John Franklin III
No. 1 – Memphis Showboats
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1994-09-21) September 21, 1994 (age 28)
Lüneburg, Lower Saxony, Germany[1]
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:186 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school:South Plantation
(Plantation, Florida)
College:Florida State (2013–2014)
East Mississippi CC (2015)
Auburn (2016)
Florida Atlantic (2017)
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status:Injured reserve
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts:1
Rushing yards:11
Rushing touchdowns:0
Player stats at

John Franklin III (born September 21, 1994) is a German-born American football wide receiver for the Memphis Showboats of the United States Football League (USFL). He played college football for Florida State, Auburn and Florida Atlantic. He also played junior college football for East Mississippi, where he was featured prominently in the first season of Last Chance U. He was signed by the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2018.

College career

Before college, Franklin attended South Plantation High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.[2] Franklin redshirted the 2013 season while playing for the Florida State Seminoles.[3] The Seminoles won the 2014 BCS National Championship Game against the Auburn Tigers. He was the scout team quarterback mostly used to mirror what the Noles would deal with in Nick Marshall.[4] Franklin saw limited action in 2014. He was a member of ACC champion 4×100 relay team at Florida State.[5]

Franklin transferred to East Mississippi Community College after the 2014 season.[6] At East Mississippi, Franklin served mostly as a backup quarterback to Wyatt Roberts, as the Lions won the MACJC North title. On October 22, 2015, Franklin scored six rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown against Mississippi Delta, before the game was called off after a brawl broke out between both sides.[7] The 2015 football season was documented in the Netflix series Last Chance U in 2016.[8] On the year, Franklin went 64–110 (58.2%) while throwing for 733 yards along with a 7–2 touchdown to interception ratio. He also added 451 yards on the ground on only 43 attempts giving him an average of 10.5 yards per carry on his way to 9 rushing touchdowns.

Franklin enrolled at Auburn for his junior year, where he appeared in 12 games while making 1 start. In his 12 games he went 14–26 (53.8%) while throwing for 204 yards along with 1 touchdown. On the ground he added 430 yards on only 46 carries giving him an explosive average of 9.3 yards per carry, also adding 2 touchdowns. He grew increasingly unhappy with his role on the team and on March 8, 2017, ESPN reported he was moving to wide receiver for the 2017 season.[9]

On August 15, 2017, he transferred to FAU to play for Lane Kiffin as a graduate transfer.[10] In limited action as a gadget player he showed his pure speed and explosiveness. He had 16 rushes for 229 yards with an average of 14.3 yards per carry while rushing for 2 touchdowns. He also caught 7 balls for 95 yards and 1 touchdown while averaging 13.6 yards a catch. He also went 1–2 (50%) for 49 yards.

At FAU's Pro Day in March 2018, Franklin was timed as running a 4.40 second 40-yard dash.[11]

Professional career

Chicago Bears

After going undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft, Franklin attended the Chicago Bears rookie mini camp on a tryout basis as a defensive back.[12] On May 14, 2018, Franklin was signed by the Bears as an undrafted free agent.[13] On September 1, 2018, he was waived by the Bears.[14] He was re-signed to the practice squad on September 27, but was released later that day.[15] Two months later, on November 24, he returned to Chicago's practice squad.[16] He signed a reserve/future contract with the Bears on January 8, 2019.[17] He was waived on August 31, 2019.[18]

In October 2019, Franklin was drafted by the Dallas Renegades in the 2020 XFL Draft,[19] but did not sign with the league.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On November 13, 2019, Franklin was signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster on December 24, 2019, where he was listed as a wide receiver.[20]

Franklin was placed on injured reserve on August 23, 2020, after suffering a leg injury during training camp.[21] On February 7, 2021 he won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, even though he did not play a single snap for the entire season. [22] He was waived on August 17, 2021.

