Franklin Road Academy Athletes Commit to Play in the Ivy League
Eric Stoxstill-Diggs to play at Cornell University, and Watson Tansil commits to Columbia University
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (January 31, 2018) — Franklin Road Academy’s backfield tandem of Eric Stoxstill-Diggs and Watson Tansil will move to the Ivy League this fall. Stoxstill-Diggs has committed to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and Tansil will play at Columbia University in Manhattan, New York.
For Stoxstill-Diggs, football at the collegiate level has always been a goal. “My parents always pushed academics first and then athletics. I have always loved football, and it was something I wanted to pursue after high school,” he said. “I knew I wanted to go to a highly academic school as well as play football at a high level, and I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to play at Cornell.”
Stoxstill-Diggs, who played quarterback and free safety for the Panthers, led the team in both passing and rushing yards this season, compiling more than 2,700 total yards. He finished the year with 28 touchdowns, 20 of those passing, with just six interceptions. Stoxstill-Diggs also accumulated 56 tackles during his senior campaign.
Bill Whittemore, FRA’s head football coach said, “Eric has worked really hard to get to where he is. He was constantly meeting with coaches and watching film, connecting with his teammates, striving for excellence, and building culture across classes that respected and cared for one another. He is a special young man who exudes God’s truth and grace, and I am excited to see him grow and pursue his dreams at Cornell.”
Tansil realized the potential to play at the next level after his sophomore year. “After my sophomore season I decided I wanted football to help me get into a really good school, so I made it a goal and stuck with it. When coaches from different schools would come in, I knew which ones I was really interested in based on the fact that I wanted to go to a highly academic school,” he said.
In his final season, Tansil, who played outside linebacker, amassed 58 total tackles for an average of 4.8 per game along with four sacks and three interceptions. Tansil also played running back/tight end for the Panthers, compiling 408 rushing yards and 129 reception yards.
Whittemore said of Tansil, “Watson’s knowledge of the game is phenomenal, and his persistence to want to learn more is unparalleled. On the field, he was always ready and willing to work, and his effort was a bar that we pushed others to strive for. Columbia is getting a solid football player who cares for others and always does what is asked of him.”
Tansil is the second FRA student-athlete to commit to Columbia University in as many years. He will join alumna Riley Casey ’17, who is currently a freshman on the Columbia women’s basketball team.
Stoxstill-Diggs and Tansil both plan to study finance in college, and they both credit the FRA coaching staff with helping them reach their athletic goals. “They are the main reason I was able to get my foot in the door, and they really worked with me, helping me get bigger, faster, and stronger,” Stoxstill-Diggs said.
Tansil added, “We have a lot of really good guys on our coaching staff who love and encourage us. I am so thankful for their help in getting me to where I am.”
Of both athletes, Whittemore said, “Eric and Watson are both special players on the field, but even more so, they are great young men and leaders. Their knowledge of the game, work ethic, and the ability to push others to be their best will be great assets as they move into their college careers, and I can’t wait to see them grow and pursue their dreams at Cornell University and Columbia University.”
There will be an official signing ceremony on Wednesday, February 7.
Franklin Road Academy is a coeducational, diverse learning community, offering pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade students from 15 different countries a challenging educational experience within an inclusive Christian community. FRA provides an elite education within a collaborative learning environment, ensuring students become critical, innovative thinkers and leaders.