Jarmon Fortson returns to Columbus

by Alex Husting

Even with the season underway the Columbus Lions are continuing to go after big time free agents, this time signing wide receiver Jarmon Fortson. This will be Fortson’s second stint with the Lions, he first signed with the team in 2012.

While the name will sound familiar to many Lions fans, Fortson is a local talent, born in Columbus and he even played football at Carver. After graduating from Carver as a standout receiver he was recruited by a number of colleges across the country. 

Fortson decided to play college football at Florida State University under head coach Jimbo Fisher and at first things were working out well for the young receiver. He saw minimal action during his freshman year, with only eight catches for 137 yards and one touchdown, but his sophomore season saw an explosion. 

Fortson reeled in 45 catches for 610 yards and four touchdowns, leading the team in all three categories. Fortson took a major step forward during his sophomore season and it looked like he could have an even better season during his junior year. However, during the offseason before the 2010 season Fortson was dismissed from the team.

Fortson immediately began searching for his next team as he wanted to continue his college football career and he eventually landed at North Alabama under head coach Terry Bowden. In one season at North Alabama, Fortson caught 32 passes which was good for second on the team while leading them in yards with 553 and touchdowns with five. 

His season was cut short and he was not able to appear in the playoffs due to a suspension from head coach Terry Bowden for missing classes. Following this, Fortson decided to head to the NFL and entered the 2011 NFL draft. Fortson never received a call on draft night and he went undrafted and was out of football for over a year. 

He remained in shape in case an opportunity came and in 2012 there was one in the form of an offer to play in the Canadian Football League(CFL) for the Toronto Argonauts. His time with the Argonauts only lasted a few short weeks and once again Fortson was on the move. 

This time, Fortson headed back home to Columbus and signed with the Lions, then members of the PIFL, for the first time in 2012. Fortson was with the Lions for six consecutive seasons, winning the PIFL championship with the team in 2015 and being with the team when they joined the NAL. 

Following the 2018 season, Fortson headed south and joined the Jacksonville Sharks for the 2019 season. Fortson was only able to play for the Sharks for one season because the 2020 season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, after nearly two years away from the game, Fortson is back in football and once again, back in Columbus.

“He is a dominant player and glad to be back in Columbus” said head coach Jason Gibson. Fortson’s return to Columbus only adds more experience and skill to an already talented wide receiver room that includes the likes of Antwane Grant and Lonnie Outlaw. The passing offense made a statement in the season opener against the Albany Empire and now the passing attack has become more dangerous. 

The home opener against the Orlando Predators is set to kick off on June 4 at 7 p.m. EST inside the Columbus Civic Center. The game can be watched live with CTV Beam, on the NAL website or on the NAL’s official Youtube channel. 


The Columbus Lions are members of the National Arena League (NAL). Founded in 2007, the Columbus Lions are starting their 15th season in 2021. The Lions are a 3x league champion and 13 playoff appearances in their rich history. The Lions play their home games at Hughston Field in the Columbus Civic Center. Lions Season Ticket Memberships are on sale now call (706) 322-3336 or visit columbuslions.com. Follow the Lions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Lionsfootball/, twitter @columbuslions and instagram.com/Columbuslions.


The National Arena League was founded in 2016 and hosted its inaugural season in 2017 as the premier league in arena football. The National Arena League will kick off its fifth season in 2021. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at chris@nationalarenaleague.com For more information about the NAL visit www.nationalarenaleague.com, facebook.com/nationalarenaleauge, twitter.com/NALfootball, Instagram.com/nationalarenaleague.