Canadian Tight-end Discusses Penn State Commitment

Earlier this month, when most avid Penn State recruiting fans were focusing their attention on which school one of the country's top prospects, Justin King, would choose, one of the top prospects in the country north of the border told PSU he wanted to be a Nittany Lion.

Name: Francis Claude
Position: TE
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 252 pounds
40 Speed: 4.6 seconds
Hometown/School: Lennoxville, Quebec (Champlain College)

Quebec's Francis Claude chose Penn State over offers from South Carolina, Rutgers, Toledo, Akron and Eastern Michigan. Others including Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma State and Miami were interested and awaiting videotape in order to evaluate whether or not to offer. Claude, however, became enamored with Penn State during his unofficial visit to State College during the weekend of the Central Florida game and decided not to wait for other offers to arrive. What made him pull the trigger and commit to PSU?

"Coach Joe Paterno," Claude answered, "and also I think it's a really good opportunity. At the tight-end spot, I think I should have a chance in the next two years to play. Also, I really like the fact that it's outside of town, because I didn't want to go to a big town. And the campus is not that big. I prefer one that is smaller."

Claude, who is currently 6'5", 252 pounds and reportedly runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, was only able to play in half of Champlain's games this season due to injury. His team finished the season with a 4-4 record.

"I got a bad ankle sprain and a sprain on the neck. I missed two games because of my neck and then two games because of my ankle. I played 4 games and I had 12 catches for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns."

Francis is fine now.

"I'm weight training now and everything, so I'm going to be ready for January."

January is when Claude is scheduled to enroll at Penn State. That will give him the opportunity to participate in spring practice and compete for early playing time. Do the coaches think he has a chance to contribute at the tight-end position early in his career?

"I think that they're pretty confident and I am too. I went to a game (UCF) and I saw the game, I saw the other tight-ends. They were good, but I think the only thing that I really need to work on is my technique. For the rest, like the speed, I think I'll be fine.

"[I need to work on] the understanding of the game because the Canadian game is pretty different. We can have more than one guy in motion and we can have forward motion. We can have 3 receivers in motion. We're 12 [players on offense] and we're on the big field, the Canadian field, but we're playing with four downs, so, it's like a mix of American and Canadian rules. The coverage is a little different. I just need to learn all the coverage, the plays and the technique."

Francis and his parents will return to State College on December 10 for Francis' official visit.

Click here to read LionNews' 9/24 article about Francis Claude.

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