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WMU’s Franklin headlines state players to sign as UFAs

Now, Saturday was an exciting day for Jarvion Franklin.

The Western Michigan running back participated in graduation ceremonies during the day in Kalamazoo, and at night, he became a professional football player, signing an undrafted free-agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The deal reunites him with former WMU teammate Chukwuma Okorafor, an offensive tackle who was taken by Pittsburgh in the third round of the NFL Draft.

Franklin is among at least 16 state players, so far, who have signed either as UFAs or accepted rookie mini-camp tryouts.

Franklin, 6-foot and 220 pounds, finished as Western Michigan’s all-time rushing leader, with 4,867 yards — fifth all-time in the history of the Mid-American Conference. He had 56 career touchdowns, including 52 rushing — the latter another Western Michigan record.

Franklin’s career at Western Michigan began with a bang, as he was MAC rookie of the year and MAC offensive player of the year in the same season, in 2014. His career had fine bookends, as he was first-team All-MAC as a freshman and a senior, and in between helped lead the Broncos to a New Year’s Six bowl appearance, the Cotton Bowl, at the end of his junior season.

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