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Former Franklin High School athletes ink NIL deal with local company

– New NCAA Rules Allow Franklin’s Only Division 1, Power 5 Student Athletes to Represent Local Marketing Agency –

Franklin, NC – In what could be a first for local student athletes now playing sports at the next level, three former Franklin High School softball players signed Name, Image and Likeness agreements with Stewart Communications, a Franklin-based marketing firm.

Thanks to the recent introduction of NIL rules, student athletes can earn extra money on top of the scholarships they receive at their universities.

“We loved the idea of supporting local student athletes in a way that benefits them, and honors their hard work and dedication to excellence,” said Morgan Stewart, founder of Stewart Communications. “It’s particularly a helpful program for those playing in sports that don’t get the same financial support as football or basketball. The vast majority of high-level student athletes are not driving fancy cars or wearing top designers to the playing field.”

The three new Stewart representatives are former FHS and Mountain 7 softball standouts. McKenzie Redoutey, and sisters Taylor and Tori Ensley, were star fielders and prolific hitters for the Panthers. All were recruited by major programs. Redoutey starts for LSU and the Ensley sisters start for NC State. Now, all three will be “spokespeople” for the local business.

The idea for the partnership came to Stewart, an LSU alum, as he followed Redoutey’s career and got to know her parents, who are lifetime Franklin residents. It made sense to consider the Ensley’s as well, since the three make up Franklin’s only Division 1, Power 5 student athletes.

“These ladies were absolute monsters on the diamond for the Panthers, and now they’re excelling at some of the largest universities in America. I can’t wait to see how they lead their teams to victory this year,” added Stewart.

In two years at NC State, Taylor Ensley started 71 games, hitting seven home runs. At FHS, she was a two-time high school district player of the year, FHS female athlete of the year, Mountain 6 Conference player of the year, and All-WNC First Team Utility Player of the Year.

“We were surprised and honored to get the call about the opportunity to work with Stewart,” said Taylor, now a junior at NC State. “During the process, he even took the time to coach us on our communications skills which will help us pursue our professional careers after softball.”

Her younger sister, Tori Ensley, is a freshman for the Wolfpack. At FHS, she earned the 2022 conference and district player of the year honors. Her senior year, she hit 17 home runs, the third highest total in North Carolina history. As a Panther, she was named All-State, All-Conference and All-District.

“We love our hometown, and to be recognized like this in front of our families, friends, former teachers and coaches back in Franklin is amazing,” said Tori. “All three of us are so thankful that we get to play for the Wolfpack and the Tigers after so many incredible years as Panthers.”

During high school, Redoutey was one of the most sought-after softball players in America. She earned all-state, all-district and all region. Extra Inning Softball ranked Redoutey as the 10th best player in the nation and the 4th best outfielder. In her sophomore season as a Tiger, she was named 2023 SEC All-Defensive Team, All-SEC Second Team and in 2022 SEC First-Year Honor Roll. She finished her 2023 LSU sophomore season with a .306 batting average and .529 slugging average while leading the team with extra base hits.

“Very few people understand how much time, effort and dedication it takes to play at the highest levels in college sports. You have to love the game because when we aren’t studying, softball is our life,” said Redoutey, the LSU junior. “This NIL program is really helpful for so many student athletes, especially in the less popular sports. We really appreciate Stewart for recognizing our value and for supporting us.”

Located in Franklin, the Stewart Communications team offers decades of experience focusing on marketing, graphic design, social media, events, website development, and crisis management. Stewart Communications has an office at the Franklin Chamber of Commerce building. For more information visit https://stewartcomm.com.

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