John Wesley Kennedy III might be the best football player to have played for Benedictine under current head coach Danny Britt, and on Monday, January 2, the school welcomed him home for a ceremony announcing his return to college football in 2023. The 2017 graduate of BC recorded 89 total touchdowns, 3605 rushing yards and 7,552 all-purpose yards as a Cadet before starring on the field in Statesboro for the Georgia Southern Eagles from 2017-2020.
In November 2020, he left the GS program, and since that time, Kennedy III has not played in a college football game despite having a season of eligibility remaining. That changes this fall, as the 24-year-old announced on Monday that he’ll be playing at the University of West Georgia on a full scholarship next season.
“I’m going to be attending the University of West Georgia this year,” Kennedy III said on Monday as he lifted a UWG T-shirt from a concealed bag.
His parents, Wesley Kennedy Jr. and Yulonda Maxwell, were by his side while he made his announcement official.
“We just want to thank the BC community as they have helped my son and my family through some hard times,” Maxwell said as she fought back tears. “I just want to say ‘thank you.’ Without you, he wouldn’t be here today. When football was taken from him, I know my son, he was depressed. But he endured and we are so proud of him.”
Also on hand was Britt, as well as many of Kennedy’s other family members, former teammates, former coaches and longtime supporters. Britt’s Cadets won state championships with Kennedy on the roster in 2014 and 2016 before BC won back-to-back titles in 2021 and 2022.
“We are so happy for Wesley and all that he has overcome,” Britt said at the beginning of Monday’s ceremony. “We love him and we know how hard he has worked, how diligent he has been and how bright his future is.”
Kennedy III was a three-star recruit in the class of 2017 and he signed with Georgia Southern thanks in large part to the recruiting relationship he had built with 2016 GS offensive coordinator David Dean. Dean left to take the head coaching job at West Georgia in 2017, but since 2020, the two have stayed in touch and Kennedy III says that’s what led to the two reuniting in Carrollton.
“Coach Dean recruited me at Southern so we still kind of had that connection,” Kennedy III said Monday after the ceremony. “He would still text me here and there when I was at Southern just wishing me luck and stuff but when everything went down in 2020, he reached back out to me and said if I ever needed a place that he would be there for me.
“So once I got back to being eligible (academically), I reached out to him and he stayed true to his word.”
UWG finished the 2022 season with an 8-2 record after going 9-3 in 2021. The Wolves are a member of NCAA Division II and they play in the Gulf South Conference. Since Dean took over in 2017, UWG has produced 27 All-Gulf South Conference players and 12 NCAA Division II All-Americans. Two players from his time there have gone on to sign undrafted free agent contracts in the National Football League.
Kennedy III will be on full scholarship at UWG where he is scheduled to graduate in December with an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies. He said he is leaving for Carrollton on Friday, January 6 ahead of classes beginning for the Spring semester. Follow him on Twitter, @Mr_AllGas.
Follow Travis Jaudon on Twitter/Instagram @JaudonSports. Email him at travisLjaudon@gmail.com.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jaudon Sports
Optim Orthopedics supports Benedictine Military School, Calvary Day School, Richmond Hill High School, Savannah Country Day, South Effingham High School, and St. Vincent's athletics. Benedictine Military School's team doctor is Dr. David Sedory. Dr. David Palmer is the team doctor for Calvary Day School, South Effingham, and Richmond Hill. Savannah Country Day and St. Vincent's team doctor is Dr. Thomas Alexander. Remember, Optim Orthopedics gets you back into the game.