Francis Kallon commits to Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech may have gotten  one of the state’s biggest steals of the year with Monday’s commitment of Francis Kallon, who is a native of London, England.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound defensive end from Central Gwinnett is an overnight sensation in recruiting circles after deciding to take up the sport of football two months ago. He picked Georgia Tech among a dozen early scholarship offers, including Arkansas, Vanderbilt, North Carolina State, Duke, Virginia, Syracuse and Maryland.

Francis Kallon (Photo by Central Gwinnett HS)

Football Royalty: London native Francis Kallon (Photo by Central Gwinnett HS)

“Francis is a great pickup for Georgia Tech,” Central Gwinnett coach Todd Wofford told the AJC. “They’re getting a kid who No. 1 believes that academics are extremely important and values his education. He has got unlimited athletic potential in football. His parents love Georgia Tech and its academic reputation. His father fell in love with Georgia Tech and the coaching staff when they visited last Friday. His mother is over there with Francis today, and felt the same way.”

Sir Francis is one of the Georgia’s hottest college prospects from the spring. Why are so many colleges interested in a kid who has played football for one month? His high school coach explains:

“In talking with many college coaches, it’s like this — Francis is everything you’re looking for in a defensive end. He’s a little over 6-5, and has arms that go to the ground. He’s 245 pounds and it’s a lean 245. He has the frame to be 270 or 275 very quickly. And he can run. With his rugby and soccer background, he has naturally good feet and an aggressive style of play.

“With not playing football before, several coaches said that it could actually be a big advantage because he hasn’t picked up any bad habits. He hasn’t learned how to loaf and he hasn’t learned how to take plays off. He only knows one speed right now, and that’s full speed. They think they can redshirt him for a year, mold him and teach him the game, and that he could end up being very special.”

How did Kallon get to this side of the pond? His parents split up, with his father relocating to the Atlanta suburbs. His parents got back together, with Francis and his mother moving to the U.S. last fall. Kallon joined Central Gwinnett’s basketball team and was an enforcer in the post area, known for his rebounding and dunking skills. However, Kallon didn’t have much interest in football, initially.

“I heard what he was doing in PE class and people told me ‘Coach, you have to go back after Francis to play football. His feet are phenomenal for his size,’” Wofford said. “He was dribbling a soccer ball in, out and around kids much smaller than him. When I asked him to come out for spring football, I told myself this was the last time I was going to ask because it was like beating my head up against a wall. I told Francis ‘Give me two weeks. If you don’t like, you don’t like it. Please give me two weeks.’ The rest is history.”

Kallon was easy to spot at Central Gwinnett’s spring practices, which were heavily attended by college scouts checking in on linebacker Trey Johnson, who is considered one of the Georgia’s top overall prospects for 2013. After Wofford sent out film of Kallon from the spring, the offers started pouring in. Before Monday’s commitment, Kallon was projected to see his offer count of 12 “double” within a few months. It still might — despite his commitment to Georgia Tech, with how recruiting works nowadays.

Surprisingly, Kallon is learning football much quicker than expected. “He has a 3.8 GPA; he’s very, very smart and he’s picked up things faster than kids who have played football a long time. We switched last year from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4, and some of those kids never really figured it out. They have been playing football forever. Then you take a kid who has never played before like Francis; You tell him something once, and that’s what he knows. He has picked up things on defense and his responsibilities faster than other kids that were on the team last year. He’s going to be a good one.”

Georgia Tech now has four commitments for 2012. Georgia native Tyler Stargel visited the ACC campus for the first time over the weekend, and liked it so much that he committed (go here for full story)

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110 comments Add your comment

George Stein

June 6th, 2011
5:03 pm

Good for him. I hope he enjoys his last year in high school and his future four or five years in college. I wonder whether he’ll play OLB or DE.

Haters in 3, 2, 1…

TV fan

June 6th, 2011
5:15 pm

This is really interesting and not a bad idea to take a kid like this. Redshirt him for his first year and see what happens. My only concern is, high school football players develop toughness: is he tough enough to handle college football.

