A.J. Francis

DT, DE · Maryland
Although he was only a part-time starter last season, Francis might be the linchpin to Maryland's transition to a 3-4 defense in 2012. The big 305-pounder is expected to command the nose tackle spot in the middle of new defensive coordinator Brian Stewart's scheme, a not-so-easy task. After committing to the Terrapins as a high school junior, Francis started 10 games as a redshirt freshman, followed by his best season in 2010 as a sophomore, recording 44 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He was in and out of the line-up last season as a junior, making only four starts and finishing 13th on the team in tackles. However, Francis is expected to become a more integral part of the Maryland defense in 2012. The coaches admitted that he wasn't used correctly last season, asking him to do things that weren't his strengths. Francis went as far as to say during spring practices that he felt the last three months were so much better than the previous 15 because of the cohesion and design of the defense. Whether or not the change in formations will help his draft stock, Francis is definitely an underrated player to watch in 2012.

One of the top players in the District of Columbia as a senior

a three-year starter at defensive tackle and a two-year starter at offensive tackle

the No. 4-ranked player in Washington D.C. by Rivals.com as a senior when he posted 61 tackles, including 26 for loss and 4.5 sacks

also had 71 pancake blocks

rated No. 68 nationally among defensive tackles by Rivals.com

labeled a three-star recruit by Rivals.com

also ranked No. 82 nationally among offensive guards by Scouts.com

a 2007 first-team All-WCAC selection along the defensive line

also named first-team All-Met and first-team All-Pigskin Club

played in the 2007 U.S. Army All-American Bowl

an honorable mention All-Met choice as a junior when he racked up 71 tackles, including 4.5 sacks

also had 60 pancakes blocks as an offensive tackle

also considered Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, UCLA, Florida State Virginia and BC

coached by Kenny Lucas (first three years) and Joe Reyda (senior year).

Born in Washington, D.C.

full name is Anthony Joseph Francis

parents are Michael and Carrie Francis

has one younger sister, Julia

enjoys writing poetry and music

took part in the high school's spring musical each year

volunteered with S.O.M.E (So Others May Eat), which fed homeless people in Washington, D.C.

had a long commute during high school, traveling nearly 30 miles one way

recipient of the LeFrak Scholarship

earned his degree in government and politics in Dec. 2011.

Physical Attributes:

Proj Rd: High
Height: 6-5
Weight: 309.0
Forty: 5.19
Arm: 33 1/2
Hand: 09 5/8
Wingspan: --

Pro Day Results:

Cone: 7.45
Bench: 24.0
Shuttle: 4.58
10: 1.78
20: 3.04
40: 5.19
BJ: 09'04"
VJ: 29.0

Combine Results:

Cone: --
Bench: --
Shuttle: --
10: --
20: --
40: --
BJ: --
VJ: --