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 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)
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog Got a recruiting item? firstname.lastname@example.org
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