JacketFan

June 6th, 2011
5:16 pm

@TVFan … Watch a rugby match sometime and then ask the question “is he tough enough.” My guess, he’s going to be the toughest guy on the field in every game he plays at the HS level and darn near the toughest at the collegiate level.

raoul75

June 6th, 2011
5:16 pm

Welcome to the Flats, Francis! You’ll receive a great education and enjoy playing for a storied program under the tutelage of some great coaches, too.

Go Jackets!

Michael Carvell

June 6th, 2011
5:17 pm

This was a big-time commit for Georgia Tech. College football recruiting is all about “potential” not “production” and Francis has as much raw potential as any 2012 recruit from Georgia, including those already committed to Georgia Tech, Georgia, Alabama, elsewhere. He’s 6-5 or 6-6, 240-something pounds, 3.8 GPA, physical, quick feet, etc. There is no doubt that other college powerhouses will try to lure him away between now and February. That’s automatic. However, in the end, I think he sticks by Georgia Tech for many reasons, including being near his family, which was why he moved across the pond in the first place.

Excited About GT

June 6th, 2011
5:18 pm

For those excited about next season. Here’s some VAD LEE passing film. Can’t wait!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q2k95TtTdk&feature=related

wrecked

June 6th, 2011
5:20 pm

Excited, Who is Vlad going to throw to?

Excited About GT

June 6th, 2011
5:21 pm

@ wrecked:

I confident CPJ will identify the players who can catch and put them on the field. We have a couple of stud receivers coming this summer. Jeff Green and Darren Waller. I could even see David Sims catching a few balls. He has great hands.

RRTDawgs

June 6th, 2011
5:22 pm

Congrats to him well at least you guys are getting commits UGA has not had a commit in weeks maybe dawg night but it has been a slow summer for us .

GT12

June 6th, 2011
5:36 pm

Per Rivals, we snatched this kid up just as football factories all over the country were setting him up for camps.

Jacket Backer

June 6th, 2011
5:40 pm

Looks like a great pick up….Welcome aboard Francis!

Go Jackets!

NorthAvenueRules

June 6th, 2011
5:43 pm

Francis, welcome to the GT Family! We found a gem with this one! Can’t wait to see you wearing the Yellow and Gold!

Go Jackets!!!!!!!

Excited About GT

June 6th, 2011
5:45 pm

@ wrecked:

I hear you with him being a true freshman – there’s no getting past that. Still, Vad has some serious potential. Since we don’t run the shotgun, perhaps we should be looking at one of his different talents.

VAD LEE rushing film:

http://www.athletevault.com/index.php?id=2122

wrecked

June 6th, 2011
5:46 pm

Excited, Expecting an awful lot from some freshman a a player who hasn’t played the position. I appeciate your optimism but did you notice that Vlad ran out of a shotgun formation? I doubt you see very much of Vlad as a freshman.

Sugar Hill Dawg

June 6th, 2011
5:46 pm

Reminds me a bit of Richard Tardits, the French rugby player already on the UGA campus back in the 1980s. I think he wound up playing for the Patriots for a few years – one never knows!

Big Macon DAWG

June 6th, 2011
5:51 pm

He’ll stay committed to Tech as long as we don’t offer him, which I doubt we will.

We tend to stick with only elite talent, and get pretty much anything we want.

Fast forward to 2012 and a new HC and crew, we will be in the NC hunt every year just like BAMA and Texas.

rightofcenter

June 6th, 2011
5:51 pm

I try not to get too excited about verbals – we all know it is a long time until February. However, if he signs with the Jackets then, I will be ecstatic.

Buzzed

June 6th, 2011
5:51 pm

@Big Macon DAWG, have fun in Athens with your five star recruits ***** such as Marlon Brown, Caleb King, AJ Harmon, Washuan Ealey. I can keep going with the names of busts????

GT-'99

June 6th, 2011
6:00 pm

Big-time verbal.

Now the question is: Can Mr.-Ego-Maniac, “I can win with or without you” set the hook, and reel him in?

Here’s some clues coach:

Don’t try to impose any of your silly recruiting (that you know little if any about) rules on the kid. If he wants to visit other schools LET HIM!

Stay in touch, and kiss up to him and his mom and dad. He’s not bound by contract to serve for you like a Navy FB player!

Don’t screw this one up!!!

