Francis Kallon is making Georgia Tech look smart with its decision to both offer a football scholarship and accept a commitment before the transfer from London, England, had ever played in organized game of football.
The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Kallon has dominated in his first two games with Central Gwinnett High School, which plays in Georgia’s largest classification. Kallon has 19 total tackles, 6 tackles for losses, 2 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries and a blocked punt.
“I couldn’t be happier about how quickly Francis has adapted,” Central Gwinnett coach Todd Wofford told the AJC. “If you watch his film or watch him play on Friday night, you could never tell that he has never played football before prior to this season. I mean, he’s dominating.”
Sir Francis has a rags-to-riches recruiting story. He moved with his mother from England to the Atlanta area last year. Kallon had never played football in his life but went out for Central Gwinnett’s team last May. College scouts couldn’t believe the new kid’s rare combination of size and athleticism, stacking up nearly a dozen offers for Kallon after only two weeks of spring practice. He committed to Georgia Tech last June.
“Georgia Tech couldn’t be happier about the situation; I think they want him to be a little more low key because he’s out there dominating,” Wofford said with a laugh. “I don’t think they knew exactly what they were getting out of him, and I don’t think they expected him to be as good so fast.”
Why has Sir Francis improved sooner than later? “He’s a real intelligent kid, very coachable, he does exactly what you ask him to do, and he does it as good as he can,” Wofford said. “He’s gained 20 pounds of muscle since the spring. He’s playing at 260 right now and pushed 6-6. You take a kid with that size and that athletic, then you add his motor and his desire to be dominant, that’s how he got where he’s at right now.”
Kallon is still learning the game. In the season-opener, Kallon blocked a punt. When his teammate picked up the loose ball and ran toward the end zone, Kallon wanted to do something to help. He chased down one of the defenders trying to tackle his teammate, grabbed him by the shoulder pads, and threw him to the ground. Fortunately for Francis, the referees missed it, or it would’ve been a 15-yard penalty and nullified the touchdown. But his coach wasn’t mad. “It’s hard to be upset when a kid is playing aggressively and getting after it,” Wofford said.
The coach has taken a new approach to teaching the sport to the wonderkid who has never played football before. “I told him to play with more aggression and more anger, and Francis asked ‘what does that mean? What does it look like,’” Wofford said. “So I showed him examples on film. Francis is like, ‘OK coach, I can do that. You will see that on Friday.’
He’s a visual learner. He doesn’t know much about the X’s and O’s. But if you show him something on film and explain it to him, he will go out there and do that. That’s what happened after the first game. Now he had a great first game, but he was even better in the next one. That’s because he watched film of the first one and corrected his mistakes.”
It has been a dizzying series of football firsts for Kallon over the past five months. Last Thursday, Kallon attended his first college game, watching Georgia Tech thump Western Carolina. “It was good, it was a blowout game so it wasn’t nerve-wracking,” Kallon said. “I was like ‘wow, my team is really doing good.’
Kallon was in awe of the atmosphere. “It was fantastic. There were cheerleaders doing back flips. The crowd was full of people in gold and white, and some of them were wearing suits and fancy dresses. They had a mascot who had to do pushups every time after Georgia Tech scored, which was really frequent. It was really funny.
“They had sign posts that whenever Georgia Tech would score a touchdown, it told everyone to yell louder. And the whole stadium would scream and scream and scream. Then the band played this great music that really got you excited about the game.”
His coach is considering encouraging Sir Francis to see more college games. “He’s still committed to Georgia Tech, but I don’t think it would be a problem to him to go watch another team’s game. The kid comes from another country, and I would love for him to experience that. That’s part of being a high school football player, going to watch Georgia Tech somewhere on the road or whatever. That would be a good experience for Francis.”
What about other colleges? Like with any top recruit, other colleges are flirting with Sir Francis despite his commitment to Georgia Tech. “Alabama, FSU, Arkansas and Vanderbilt are all trying to get him to visit for game,” Wofford said. “They haven’t given up on him.”
How does Francis feel about the attention from other schools? “It’s nice of them I guess, but I’m committed to Georgia Tech; that’s my school,” he said.
What do we think? We think Francis has an excellent chance of finishing his one and only year of high school football as one of the state’s top 5 college prospects. He’s a 5-star recruit in every area but experience. I think Georgia Tech ought to put a babysitter at Central Gwinnett because recruiters from other schools will be trying to change his mind. I’d say the same if Francis was committed to Alabama, UGA or FSU. He’s something special. Georgia Tech deserves a lot of credit for taking a chance early on Francis and maintaining an excellent relationship. Francis will be fun to watch over the next few months.
TOP 10 FOOTBALL RECRUITING STORIES
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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