Despite only playing one NFL game in three seasons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver John Franklin III has understandably remained in the spotlight.
Franklin starred on the first season of Netflix’s Last Chance U, the docu-drama series which spent time at three junior college football programs. Now five years removed from his lone season at East Mississippi Community College, Franklin has spent the last three seasons earning NFL paychecks.
Currently on injured reserve, Franklin — in his second year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — just went viral for the birthday gift he bought his mother.
John Franklin III appeared on Netflix’s ‘Last Chance U’
Originally, John Franklin III signed with Florida State out of high school hoping he’d become Jameis Winston’s eventual successor at quarterback.
That didn’t quite happen. Winston left Florida State following the 2014 season and Franklin transferred to East Mississippi Community College, a junior college powerhouse, for the 2015 season.
Franklin completed 58.2% of his attempts for 733 yards, seven touchdowns, and just two interceptions in nine games at EMCC. The speedy quarterback also picked up 451 yards and nine touchdowns on 43 carries.
A year later, when Franklin was at Auburn, Last Chance U premiered on Netflix. Franklin became an instant star in both his lone year at Auburn and the 2017 season, a year he spent at Florida Atlantic.
Franklin is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Despite his speed and versatility, John Franklin III went undrafted in 2018.
Franklin signed with the Chicago Bears as a cornerback, a position he never played in college. Chicago kept him around for a year and change before Franklin signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season.
Tampa Bay kept Franklin as a practice squad cornerback for most of the season. Before a Week 16 matchup with Houston, however, Franklin mimicked Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in practice.
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians promoted Franklin to the 53-man roster for the Week 17 finale against Atlanta. Franklin debuted and had an 11-yard rush in the overtime loss.
Expected to have a bigger role this year and potentially return kicks, Franklin suffered a leg injury in August. Because Tampa placed Franklin on IR before September 6, he cannot play for the team this season; the NFL added that rule for the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
John Franklin III got his mom the perfect birthday gift
He may not be playing, but John Franklin III is making news in other — and still positive — ways.
Franklin recently went viral for a video featuring him and his mother, Kealer. The third-year receiver paid off his mother’s student loans for her 50th birthday.
It is not known how much Kealer had left in student loans.
The official Twitter page for Florida Atlantic’s Alumni Association called the act incredible. Franklin spent the 2017 season as a gradute student receiver at FAU.
“All of Owl Nation is proud of you,” the account wrote.
According to Spotrac, John Franklin III is making $400,000 this season.
All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.