The game of football humbles many athletes that choose to play it. It is a sport that can throw many obstacles and circumstances at an individual. A sport that challenges young men and separates the elite from the average. The sport of football is unforgiving which is why the athletes who excel and reach the highest level within the sport are to be respected. Thus for John Franklin III and his football journey it is one that compares to these narratives. His journey has taken him too many destinations and put him through many experiences. Though as I found out through my recent interview with him he learned a lot from his journey. Thus it has helped him inch closer to his end goal, which is to reach the NFL.
John Franklin III, 23 years old, was born September 21st, 1994 in Hollywood, Florida. It was then at a very young age Franklin III began to show off his athletic talents. This is because he played a multitude of sports at the young age of 4 years old. He played not only flag football; but also baseball, basketball, soccer, and ran track. Franklin III told me specifically soccer was the first sport he ever played, and was fun to do even though he only played it a year. The other sports though he played them all until he got to 7th grade in middle school. In football specifically he played the positions of running back and receiver utilizing his gifts of great speed and quickness. Thus through this multi-sport participation he showed to be quite a talent while still early on in his athletic career.
Our conversation then transitioned to both his high school and college careers as a football player. As we discussed what positions he played through these careers, as well as, his most memorable moments.
We began with his High School career, which took place at South Plantation High School. Located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, it was here Franklin III continued his multi-sport participation. He played as I found out football, basketball, and ran track in high school, with him discontinuing playing baseball and soccer after middle school. In football specifically he played the position of Quarterback during his high school career. The main reason as he told me for him playing and flourishing as this position was because of his arm talent and arm strength that he brought to the position. Certainly quite a great skill to display at a premium position in the sport. Now as far as the memorable moments he had during his high school career they actually came from two different sports as I learned. In terms of his football career moment I learned it was a special for multiple reasons. Franklin III stated,” It was when I scored 5 touchdowns in a game, but what made it really special was I was able to do it on my birthday.” Franklin III continued on about how the party after was great, and how it was quite a way to celebrate a birthday in the end. As far as the other sports memory he had, it came from his time running track for his high school. The moment was when he helped his school win the state championship in the 4x1 relay and get 2nd in state in the 100 meter dash. So certainly it shows his talents not only helped him standout individually, but helped his team and school achieve at a high level across multiple sport platforms.
We then continued onto his College career which was a career that ended up having several twist and turns, but provided him with valuable life lessons as I found out. Franklin III began his college career at Florida State University where he red-shirted during the 2013 season. Though the most interesting thing I found out about his time at Florida State was the role he played in helping them win the National Championship in 2014. This is because Franklin III depicted how in anticipation of a match-up with Auburn Quarterback Nick Marshall he ran scout team quarterback to help the defense prepare for the match-up. It may not seem like that big of a deal but the help in practice can and did go a long way to aid in their eventual victory. It was from here though his college career took quite a turn as he fell out of Division 1 Football and had to find a way back to this major stage, thus his journey led him to Jucco football.
His time in Jucco football was spent with the East Mississippi Lions in Scooba, Mississippi. While here played 9 games with East Mississippi as a quarterback and continued to show off his talents. He went on to help the team win games and the MACJC North title. It was also during this time though that the Jucco experience taught Franklin III tough lessons as he depicted. Franklin stated,” In Jucco I learned to live without having much money. It really teaches you how to be grateful.” Continuing,” Life can turn in the blink of an eye. You cannot control everything. And you must make the most of what you get and are blessed to receive.” His time in Jucco as he said made him more appreciative of the opportunity Division 1 football provides to young men also. Stating,” It was real tough to be honest. Because of my personality, because I love being on the big stage. Love to put on a show, do special things, be a great performer, and trying to be unique.” He continued,” I went from D1 to junior college in the middle of nowhere. I think I needed that though because it humbled me, because it made me appreciate something that was now gone. It taught me how to do without, and be grateful for every situation you are put in.” He concluded by speaking how Jucco football is not something anybody can just do and survive. As well as, how it is a fraternity and you grow close with the individuals you play, practice, and live with. I then asked him about the experience of the East Mississippi Jucco team being a part of the Netflix series, “Last Chance U.” A series that documented the trials, experiences, and stories of the football program and players trying to get back to D1 football. When I asked about the camera presence, Franklin III described how it was no big deal. Stating,” nothing was different, because it was all unscripted and captured what real life really was.” Continuing,” It gave people a chance to see a side they do not get to see. Plus I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from the show, and I inspired a lot of people from what I learned.” Thus throughout his time and experiences in Jucco football he was humbled and taught many valuable lessons, while performing well at the game he loved to play.
