Senior Signing Spotlight: Trey Franco
Time at Chandler High prepared Franco for Colorado Mines
This is No. 9 in a month-long series of profiles of Arizona high school seniors that signed with four-year colleges. Here's the full list (currently totaling 284) of players from within the state moving on to the next level.
For those who follow college sports on Twitter, there are certain hash tags affiliated with various schools. Those here in Arizona are very familiar with #ForksUp and #BearDown for the two Pac-12 schools. Spread it elsewhere around the conference and you'll see #FightOn and #PurpleReign for USC and Washington, respectively. And then there is Colorado School of Mines, which reminds its athletes and fans of what awaits them after graduation.
Colorado School of Mines was ranked 80th nationally in US News & World Report's rankings of Best Universities. It is also regarded as the top institution in the world for Mineral and Mining Engineering. On the field, the Orediggers were the co-champions of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and made the Division II playoffs, finishing with a 10-2 record. In the past four years, Mines has three RMAC titles, three 10-win seasons, and three playoff appearances. Of the 32 incoming freshmen that signed Letters of Intent earlier this month, Chandler linebacker Trey Franco was one of three players from Arizona.
Franco chose CSM over offers from five other schools, including another RMAC school, South Dakota School of Mines. It was the family feel he had on his visit to the campus in Golden that stuck out most.
"It truly felt like a home away from home," Franco said in an e-mail interview. "I have been friends with Travis Lockhart (who played QB at Hamilton in the Class of 2016 and is now at Colorado Mines) for a very long time and it felt good to be reunited with him."
Franco also has an aunt in Colorado, who he's close with, that lives just 30 minutes away. Aside from Lockhart, Franco said the rest of the team was very welcoming and he bonded with them. In addition to looking forward to continuing those relationships, he also plans on doing some postseason snowboarding in the Colorado winter.
Playing his second year on varsity, the 6-0, 205-pounder made 30 tackles playing in nine games. He was an Honorable Mention in the 6A Premier Region. In the classroom, Franco made the Sports360AZ All-Academic Team with a 4.13 GPA (3.43 unweighted). He takes both International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. At Colorado Mines, he wants to major in Biochemical Engineering.
"I feel as though Chandler is one of the best schools in the nation when preparing kids for the next level," Franco said. "We have had a multitude of true freshmen start and make huge impacts in college."
Those last two seasons ended in 6A championships for the Wolves (who have won three straight overall). Chandler's record in this title run is 39-5. Apart from that, you may have heard the word "Ohana" thrown around with the relationships on the team. For Franco, that Ohana represents the brotherhood.
"This is really the bloodline of the championship runs we have been on these past three years," Franco said. "The bond not only player to player, but also coach to player was unlike any other thing I've every experienced, except for in my own home. We are all brothers and will be for life."
Away from the football field, Franco plays lacrosse. He first became involved with the sport in seventh grade, where he played with fellow Chandler linebacker Max Sandlin. It allows him to stay in shape, but also hit people at the same time. While it is a fun activity for him, there are also ways it helps with football.
"It helped me stay in tune with my physical side, keep my quickness, and my reaction time," Franco said. "I love the sport and feel that every football player should either run track or play lacrosse."
Chandler's head coach for the past eight years, Shaun Aguano, is now the running backs coach at Arizona State. He was replaced internally by offensive assistant Rick Garretson in January. For those that think this marks the end of the Wolves as we have known them, Franco believes those underclassmen that are returning will continue with that Ohana culture.
"Chandler football is in the best hands it could be," Franco said. "Although Coach Aguano was an unbelievable coach and shaped Arizona high school football, I think Coach Garretson will be the best high school football coach in the nation. He is, other than Coach Aguano, the best coach I have every played for. The culture of Chandler football will not change and they will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming years."