High School Sports

Former Olathe North High School football star James Franklin dies

Olathe North High School’s James Franklin hoisted the Simone Award trophy after he received the award on December 8, 2009, at Olathe North High School.
Olathe North High School’s James Franklin hoisted the Simone Award trophy after he received the award on December 8, 2009, at Olathe North High School. 2009 PHOTO

James Franklin, Olathe North High School’s all-time leading rusher and a former Simone Award winner, has died, according to the Olathe Police Department.

A spokesman for the department said officers found Franklin, 23, dead Monday after responding to a call at The Edge apartment complex at 12200 S. Strang Line Road.

Franklin helped lead Olathe North to an undefeated season and the Kansas Class 6A state championship in 2009.

He broke Jim Bouknight’s single-season rushing record with 2,803 yards and scored 31 touchdowns as a senior, earning the Simone Award as the Kansas City area’s top player.

Franklin finished with 5,916 career rushing yards, which eclipsed Darren Sproles’ career mark of 5,230, and his 69 career touchdowns rank second only to Sproles’ 75.

He with signed with the University of Nebraska-Omaha out of high school, and as a freshman finished ninth in the MIAA with 766 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in 11 games.

When the Mavericks’ football program was dismantled the next spring, Franklin transferred to Northwest Missouri State, where he led the Bearcats with 1,247 yards and 25 touchdowns (24 rushing) as a sophomore.

Franklin again led Northwest Missouri in rushing with 733 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior, but he was ruled academically ineligible before his senior season, according to a 2013 St. Joseph News Press article.

| Tod Palmer, tpalmer@kcstar.com

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