Baylor Franklin announced on Monday night that he's going to run at Ole Miss after he graduates this May.
The Wilson Central senior had a big outdoor campaign last year. He ran sub-1:58 for the first time. And then he ran sub 1:55 too, finishing the year off with a 1:53 at the Parrilla Thrilla.
He told us that he thinks the coaching staff and team atmosphere at Ole Miss gives him the best chance to continue that growth. The culture in Oxford was enough to persuade Franklin that this was the place for him.
"I think ultimately I was looking for a balance of school and track," Franklin said in an interview with Tennessee MileSplit. "Ole Miss has a very strong mid distance program and I knew being surrounded by those type of guys would make me better."
But as a Rebel, he won't just be surrounded by fast teammates. He'll compete against them too.
And he's excited about that.
Franklin said he's definitely ready for the challenge of competing in the Southeastern Conference.
"I knew being in the SEC would give me an opportunity to race against some of the best athletes in the country," he said.
At the end of the day, his relationship with the Ole Miss coaching staff made the final difference. Franklin felt at home with distance coach Ryan Vanhoy, who was named the USATFCCA Assistant Coach of the Year back in 2015.
Vanhoy coached five SEC Indoor Champions alone just in 2016. Franklin wants to be a part of that success.
"The coaching staff sealed the deal. Coach Vanhoy was awesome and I knew if I went to Ole Miss I could reach my ultimate potential," he said. "The facilities, conference, and Oxford were great, but the coaches were the difference."
After his big finish to last season, Franklin has some lofty goals coming into this year.
"My outdoor goals would be to win a state championship and run fast enough to qualify for a race like Brooks PR or New Balance," he said. "Our 4x4 team has also never competed at state so I would love the opportunity for us to get to state in that event."
Franklin also considered Tennessee, Lipscomb, ETSU and Columbia before decided to become a Rebel.