good situation to bring a championship to Austin."
During the off season, the Wranglers have aggressively pursued and signed some of the best defensive specialists in the game, including the Arena Football League's all-time leading tackler Damon Mason. Franklin will look to boost the Wranglers secondary, which last season had one of the worst pass defense ratings in the league.
Franklin (5'11'', 205, Michigan State) has been among the league's leading tacklers for each of his four seasons in the AFL, including 2003 when he led the league with 93.5 tackles. Playing his first three seasons with the New York Dragons (2002-04), Franklin signed with Columbus prior to the 2005 season. With the Dragons, he started every game and led the team in tackles all three seasons with 90.5 in 2002, 93.5 in 2003, and 84.5 in 2004. On his career, Franklin has tallied 343.5 tackles, 14 interceptions and 69 pass breakups. Also dangerous on kick returns, Franklin returned 63 kickoffs for 1,252 yards and one touchdown with a 19.9 yard average in the regular season for his career.
The Arena Football League, often recognized as one of the nation's most affordable and fan-friendly sports leagues, begins its 20th season in 2006. Season tickets for the Austin Wranglers third season are available by calling (512) 339-3950 or by using www.austinwranglers.com.
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