'Tired of the bull,' Francis commits to Terps
Despite a breakout junior season and a performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl that earned him rave reviews, Gonzaga (D.C) junior defensive tackle A.J. Francis kept hearing the same thing from recruiters at schools such Ohio State and Notre Dame: ‘We want to wait and see your senior highlight film.'
It only solidified the gut feeling Francis had been having, so he made his move and committed to the Maryland Terrapins coaching staff this week.
"I was tired of the bull from the recruiting process," said Francis, a 6-foot-5, 315-pounder who is Maryland's second ‘08 defensive tackle commitment in the past month, following in the footsteps of Milford Mill's Teddy Dargan.
"Ever since last summer, Maryland's always been there," said Francis, who also had offers from Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, as well as interest from a bevy of top programs.
Francis, though not a workout warrior, is a massive and talented stopper on the defensive line, and surely would have been in high demand had Maryland assistants Dave Sollazzo and Chris Cosh not wrapped him up early.
"I feel like they'll take care of me. I also wanted to go somewhere where the coaches would be there the entire time I'm there, and I don't think coach [Ralph] Friedgen is going anywhere," Francis said.
Francis, who last week was the subject of a lengthy Washington Post article about the combine in San Antonio, posted 63 tackles on defense and 76 pancake blocks as an offensive lineman last season.
"I told them I'll play offense or defense, I just want to contribute," said Francis, who is mostly likely to stay on the defensive side of the ball.
Francis is a solid student and will have no trouble qualifying. Every day he travels an hour each way to and from his home in Anne Arundel County in order to attend Gonzaga, an elite private school in the District. He's an outgoing personality, which could be in the Terps favor when Francis begins his own recruiting efforts.
"I'm trying to get Cam Johnson [another standout junior at Gonzaga] to come to Maryland with me and I'm gonna get Reggie Ellis's number from Dunbar and start talking to Big Pete White at St. John's," Francis said. Johnson has a Terps offer, while Ellis is a highly touted defensive lineman and White a massive sophomore lineman who also will be a big-time recruit.
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