Georgiana grad earns roster spot at Alabama St.

Published 1:46 pm Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Alabama State University freshman Olanda Franks was in the stands for the Hornets’ home opener against Mississippi Valley State on Sept. 8.

As time expired, thousands of fans celebrated the Hornets’ 29-7 victory — but not Franks.

He wasn’t in the mood to celebrate.

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“I sat there and realized I didn’t want to watch another game from the stands,” Franks said. “I wasn’t happy just being a fan.”

That day, Franks made the decision to walk on to the ASU football team.

By the end of November, the Georgiana School graduate had worked his way onto the team.

“It was tough,” Franks said of the two-day tryout. “My biggest concern going into it was the conditioning. I had been lifting weights and playing flag football, but I hadn’t really done any other conditioning. Those two days were intense. It sure wasn’t anything like high school.”

Franks played two years of high school football, and despite missing much of his junior season with a high ankle sprain, he said his time in the program helped prepare him to make the jump to the college level.

“The way Coach (David) Watts runs his program gets you ready to play at the college level if you choose to do that,” Franks said. “He and I weren’t always the best of friends, but now I see where he was coming from with all the yelling. He was giving me tough love, and I appreciate that now. I wouldn’t be on the team at (ASU) if he hadn’t pushed me like he did.”

Franks said he is projected to play defensive end for the Hornets, who have eight other returning defensive ends listed on their roster.

And while he considers it an honor to have earned a roster spot and be a part of the football tradition at ASU, he isn’t satisfied yet.

“My goal now is to work hard in practice and get time on the field,” he said. “Once I get that first taste of being on the field in a real game I’ll set some higher goals like making all conference or winning a championship.”