La Salle Academy (R.I.) quarterback Anthony Francis told ESPNBoston.com tonight that he has verbally committed to Marist College for the 2013 season.
"I went up [to Marist] this past Thursday and Friday," Francis said. "I really made my decision Monday. I talked to some other coaches at other schools as well, compared where they all stand. I just got good a vibe there."
Francis was the Rhode Island's Gatorade Player of the Year for 2012, going for over 3,200 yards of offense and 37 touchdowns as the Rams went 10-2, getting knocked out of the RIIL playoffs by rival Bishop Hendricken. Francis caught many an eye in southeastern Massachusetts when the Rams took a visit from Bridgewater-Raynham in October and promptly dropped them 41-24; in that game, Francis accounted for 347 yards of offense and three scores.
Monmouth University was the other Division 1 FCS school offering a scholarship to Francis. He also received interest from Coastal Carolina, Yale, Penn, and a handful of Northeast-10 schools -- two of them, Bentley and Assumption, extending an offer.
Also playing a significant factor in Francis' decision was the Foxes' commitment going forward to a no-huddle, spread offense predicated on zone reads and quick, short passes. The Rams ran with similar spread principles under Francis, utilizing three and four-receiver sets to spread the field and led Francis command the offense.
"They think I can actually go in and compete, especially because the starter there now is getting labrum surgery in his arm," Francis said. "They think he’ll be back, but it's an eight-month recovery so I want go in there and compete whether or not I get the job. If I don't start I can at least push guys to get better. I really want to go in there and compete."
Francis is expected to sign a National Letter of Intent next Wednesday, Feb. 6, alongside his close friend and running back Josh Morris, the state's Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011. Morris will be signing with Brown.
The two consulted each other a lot before making each of their own decisions. Morris committed to the Bears this past Christmas Eve.
"It feels great, we both talk about it a lot," Francis said. "I talked to him all Sunday night, he thinks it's a good fit for me."