Michael Carvell

June 6th, 2011
6:01 pm

@rightofcenter, very true. It is a long time until February. With how recruiting works nowadays, other schools will continue to purse committed players until NSD. Nevertheless, very impressed that Georgia Tech closed the deal. From now until NSD, Georgia Tech has two huge advantages with Francis — 1. Georgia Tech is in close proximity to his parents (which is why he moved to the US) and 2. Academics really are the top priority with his family, which is not always the case with prospective student-athletes.

His parents really don’t know much about football, other than it will be means for a free education for their son. In other words, if a perennial top 5 football powerhouse offered Francis, they would likely have to make a stronger pitch to his parents about academics rather than football. I think Georgia Tech has got to feel good about this situation moving forward.

Amazing Speed

June 6th, 2011
6:02 pm

Great find for GT!

Francis Kallon has amazing speed – it’s quite unreal! Check out this highlight reel:

http://georgiatech.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1228704

Gen. Forrest

June 6th, 2011
6:10 pm

“We tend to stick with only elite talent, and get pretty much anything we want”

Gimme some of what you’re smokin’ dude!!! And just how has that worked out for ya’ll over the last 3 seasons? Oh yeah, losing conference record, pathetic overall record for a team that is made up of “only elite talent”, LMAO!!! Newsflash little puppy: Nothing from Athens has been “elite” since the early 1980’s. That’s probably even before your single-wide was built!

NC hunt in 2012????? That’s a good one!!! Shouldn’t ya’ll try to win your division of the conference first??? UGA isn’t even relevant in the SEC-East anymore, much less Nationally!!! Like I said, ya’ll haven’t been of ANY importance to the world of College football since 1980. But thanks for the comedic relief, I needed a good laugh!!!

John

June 6th, 2011
6:10 pm

I love the pick-up. Soccer players with this kind of size make incredible lineman. The footwork they learn is very very useful. This was one of the things that made Suh from Nebraska such an incredible player. Add on the toughness from playing rugby and, yeah this guys has serios potential

Tech Guy

June 6th, 2011
6:20 pm

Francis will help Tech maintain it’s leadership in academics. Last year, the AJC ran an article showing that Tech’s football players had the highest SAT scores of any Division 1 school in the country. Francis fits that mold, and will be an excellent player for the Jackets. Al Groh is getting some good players, and he will build an excellent defense. That will make a big difference. GO JACKETS!

El Dudearino

June 6th, 2011
6:20 pm

he’s probably a steal. Paul J. won’t be there to see him play, however. 4 wins tops for North Avenue in ‘11.

deezcoons

June 6th, 2011
6:21 pm

if tech beat aout vandy and syracuse for this guy then the big schools didn’t want this guy anyway. congrats on your no star pick up

TechDonor

June 6th, 2011
6:21 pm

I’m pleasantly surprised that Georgia Tech signed this young man because Wofford, Samford, UAB, Furman and at least two of the services academies had yet to offer him. Way to go CPJ!

GTBob

June 6th, 2011
6:39 pm

Very nice to see us pull a kid like this. A talented and smart kid who cares about academics, and is a hard worker. Something tells me that our defense is going to be much better in the coming years.

robert hand

June 6th, 2011
6:43 pm

I dont know about this. Football is hard work, and it takes a hell of a commitment. Kid may decide he does not want to put in all that work to play once a week in the fall.

GT Alum

June 6th, 2011
6:45 pm

As a long standing GT alum and donor, I am proud to see Francis come to GT. Hope you enjoy your senior year in high school.

Francis, we welcome you with open arms!

Go Jackets!

Turnt_UP!

June 6th, 2011
6:52 pm

“The British are coming, the British are coming” – Sarah Palin

We (UF) Own UGA!

June 6th, 2011
6:52 pm

Big Macon Dawg,

Then explain why UGA is striking out left and right in recruiting this year? Could it be due to Saint Richt’s gimmick of naming a recruiting class wearing off?

UGA is irrelevant is so many ways. LOL

SickandTired

June 6th, 2011
6:57 pm

Big Macon Dawg….I’m glad to see that arrogance is alive and well in Athens in spite of the fact that Georgia has underachieved with the fabulous recruits that they have had…..Tech will take this kid who’s obviously too much of an intellectual for Georgia standards and Georgia as you said wouldn’t offer him anyway. Georgia recruiters just drive right thru Gwinnett County on their way to other parts of the state and the best coached players in the state and most competitive regions in the state are right there in Gwinnett. Kirby Smart is about to clean up in Gwinnett in the next two years. Bank it.

