Franklin and Johnson celebrate National Signing Day

Kyle Riviere
K.J. Franklin (left) signed with Nicholls, while Johnny Johnson (right) signed with Army. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

The St. Amant faithful packed the Gold Dome on Wednesday night to celebrate two young men that have been great representatives of Gator athletics for the past few years.

Both K.J. Franklin and Johnny Johnson officially signed their letters of intent to continue their football careers at the next level. Franklin signed with Nicholls, while Johnson signed with the United States Military Academy at West Point (Army).

“You have to love nights like this because it proves that there definitely is a correlation between hard work and success," St. Amant head football coach and athletic director David Oliver said. "Everything these young men have done, they have earned, and we’re extremely proud of them.

"You’re talking about two guys that were voted by their teammates as permanent team captains, so their leadership stood out hugely. Also, both of these young men were regular participants on our honor roll and members of our 3.0 club.”

Franklin has been a two-sport star for the Gators. He actually began his high-school career as solely a basketball player. On the hardwood, he is a four-year starter and has been all-district three years in a row.

He began playing football as a sophomore and quickly evolved into one of the Gators' most important players.

In his junior season, he was a first-team all-district and All-Parish cornerback, and he was also used at running back, receiver and as a return specialist.

This past season, with the loss of 1,500-yard rusher Cade Nelson, Franklin transitioned to being a full-time running back.

He flourished. During the regular season, he rushed for 1,188 yards and 17 touchdowns. He added 41 catches for 504 yards and five more scores.

Again, he was first-team all-district and All-Parish.

Johnson was very emotional after signing with Army. During his junior season, his father passed away after battling cancer.

Johnson honored him by having an amazing year that culminated in double-digit sacks and first-team all-district and All-Parish honors.

As a senior, the explosive defensive lineman did much of the same, earning first-team honors once again and earning his opportunity to play at West Point.

After Johnson graduates, he will serve five years of active duty in the United States Army.

At the signing, Johnson said that he knew his father was watching from above. He also said, “I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I first put on pads.”

Both Johnson and Franklin thanked the St. Amant community for being so supportive and packing The Pit for each home game.

Coach Oliver said that they have been two of the greatest players to ever wear the black and gold.

“I’m extremely proud that they went through our program, and I’m extremely proud that they allowed us the opportunity to be a small part of their lives," Oliver said. "They both come from tremendous families, and we have no doubt that their success is going to bring about wild success in their future academically and athletically, and they’re going to turn out to be great fathers and husbands.”

Coach Oliver said that it may be hard, but they can replace what Franklin and Johnson did on the field, but they won't be able to duplicate what they did as teammates.

Oliver said, “We’re going to have good players to fill those positions, but we’re going to miss these quality young men, their character, their leadership and the love they have for one another and their teammates. That’s going to be extremely hard to replace.”