February 2, 2012

Khris Francis takes off with opportunity

Durham (N.C.) Hillside running back Khris Francis was a part of a state championship team as a sophomore, but didn't play a ton with two 1,000 yard rushers ahead of him on the depth chart. However, after both players - Brandon China (Shaw University) and Jamaal Williams (Naval Academy) - left for college, Francis was in line for the majority of work in Hillside's ultra-successful backfield this past fall.

Once given the opportunity, the junior thrived - he ran for 2,251 yards and also scored 32 touchdowns.

"I feel like I had a pretty good year," the 5-foot-9, 190-pounder said. "I had 2,251 yards; my goal was to reach 2,000, so I was able to reach that. I didn't really have a touchdown goal, but I had 32 touchdowns. I think I averaged about 150 yards per game, so that was a big accomplishment for me.

"I got an opportunity, that was all I needed. I think just being able to carry the ball more helped me, it helped my experience because I was playing, I didn't get that much playing time during my freshman and sophomore years."

Although Francis is not the biggest back around, he runs hard and is tough enough to get the job done between the tackles, but he also possesses plenty of speed. Francis has been timed as fast as 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

"I think I have good vision and I'm very elusive, which allows me to maneuver between people," he said of his biggest strengths as a ball carrier.

Francis has not earned any offers yet on the recruiting trail, but is hearing from the likes of Syracuse, North Carolina, NC State, Penn State and Duke, among others. He admits to growing up as a Miami fan and said that Oregon has also caught his attention as a fan, for both obvious and not-so-obvious reasons.

"I'm a Miami fan, I love the Miami Hurricanes," he said. "I don't know what it is; may be it was just the colors. Of course, I like Oregon now, but, growing up, I always liked Miami. Oregon's uniforms are awesome and they also have a good architecture program, which I've looked into, so that's another plus. I want to major in architecture or engineering.

"I'm looking for a program with a good atmosphere. I want a good relationship with the head coach and, of course, my position coach. That's a plus for Syracuse, I've really been in contract with the Syracuse running backs coach and the recruiting coordinator for Carolina in our area. I'm very close with those two, so that's a plus for them. I haven't been in touch with the new Carolina staff too much, but I'm close with Marcus Berry, he's still there."

Although Syracuse and UNC appear to be in good shape with the speedy back, he mentioned a foursome of schools when asked who he liked this early in the process.

"NC State, Carolina, Penn State and Syracuse; I like to hear from all of those schools," he said.

Francis attended an NC State game last season, and he attended the Wolfpack's junior day on Jan. 21. He has also seen the campus of Penn State, Duke and North Carolina. He plans to get out this summer to several colleges' camps, which will allow him to see even more schools.

"I'm not sure about camps yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll hit up as many camps as I can," he said.

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