Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Colleges

More milestones, fewer licks on Deondre Francois' Year 2 wish list (w/ video)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As much as Florida State redshirt sophomore Deondre Francois loved Saturdays last fall, he hated what the next day brought.

The ice tub. The pounding at Miami that left him feeling like he got hit by a bus. The lumps that came from playing quarterback on an offense that allowed 36 sacks — tied for 17th-most in the country.

"I didn't like Sundays, man," Francois said during Thursday's ACC kickoff.

If FSU plans to live up to preseason College Football Playoff expectations, Francois and the rest of the Seminoles will have to make sure their performances on Saturdays lead to less pain the next day.

As deep as the ACC is — and every league official at The Westin Charlotte is celebrating it as the country's best conference — it's no longer loaded at quarterback. Of the six ACC quarterbacks who had higher passer ratings than Francois last year, only reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson returns. That means Francois' experience gives the 'Noles an edge over Clemson and the rest of the league … if he stays healthy and upright.

Francois called his debut season bumpy, for good reason. His completion percentage (58.8 percent) was tied for 66th nationally. In four games against top-30 pass defenses, he was 61-of-120 with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

ACC MEDIA DAYS: Heisman jinx? Louisville's Lamar Jackson isn't fazed.

But coach Jimbo Fisher has another word for it: "Tremendous."

Francois led all freshmen with 3,350 passing yards (258 per game). He was tied for 18th nationally in yards per attempt. His touchdown/interception ratio (20/7) was 32nd in the country, just below second-round pick DeShone Kizer.

More importantly for Fisher, Francois shined in some of FSU's biggest moments. His offense led the country in the red zone and ranked 33rd in third downs. Fisher credits him with five fourth-quarter winning drives — it's not Francois' fault that the late defensive collapse to North Carolina negated his gritty, go-ahead touchdown run with 23 seconds left.

"He was great in all those scenarios," Fisher said. "That's what I'm so proud of. That's very rare for a freshman to be able to accomplish."

ACC MEDIA DAYS: Derwin James: 'I do think I'm the best player in the country'.

And that's perhaps the biggest reason why the Seminoles will likely be picked to win the ACC when its media days wrap up today. If Francois was that poised and successful despite taking a beating in his first year as a starter, what can he do with an extra year of seasoning?

"Every game I feel like I learned a lot," Francois said. "There were so many things I thought about the game that I didn't know."

Like how to be patient. How to remain focused. How to take hit after hit and get back up each time.

FSU has plans to correct that last problem and avoid dipping into the shallow quarterback depth chart of redshirt junior J.J. Cosentino and early enrollee Bailey Hockman. The offensive line should improve with Landon Dickerson returning from an ACL injury. Even with the loss of star running back Dalvin Cook to the NFL, a deep, talented backfield should lessen Francois' burden. And Francois has spent the offseason on moving in the pocket and keeping his eyes downfield to avoid blows.

"I'm going to push our offense to the limit and see how far we can go," Francois said.

Hopefully for Francois, that means more fun on Saturdays and fewer trips to the ice tub on Sundays.

Contact Matt Baker at [email protected] Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

Comments
ESPN: Antonio Callaway tested positive for marijuana at NFL combine

ESPN: Antonio Callaway tested positive for marijuana at NFL combine

Former Florida Gators receiver Antonio Callaway's off-field struggles continue.ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday evening that Callaway tested positive for marijuana at the NFL's scouting combine.Former Florida WR Antonio Callaway -- who some cons...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Florida Gators defensive lineman Cece Jefferson will be out four months after having surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week, according to a report Wednesday evening from the Gainesville Sun.Jefferson, a 6-foot-1, 242-pound senior, injured th...
Published: 04/18/18
Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Tuesday evening's news that quarterback Jake Allen plans to transfer from the Florida Gators isn't a surprise.Allen, a former three-star recruit in 2017, was fourth on the depth chart. The St. Thomas Aquinas product didn't seem to fit new coach ...
Published: 04/18/18
Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

When former Wharton High star Auden Tate hears his name called sometime next week, he'll join a surprisingly small group.Recent Florida State receivers drafted into the NFL.Over the past decade, only two Seminoles receivers have been drafted: Rashad ...
Published: 04/18/18
Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Tallahassee police suspected Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois possessed marijuana with the intent to sell it when they executed a search warrant on his home last week, according to an affidavit.The case — which culminated Thursda...
Published: 04/17/18
Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Even as Florida State was finishing its first recruiting class under Willie Taggart, the Seminoles were already talking about what they could do in the new staff's first full cycle, for 2019."I can only imagine having a year here to be able to recrui...
Published: 04/17/18
Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

TALLAHASSEE – Florida State running back Khalan Laborn's breakout 140-yard output in Saturday night's spring game was a sign of what could be for the former blue-chip recruit.It was also a reminder of what almost wasn't for the Seminoles.With a...
Published: 04/16/18
New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

Steve Spurrier will make one of his first appearances in his new role with the Alliance of American Football tomorrow in Orlando.The league will welcome Spurrier as the coach of its Orlando team at an event at Ember (42 W Central Blvd.) at an event f...
Published: 04/16/18
Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

TALLAHASSEE – Judging by the crowd for Florida State's spring game on Saturday, Seminoles fans are excited about the dawn of the Willie Taggart era.The official attendance of 53,974 — a new record for a spring game — inclu...
Published: 04/14/18
Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

GAINESVILLE —It took some time, but the offense scored points in bunches, much to the delight of the 53,015 in attendance at Florida's spring game.And the Gators had fun doing it, pulling out all the stops with gadgets and celebrations that bro...
Published: 04/14/18