Editor’s Note: An abridged version of this article appears in the June 2, 2022 edition of The Oconee Enterprise.
Bryson Franklin didn’t always play football, but once he learned it, he never stopped.
Franklin, a recent graduate of Prince Avenue Christian School, showed natural talent as a placekicker. After spending the last few years honing this ability, Franklin received a scholarship offer from Berry College.
He officially accepted this scholarship and celebrated it with a signing ceremony earlier this year. During a speech at the event held at Prince Avenue Baptist Church, Franklin expressed his gratitude for where the journey he embarked on as a student-athlete led him to drove.
“It means everything,” Franklin said. “I’m really happy to come to a great school like Prince and to be able to have friends that will last forever and play sports here, play football and have everyone here for me.”
Franklin started out as a football player. He spent years playing the sport, reaching a top club team by the time he was in college.
At the time, Franklin was dating Loganville Christian. One of Loganville’s coaches asked him to play for the football team in his freshman year.
This marked Franklin’s first-ever experience with a soccer ball. He “fell in love with it” and continued to work on it.
When he transferred to Prince Avenue Christian during the second semester of his freshman year, Franklin continued to play football.
Franklin threw twice in his sophomore year, putting them both inside the 20-yard line. He threw 14 times during his junior season, averaging 30.1 yards per punt.
That season, Franklin delivered 97 kickoffs. Nineteen of them went for touchbacks.
Franklin threw 20 times as a senior for an average of 39 yards and a length of 53. Of his 48 kickoffs in 2021, 24 of them were touchdowns.
At the end of his senior season last December, Franklin established himself as one of the Wolverines’ most prolific scorers. He finished his career with 253 total points on field goals and extra point attempts.
Franklin went 28 for 30 on extra run attempts in his second campaign. He made his two field goal attempts that year.
As a junior, Franklin made 89 of his 93 extra point attempts and threw six of his seven field goal attempts.
Franklin went 82 for 85 on extra-point attempts as a senior. He made 10 of his 13 placement tries.
Those performances earned Berry’s purse offer. Franklin was sold to join the Vikings right away.
“It’s an awesome, really beautiful campus,” he said. “There are a lot of things that I like, outdoors and other things. The second thing was academics. They have great programs where you can do the basic work, be able to work. The coaching staff were really friendly and really genuine. I really love them and they really care about the players and everyone who was visiting and they made sure to talk to everyone.
Franklin said he intended to study sports administration or sports management.
On the pitch, he wants to work his way into the fold despite joining a team with an established starting kicker in Matthew Syverson.
“I know they have a kicker for all conferences right now. He’s very good and I’m excited to meet him,” Franklin said. “I’m just excited to take on any role I can get and pick up where I left off at Prince and hopefully make a name for myself and do what God gave me the ability to do. “
Regardless of what the future holds, Franklin looks back on his time at Prince Avenue Christian with appreciation for the success he and his teammates have had along the way.
The Class of 2021 has played in back-to-back state championship games. These players were juniors on the 2020 Championship squad.
Franklin noted that Wolverines head coach Greg Vandagriff said the class was among the winningest in school history. This is what fills Franklin the most with pride.
“I don’t really see him as an individual. I watch our senior class,” he said. “I know Vandagriff said we had second or tied for best winning percentage and most wins. It just means a lot because, with such a small senior class, we are very close to each other. I’m not really looking at individual inheritance but rather class inheritance.