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February 14, 2006Growing up, football was not exactly low priority in the Francis family.
The young Chris Francis, a senior-to-be outside linebacker in Cedar Hill, Texas still remembers what it was like having a father and an uncle who both played in the NFL. His father, James Francis, was an all-American at Baylor before heading to the pros.
Just days ago, when the first offer came to his house, Francis was still surprised to see which team started things off.
"Yeah, Baylor offered me, but I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting this," the younger Francis said. "Really, I hadn't received any letters or a ton of stuff from them. Then the offer just came."
"I didn't see this coming."
It's hard to believe that his father's alma mater didn't have the young son figuring things out about who might be first. Nonetheless, Francis believes that he has to do things on his own and nothing is going to just be handed to him.
He also feels the same way about favoring certain schools. His father, who speaks highly of Baylor, has also left the door open for his son to make the choice on his own.
"Well, he was excited about the offer and said it was great," Francis said with a laugh. "He kept joking with me that he knew it was going to happen. Now, he didn't say how he knew it, but he just acted that way.
"He's pretty open though. Just because my dad played there doesn't mean that it's the place to go."
Francis says that his father does talk quite a bit about the Bears.
"His brother went there, he went there, so of he'll try to get me there," Francis said. "There are a lot of possibilities out there though and he wants me to see all of them first."
Baylor is certainly not the only school sending him mail at this point. The Bears are joined by Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Indiana, Florida State, TCU, LSU, Missouri, and several others.
"Oklahoma State is coming on the strongest right now," Francis said. "They just send me more letters that are handwritten and personalized for me. They say that I'm one of the highest rated prospects in the state. I'm thinking to myself, man, they want me for real."
As he thinks about his first offer and what is yet to come, Francis can't help but laugh. It's hard for him to hide just how happy he is to be in the recruiting game this soon.
The next step for him is to increase his exposure with summer camps.
"I'm going to go to as many as I can," he said. "I need to get the dates from my coach. I've got the first offer, but I've still got work to do and I need to go out there to prove myself."