On October 20, Rensselaer Athletics hosted a Twitter Q & A with Andrew Franks, a 2015 RPI graduate who is now the kicker for the Miami Dolphins in the NFL. He shared answers to a wide variety of topics, many of which are listed below.
Franks is the first Rensselaer alumnus to play in the National Football League, having signed with Miami as an undrafted free agent in May 2015. He was named the team’s starting kicker four months later and went on to make 13 of 16 field goals and all 33 point-after-touchdowns as a rookie.
On memorable classes while at RPI: Clinical Orthopedics was the most interesting class for me … Synthesis and Processing of Materials was really difficult! I was really fortunate to have some great friends help me through it.
The last time he had a conversation on Physics or Math? Yesterday (Oct. 19) actually, on the aerodynamic implications of humidity, temperature, air quality, and wind direction on ball flight.
What advice do you have for students to make the best of their RPI experience? Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there; there are so many opportunities to meet great people and you never know where it will take you.
How does your family feel about you playing in the NFL and not going into your field of study? They are very supportive and are really happy that I still managed to finish my degree before I joined the ’Phins.
What was your favorite RPI football memory?
Without a doubt beating Union my senior season for the (Dutchman’s) Shoes.
What do you miss most about the Capital Region? And what’s the best part about living in Miami?
I really do miss the changing of the seasons, not so much shoveling snow. I think I got too used to that. And definitely the beaches down here.
What has been your biggest adjustment to living in southern Florida?
Definitely the humidity, that constant sun really takes it out of you (ha ha).
What do you think about just before you make a high-pressure kick?
Just to trust myself. I’ve done all the hard work to get here so now I just have to remember to kick the ball. Nothing more, nothing less.
Is playing in the NFL all you thought it would be?
100 percent and then some. Coming in, though, I didn’t really know what to expect. I just knew to take it one day at a time and good things would come.
What is a typical week of NFL practice like for you? Is it really a lonely job?
Not at all, we are out there with the rest of the team getting our work in. Lots of meetings, kicking a lot.
What’s the longest field goal you’ve hit in a game at any level? Longest you’ve hit in practice?
58 in a preseason game my senior year and 67 with a holder and rush in practice with the ’Phins. But with my (practice) sticks just a 73-yarder.
Since you’ve been on the Miami Dolphins, where was the most random place you met an RPI fan?
Actually I saw a fan during our game in London sporting their RPI swag.
Who was your favorite athlete growing up?
Growing up I was actually a really big baseball fan so Chipper Jones was sorta the guy I looked up to. Even if I’m a big SF Giants fan (ha ha).
For the Engineers, Franks was one of the most celebrated student-athletes in school history, earning multiple National All-America honors as a senior, including Little AP, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), and D3football honors. He was the Liberty League Special Teams Player of the Year twice and a multiple All-League First Team selection as a kicker. He was also All-Liberty League Second Team as a punter. For his career, Franks made 37 of 56 field goals and 115 of 123 point-after-touchdowns and averaged 61.2 yards on 202 kickoffs with 85 touchbacks.