Star DL High on UM

When Bryan Pata was being recruited from Miami Central High School a couple years ago, UM fans were excited. It's time they get excited for Pata's cousin, Carol City standout Ricky Jean-Francois, because the two have similar upside.

At 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, Jean-Francois is quickly becoming one of the state's top overall prospects. People saw it coming at an early age.

"When he first started playing for us, you could just see the natural ability and the excitement he had out there," said head coach Walt Frazier. "Now he's just an amazing athlete. He works hard in the weight room, in the classroom, where it matters. He's an outstanding individual."

Jean-Francois said it wasn't easy starting football when he was in ninth grade.

"I was overweight and it was my first time playing organized football," he said. "I just wanted to find a spot. I was eager to play anything at the time, I just wanted a taste and I got it."

Jean-Francois began his varsity career playing defensive tackle, thanks to the fact that Carol City had two of the state's top ends at the time -- Eric Moncur and Maurice Charles.

"Playing behind those guys, I was so eager and ready to play," he said. "I remember thinking and telling people that I'll do anything, I'll play anywhere. I just want a chance. So I played tackle and that really helped me. I have more experience with different pass rushes now. I can bull rush, speed rush, go inside, outside, all those things. I feel like I have an advantage now playing on the outside."

The talented defender used those techniques to register 80 tackles and 10 sacks as a junior last season.

"We won the ring and that's what I wanted most," he said. "We want it again this year. I want to have a better year. I'm in the weight room, on the practice field, doing all the little things."

Jean-Francois doesn't just get things done on the football field. He's aiming for another state championship this weekend. His discus throw of 164 feet and shot put throw of 61-07 make him the clear favorite to take home the state crown this weekend in Gainesville.

"I work real hard at everything I do," he said. "I don't wanna be denied anything. I wanted a state ring in football and went out and helped my team get it. I don't stop. I dont like to lose."

The talented defensive end prospect is handling all the recruiting attention now as a result.

"I have offers from Rutgers and Iowa," he said. "I guess the other schools wanna see my test scores first. I like UM and Florida State a lot. UM's got the type of system I want to play in. They speed rush, bull rush, do a lot of different things. They have a great program and put a lot of guys into the league."

One thing that won't bother Jean-Francois is competition. He talked about why he'll be so well prepared for it.

"We've had a lot of competition around here at Carol City since I've been here," he said. "Competing with guys like Eric and Maurice when I was younger, none of that mattered. I didn't back down. I love to compete. I think it makes you better and you see where I'm at now as a result. It doesn't matter who it is, I'll be ready to give it everything I got."

Canes Time Top Stories