Wide receiver Fransohn Bickley has decided to stay in the city he calls home for college.
Bickley, a 2013 St. Vincent-St. Mary graduate, said he will attend the University of Akron on scholarship and play football for the Zips.
“It means a lot to me knowing that I am from Akron,” Bickley said. “I have gotten to bring back a state championship in [basketball, football and track and field] to Akron and to get to play for the University of Akron is going to be special.
“A lot of my family, my coaches and all the people who raised me and taught me how to play football when I was growing up will get to see me play.”
Bickley helped the Fighting Irish win a Division III football state title as a senior, a Division II basketball state title as a sophomore and two Division II state track and field titles as a sophomore and senior. The Irish track and field team was state runner-up during his junior year, and the basketball team was state runner-up his senior year.
Bickley also ran on two state championship relay teams in the 400 relay as a junior and senior and on one in the 800 relay as a senior. The 800 relay was state runner-up his junior year.
“I just look at myself as a hard worker, and I am a winner,” Bickley said. “I have been on winning teams. I hope to bring winning to Akron. They have a great group of coaches, and I hope myself and all the players can all come together and win.”
Bickley had 52 receptions 1,106 yards and 13 touchdowns last fall. He also scored twice on punt returns, and gained 475 yards on 24 returns.
Bickley, 18, said UA recruiting coordinator-inside receivers coach John Pont recruited him as an athlete to play receiver and on special teams. Bickley, 5-foot-8 and 145-pounds, impressed as a speedy wide receiver and defensive back in football, and as a quick guard in basketball.
“I am very, very happy that Akron has given him the opportunity,” St. V-M football coach Dan Boarman said. “One of the comments that coach [Terry] Bowden and coach [Chuck] Amato made to me was that they are looking for playmakers. I don’t know of a better playmaker in the state than Fresh.
“I am a realist, I know his size scares people, but he is ultimately a football player. He is a fast kid. He is a very electric player. ... Even with his size, he doesn’t get hurt. He is a special player that can make an impact.”
Bickley earned 10 letters at St. V-M, four in basketball, three in football and three in track and field.
“I have a personal bias toward Fransohn Bickley because of his stature,” St. V-M track and field coach Dan Lancianese said. “I am a small person. He has this unofficial chip on his shoulder. He has this anger about him. He just assaults and attacks when he runs. I look forward to seeing him on the gridiron at Akron. He reminds me of Eric Metcalf when he played with the Browns. He is like a cannon ball that just goes off. He also has great leaping ability. He had an awful lot to do with our sprint relays.”
Bickley said he plans to major in sports medicine.
“I know several guys from Akron who are on the football team, including [incoming freshmen] Jerome Lane from Firestone, Deon’tae Moore from Kenmore and [redshirt sophomore] Cody Grice from Firestone,” Bickley said. “We all want to help fill that stadium up.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.