Senior linebacker Jarrett Franklin has received the honor of wearing No. 41 for the University at Buffalo football team this season.
No. 41 was worn by defensive end Solomon Jackson, who died after a heart-related collapse during a conditioning workout in February 2016. UB coach Lance Leipold started a tradition last year of awarding Jackson’s number to one player each season.
Cornerback Boise Ross wore No. 41 last year.
“Jarrett was close to Solomon and spoke at the service honoring him,” Leipold said. “He demonstrates the leadership and character and ability and the commitment to the team that we look for in this program and that Solomon exemplified.”
Franklin has started 22 games in his UB career and ranked third on the team in tackles last season. Leipold picks the honoree in consultation with Steve Jackson, Solomon’s father. Franklin wore No. 36 last year.
“It’s a blessing and hit’s an honor,” Franklin said. It’s going to be a big step for me trying to honor him, going out every day with a smile on my face trying to bring the energy the same way he did.
Franklin, a Missouri native, graduated in May with a degree in electrical engineering and carried a 3.3 grade-point average. He is beginning a two-year program to get his master’s degree in electrical engineering at UB.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Franklin said of the No. 41 tradition. “It’s a way to show that he’s living on through us. Boise last year wore it with pride. Every single day, he showed up with a smile on his face. It’s another kick in the butt for me to do that.”