The next recruit we're going to profile has somewhat of a unique background in how he came to play football for Georgia Tech. Most guys on local football teams grew up somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, playing football from 6 years old, with parents who were just as amazed at teams' enormous stadiums and lucrative endorsements as they are with the teams' middle-of-the-road turf management programs. But I digress. No, our next recruit grew up overseas, and has a set of parents who really know what's in their son's best interest when looking to set himself up for success later on in life. Oh, and I'm currently talking of the one who played high school football locally, not the one who played "gridiron" in the southern hemisphere (more on him later). That's right, I'm talking about the 4-star DE Francis Kallon (pronounced "Kay-lon", I've learned). He stands at 6'5" and weighs in at 260lb. Kallon hails from London, England (by Lawrenceville, GA), and never played a down of football in his life until Central Gwinnett High School's spring practice last year.
Tech made what was considered by most a semi-foolish move in offering the kid before they ever saw him play a down of football outside of spring practice. However, it ended up being a brilliant move, winning us one of our two 4-star prospects in the class (welcome back to "Georgia Tech's incredible talent evaluation"). Kallon showed the fantastic overall athleticism that is required to be an effective defensive end, and ended up getting 15 scholarship offers from other institutions, including 7 ACC schools, Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee, Stanford, and serious interest from Notre Dame late in the recruiting process. There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding him in the last 2-3 weeks of his recruitment with other major teams swooping in, and even though he was already committed to us there was fear that he might flip. But we got his letter of intent on NSD, and are excited to have him on the Flats!
There's still some speculation as to how well a player can perform at the FBS level with only a year of experience, but here are the two reasons that I feel like Kallon won't have an issue:
1) He plays defensive end. Defensive end is really not a complicated position. Success is largely driven off of pure athleticism, where the guy who's most successful probably has the best combination of size, speed, and strength. Rarely will a defensive end do anything beyond try to tackle whoever currently has the ball, and when he does it's usually just keeping backside contain. He'll never play man coverage, he won't have to cover a zone, he won't have to make a whole lot of reads, all he has to do is use his big, muscular, athletic frame to get after the QB/ballcarrier and he can be a major force for us.
2) Having only played for a year, he hasn't had time to develop bad habits. As players progress through their careers at lower levels (middle/high school), they learn that they can get away with things that may be easier for them, but less effective for the team. However, for a kid who started playing a year ago, he's only had time to learn the right way to do things, and has not had the ability to develop a knack for doing things the wrong way. Especially with being such a high-caliber prospect, I'm sure his coaches paid quite a bit of attention to him as well, making sure he was fundamentally sound as much as possible.
Long story short, I think that Kallon will bring an awful lot to our team, especially with the struggles we've had with getting the appropriate personnel up front for our defense. Look for him to make a big impact on our team, sooner rather than later.