This summer the players took him up on that offer. He had over 80 kids participate in the weight lifting program. "This was the best I've seen since I got here," Turk said.
Turk, who started a lot of freshmen and sophomores last year, is excited that those players have grown both physically and mentally. "The football acumen is outstanding," he said. "This is the best locker room I've had. The players are very respectful, above average."
He also credits the summer seven-on-seven games he arrange to play against top programs like Austintown Fitch and Sharon high schools. The Franklin kids who played got to see a different level of the skill. "Iron sharpens iron," he said, emphasizing a team only gets better when the play teams above their ability and not below.
Heckathorne will be a defensive end and give added strength to the center of the offensive line at guard. Karns will also make it more difficult for runners going around the end as outside linebacker with speed and strength. He will add both of those attributes to the offense as a power back running and blocking for the speedy sophomore Toby Sanchez, who has returned this year bigger and stronger.
Senior Hunter Marsteller will return as quarterback and with junior Cole Buckley at wide receiver and senior Drew Wilkinson at tight end, he should have some targets with good hands. Turk calls Wilkinson a "hungry hippo" because he just always wants the ball.
Turk will also be taking over the play calling after last season's offensive coordinator, Jason Wargo, took the head coaching job at Maplewood.
Turk is excited the program has show signs of growth. More than 40 seventh and eighth grade joining the program his year. "We didn't have enough helmets," Turk said, noting this was a good problem to figure out.
Overall, the road will not be an easy one this year. They are thrust into a league with rival Oil City, Warren, General McLane, Conneaut and a very tough Meadville squad that looks poised for another deep playoff run. Turk said he expects Oil City to be a better team than last year when the previous three-peat D10 champs had a rebuilding season.
He is excited for this year's team because many of them have not felt the thrill of victory very often. "They are hungry," he said. "This is the most complete program I've had so far. There is a lot of energy and excitement."