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It started on Twitter, as most football-recruiting relationships do.
Allatoona (Acworth, Ga.) DE Royce Francis and Michigan State receivers coach Terrence Samuel got to know each other — as much as two people can — through direct messages. Francis passed along his transcript and film and waited to see what the Spartans thought.
“[Samuel] sent my film to the defensive coaches and they really, really liked me,” said Francis, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound junior who has yet to receive a rating from 247Sports. “So he said, ‘All we need to do is see you in person, and we’ll make this happen.’ And I was like, ‘Wow. This is awesome.'”
So it sounded to Francis like an offer might be on its way. It would be the first one for him, and what a way to kick things off. But he didn’t have it yet, so he didn’t allow his hopes to get too high.
Then Samuel came to his school on Tuesday. After finishing up a workout, Francis walked into a classroom where Samuel was sitting with Allatoona recruiting coordinator Mike Dennison.
“He was talking about how he loves the way I play and the motor that I have,” Francis said of Samuel. “He thinks I’d have a great career there, so he offered me a scholarship to play.
“I was euphoric. I was ecstatic. It was awesome news to hear.”
— Royce Francis (@francis_royc) April 25, 2017
Francis has wanted to play college football since he was 10 years old, and now he’ll have that chance. The Spartans were quickly followed by an Austin Peay offer. Georgia Tech and Wake Forest could be close, as well.
Multiple family friends who attended Michigan State have reached out to Francis and told him all that they love about the school. He has been impressed by the pride and investment in Michigan State shown by alumni.
But not everything has come secondhand. He’s done research on MSU and come to his own conclusions.
“I really love the tradition there,” he said of Michigan State. “They’ve been really good for a long time. They had a down year last year, but they were really good the year before. They won the Big Ten; I know that.”
“Every alumnus from Michigan State has nothing but good things to say about them,” he continued, “so I think really highly of the program.”
Francis would likely be a defensive end at Michigan State, or wherever he chooses, with the possibility of moving inside as he gets bigger. He plans to visit MSU “during the summer” and will look to make a final decision before the start of his senior year.
Ultimately, Francis wants to go to a “good school” that plays “good football.” Pretty simple. And now that he has his first offer, finding that fit looks more possible than ever.
“It fuels me as a person, more than just a football player,” he said of the Michigan State offer, “because this elite program believes in me as a player that I can play there and have a great career there. It really just encouraged me a ton and gave me confidence in myself and who I am as a player, as well.”
Spartans offer another defensive end
The way Michigan State keeps extending 2018 offers, it might end up being a race to see who can fill the spots … particularly on the defensive line. On Friday, the Spartans offered yet another D-lineman in Berkeley (Tampa, Fla.) junior Mayan Ahanotu. Rated a 3-star prospect by the 247Sports composite, Ahanotu has put together an impressive list of offers.
— Mayan Ahanotu (@MAhanotu) April 28, 2017
Arizona, Cal, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Maryland and Minnesota are only a few who have jumped in the race for the 6-foot-4, 250-pound standout. Add the Spartans to the list.