On December 2, 2021, while still a free agent, he was suspended three games by the NFL for "misrepresenting [his] COVID-19 vaccination status".[23]

Tampa Bay Bandits

Franklin was drafted by the Tampa Bay Bandits in the 17th round of the 2022 USFL Draft.[24] He was transferred to the team's practice squad on April 16, 2022,[25] and back to the active roster two days later.[26]

Memphis Showboats

Franklin and all other Tampa Bay Bandits players were all transferred to the Memphis Showboats after it was announced that the Bandits were taking a hiatus and that the Showboats were joining the league.[27] He was placed on the team's injured reserve list on April 27, 2023.[28]


  1. ^ "John Franklin". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  2. ^ Kurtenbach, Dieter (November 1, 2012). "South Plantation quarterback John Franklin commits to Florida State". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  3. ^ Myerberg, Paul (December 30, 2014). "John Franklin III is key player for Florida State without even playing". USA Today. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  4. ^ Sonnone, Brendan (May 29, 2015). "QB John Franklin is transferring from FSU". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  5. ^ Ferrante, Bob (May 29, 2015). "Seminoles backup quarterback John Franklin III to transfer". Cox Media Group. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  6. ^ Deen, Safid (June 17, 2015). "Former FSU QB John Franklin III will transfer to East Mississippi Community College". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  7. ^ "Fight abruptly ends EMCC-Delta game". Clarion Ledger. October 22, 2015. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  8. ^ Niziolek, Michael (November 4, 2015). "Auburn lands JUCO transfer, former Florida St. quarterback John Franklin III". Ledger-Enquirer. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  9. ^ Ostendorf, Greg (March 8, 2017). "Quarterback Jarrett Stidham off to fast start at Auburn this spring". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  10. ^ Stevens, Matthew (August 15, 2017). "John Franklin III announces he'll transfer to Florida Atlantic". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  11. ^ Kirshner, Alex (March 23, 2018). "'Last Chance U' standout John Franklin III ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash after claiming he'd run the draft's fastest 40 ever". SB Nation. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  12. ^ Cox, Lorin (May 11, 2018). "'Last Chance U' star John Franklin III headlines Bears rookie minicamp roster". Bears Wire. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  13. ^ Cox, Lorin (May 13, 2018). "Bears ink 'Last Chance U' star John Franklin III to rookie contract following tryout". Bears Wire. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  14. ^ Mayer, Larry (September 1, 2018). "Bears announce 53-man roster".
  15. ^ Eurich, Matt (September 27, 2018). "Bears waive John Franklin III, re-sign Jonathon Mincy". Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  16. ^ Eurich, Matt (November 24, 2018). "Bears add John Franklin III to practice squad". Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  17. ^ Mayer, Larry (January 8, 2019). "Bears sign 10 to reserve/future contracts".
  18. ^ Mayer, Larry (August 31, 2019). "Chicago Bears announce 53-man roster".
  19. ^ "Dallas Renegades select 'Last Chance U' star John Franklin III in seventh round of defensive backfield phase during XFL's inaugural draft". Dallas News. October 17, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  20. ^ Smith, Scott (December 24, 2019). "Bucs Promote John Franklin, Jaydon Mickens to Active Roster".
  21. ^ Smith, Scott (August 23, 2020). "Bucs Place John Franklin, T.J. Logan on IR". Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  22. ^ "Tampa Bay Buccaneers win Super Bowl XV". NFL. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  23. ^ "NFL suspends Antonio Brown, Mike Edwards, John Franklin III for fake vaccination cards".
  24. ^ @USFLBandits (February 23, 2022). "Our final WR pick is in! #BanditBall" (Tweet). Retrieved April 16, 2022 – via Twitter.
  25. ^ @USFLBandits (April 16, 2022). "Roster Updates: Transferred to practice squad:" (Tweet). Retrieved April 16, 2022 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ @USFLBandits (April 18, 2022). "Roster updates" (Tweet). Retrieved April 18, 2022 – via Twitter.
  27. ^ Knight, Joey. "Tampa Bay Bandits won't play in United States Football League in 2023". Retrieved December 1, 2022.
  28. ^ @USFLShowboats (April 27, 2023). "Transferred Player to Injured Reserve List" (Tweet). Retrieved April 28, 2023 – via Twitter.