French Connection

One week after a Florida State visit that he rated a "perfect 10" Reserve, La., safety Stefoin Francois is slated to visit a Tennessee program for which he's a perfect fit.

The four-star prospect is rated the nation's No. 8 safety and with a little seasoning he could step right into the free safety spot Jonathan Hefney vacates after the 2007 campaign. In the meantime, he could back-up both safety positions and become a mainstay in the nickel and dime packages.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound DB played cornerback in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and had a good showing, but his greatest value is as a sure stop safety. A four-year starter at 5-A East Saint John HIgh School, Francois recorded a remarkable 151 tackles (61 solos), with five sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries as a junior. In addition to his volume of tackles it's the violence with which he hits that distinguishes this standout.

"The first thing that jumps out at you is that he will be a four-year starter on a Class 5A team," said East St. John head coach Larry Dauterieve. "The kid has been in the line of fire. He has got great range and he will knock the snot out of you. When you see him on film he is always around the ball. And did I mention that he will knock your head off."

Although he is a force on the football field Stefoin Francois also has plenty of finesse including exceptional quickness and 4.50 speed in the 40. However he needs to continue to improve his catching skills to boost his INT totals.

Francois, who is being recruited by UT's Trooper Taylor, has narrowed his choices to Florida State, LSU, Arkansas and Tennessee. So what will he be looking for on his final recruiting visit.

"I'm looking to see how the other coaches are and meet some of the players," he said. "I am going to be looking to get a feel for the campus and what the school is all about."

What Vol coaches have to do is convince Francois that there's plenty of playing time on The Hill.

  "I really just want to play early," he said. "Whatever school looks like I'd have the best opportunity to do that is the school I'm going to choose."

That edict appears to give Tennessee a fighting chance for the French Connection.


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