Then finally through it all he earned another shot at a Division 1 college. Auburn University was his first opportunity post Jucco. There he served as the backup quarterback and started one game the 2016 season. He then chose to transfer in 2017 to Florida Atlantic University where he ended up changing his position to wide receiver from quarterback permanently and got quality playing time. Overall based on Franklin III’s college experience he had many stops and changes but as he stated this all may have been for a reason. Saying,” I guess there wasn’t just one school for me to stay at. But I glad I have made an impact at many places.” Concluding,” Maybe I needed to do that to grow, because everyone has a different journey in life and football. But I am thankful and have learned to grind for everything. Because you reap what sow. No shortcuts in being great at the end of the day.” Ultimately this wide array of college experiences now have prepared him for what life may throw at him going forward. Thus he is more prepared for any obstacles and has the mindset to conquer them.
We then moved to the final part of our conversation which was about the Beyond Sports Network National Scouting Combine and his feelings and prospectus on the event and his chances. I first asked Franklin III about what he wants to show at the Combine, as well as, his description of his individual skills. Franklin III stated,” I am looking to display my 40 time, and put a performance on which hopefully gets me noticed and drafted. Because I really want to play in the NFL.” He told me specifically how he has ran 40 times of 4.28 and 4.25 which certainly show off his incredible speed. The way he described his strengths and needs for improvement were through emphasizing his skills and style of being a play-maker. Saying,” I have the ability to create and to make plays when things break down still as a quarterback.” Continuing,” I have a strong arm. Great decision making. Plus I want to be the guy with the ball in my hands when the game is on the line. Plus since I transitioned to receiver after being at Auburn and FAU it allowed me to show versatility, and get experience before next level.” He talked about how he maybe compares his game to a Tyreke Hill although he said he loves to be unique and overall does not really compare himself to many people.
We then finished by talking about the people who have aided and supported his journey. As well as discussing what he would say to scouts and Gm’s to convince them to draft or sign him. Beginning with his support system, Franklin III said his parents first and foremost have been influential in his football career. He also spoke about his trainer Travis Shelton. Saying, “He has helped steer me the right way because he has been through the whole process.” Also saying through the process he got closer to god as well. Then finally his message to NFL scouts and gm’s to bring him into their organization he emphasized his intangibles as key reasons. Franklin III depicted,” I am a winner who will do whatever it takes, I am determined, confident, and a competitor.” Continuing,” They can see the tangible. But not my leadership and how coachable I am. Plus I know when you want it, you do whatever it takes to get what you.”
Overall John Franklin III has a major NFL dream and has all the talent to make it. But he also has the understanding of how great of an opportunity this is and he is willing to take any chance that comes his way. Saying, “I will be a great addition.” Continuing,” What I would want is a coach who would know how to use a talent like me. And want to be able to be depended on.” Franklin III also spoke on being on a platform to make a difference. Saying, “Getting there is all that really matters at the end of the day. But this choice is not up to me. All I can ever ask for is an opportunity from one gm, one coach, and team. And I can do the rest.” In the end John Franklin III has great perspective on what it will take and how he must carry himself to reach and flourish at the next level. Thus it is all thanks to the journey he has gone through and experiences he has learned from that have him on the doorstep of the NFL dream. Now soon this young man will get the chance to show off the skills that make him the, “humble showman” he is.
By: Michael A Chase Jr.