Buzz Off

June 6th, 2011
6:59 pm

Can’t wait to see UGA get clobbered by Boise State the first game of the season. That should put a muzzle on the Dawgs for a while…

jsmtih

June 6th, 2011
7:13 pm

seems like a great kid, but i wouild strongly urge he and his parents to take some more visits , there are so many nicer places to attend college and still get a great education.

GT Fan Nation

June 6th, 2011
7:21 pm

Yes, please. This kid is tough as nails with his rugby background and is quick as lightning. Great find for GT!!

Now, where can we have 5 more of these just like Francis?

GT FAN

June 6th, 2011
7:33 pm

Yes but in the meantime Big Mac Dawg you can just keep hanging on to those pre-season championships that you are so well know for.

GT FAN

June 6th, 2011
7:38 pm

You know when Saban and Spurrier and St Richt go into this kids home and pull that old trick where they throw the calculus book down on the coffee table like it is a snake and then tell the kid he will have to actually open it at Tech….it might just not work with this kid.

thomas

June 6th, 2011
7:49 pm

47-40

June 6th, 2011
7:59 pm

Gator would like to remind you who leads the series, though I doubt you a gator fan, Tech likes to live vicariously through those that actually win on the field. Obviously you have no idea who UGA is targeting. Only have 12 left to give. Good luck to Francis, he looks to be a truly good athlete, heres hoping he can learn how to play football.

collegeballfan

June 6th, 2011
9:00 pm

If a college gets a kid committed that they offered in June, then they are getting exactly what they want.

“…seems fitting for gt to recruit a ‘boy’ named Francis!”

Yeah, I agree. Reminds me of UGA’s all time greatest QB, Francis Tarkenton. Nice call “a boy named francis”.

wes

June 6th, 2011
9:22 pm

GT ATW

June 6th, 2011
9:48 pm

Very nice commitment for the Jackets. However, I’m sure many of you will want to trash the kid because he hasn’t been offered by ND, GA and Ohio State yet. Shame on all of you on this blog who smeared Tyler Stargel a couple of days ago also. I very happy with both of these kids. They both have a tremendous upside for growth on the football field and in the classroom. They are exactly the kind of kids we need at Tech. And to boot, they really want to play football for GT and their parents love the school. It appears to me that the 2012 class is beginning to build some momentum and I’m optimistic it could be a very good year.

DenverJacket

June 6th, 2011
9:49 pm

Welcome to GT Sir Francis! Perhaps every year when we play the Dawgs, you can teach those guys some proper Engligh etiquette.

Go Jackets!!!

Big Macon DAWG

June 6th, 2011
9:50 pm

I will say one thing. I subscribe to recruiting sites. This kid is quality.

You guys are pesky. Most UGA backers have tried to take you off the schedule.

Little to gain, beating you. Much to lose if we don’t. And lately it hasn’t been a given.

Enjoy.

I think Urban Meyer will go to us or OSU by the end of 2011.

Again…. Proud to be born a Georgia fan. Because we typically get what we want.

gt4ever

June 6th, 2011
9:50 pm

Good Pickup for GT! GT 99, I hope CPJ is listening…. Very funny though….

Rhall55

June 6th, 2011
10:46 pm

We (UF) is correct w/ UGA whiffing on alot of recruits now; UGA is behind the pace of last year and many UGA (Buck Belue) promoters were concerned last year before the big push; again, after a big weekend w/ no commits, you “snooze, you lose”!!!!

Realist

June 6th, 2011
10:49 pm

@Big Macon Dawg

Try writing a complete sentence. Oh! that’s right… I’m expecting too much from a UGA fan…

You're my boy Blue

June 6th, 2011
10:51 pm

I’m sure the rest of the ACC is staying up late at night at the potential addition of a kid who has the same experience level in football as my 7 year old nephew. Nice pickup for the Tech Rugby club team though.

Old Gold

June 6th, 2011
10:58 pm

Too funny! Scraping the barrel to find people to go to Tech and play for Johnson!