NGSC Sports

The Story of Francisco Llanos

The road to make it to the NFL is never easy and for wide receiver Francisco Llanos, it is no exception.

Llanos started his college career at Southern Mississippi University and the receiver played there three seasons until tragedy struck. Prior to his senior season for the Eagles, Llanos tore his ACL. He was unable to get another year of eligibility at the FBS level, so Llanos transferred to Division II Lindenwood.

After a solid senior season, Llanos was selected to play in the inaugural FCS National Bowl on Dec.7 in Miami, Fla. Before this weekend’s all-star game, I spoke to the receiver about his past, present and future.

Me: Did you always dream of becoming an NFL Football Player?

Llanos: That’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid growing up In Puerto Rico but it wasn’t until my sophomore year at Southern Miss where I truly felt if I got better over the next few years I could play in the NFL. During that time is when I became really comfortable with division 1 football and I was making plays on a consistent basis.

Who were your role models growing up?

Chad Johnson and Chris Carter. Chad Johnson is a master in his route running, being able to get in and out of breaks and stop on a dime and that’s something I took pride in early in my career and Chris carter, just because of the crazy catches he use to make. I’ve made a few myself.

What led to you walking on to Southern Miss? Could you describe your high school career?

My high school position coach, Hansford Johnson played college football (WR) for MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University) and his coach was Larry Fedora who was than the Southern Miss head coach (at the time). I just wanted to go somewhere I would have a chance to earn a scholarship and playing time. Hansford had nothing but great things to say about fedora so it was a no brainier. My high school career was a great experience. We ran the triple option so I didn’t get allot of opportunities to really have an impact to get colleges interested but I knew I could play at the level and took a chance and walk-on.

What was behind the reason why you transferred from Southern Miss?

I tore my ACL in fall camp heading into my senior year and didn’t get a medical redshirt, because I graduated from there in my 9th semester I was able to play one year at a Division II school. In D2 you get 10 semesters to play 4 years, so basically you can say I got lucky because if I wouldn’t have graduated when I did, I wouldn’t have been able to play.

What made you choose Lindenwood?

Patrick Ross the head coach and Derek Stanley my position coach who played 3 years for the Rams. Coach Ross was a great head coach and we became really close during the recruiting process. The fact that Stanley played in the NFL really sold me because I wanted to learn from somebody who’s actually been where I’m trying to get too.

By the film that I’ve seen of you, you’re an excellent route runner. How did you become so skill at the craft?

My position coach in high school, Hansford Johnson. He was real big on route running and technique so it was something I really was good at when I left Chamberlain High-school. Hansford has taught me everything I know!

Who was the toughest player you lined up against at the college level?

Jamie Collins who plays (linebacker) for the Patriots and Deron Wilson who was a cornerback for us at Southern Miss. Those guys always brought the best out of me in practice.

What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?

Biggest strengths are my route running, catching the football away from my body and just being able to recognize defenses and converges on the move. My weakness is definitely my size and being able to take on blocks. I also feel I can improve my overall speed as well.

What are you hoping to accomplish during this All-Star games you will play in?

Just want to go out there and show scouts that I can play this game at a high level. I want to continue to prove people wrong.

What are the qualities you will bring to an NFL Roster?

Hard work! I’m always the first one there and the last one to leave. I will do anything and everything to help that team win!

What is the first thing you would buy once you made an NFL team?

The first thing I would buy would be a house in Puerto Rico for my family.


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