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Deondre Francois dismissed from FSU football team

The Seminoles' starting quarterback is out, a day after a social media post accused him of domestic violence.
Starter Deondre Francois is just the latest in a string of FSU quarterbacks to have off-the-field problems. [ MONICA HERNDON | Times ]
Starter Deondre Francois is just the latest in a string of FSU quarterbacks to have off-the-field problems. [ MONICA HERNDON | Times ]
Published Feb. 3, 2019
Updated Feb. 4, 2019

Florida State dismissed starting quarterback Deondre Francois from the team Saturday evening shortly after he was accused of domestic violence in an ugly social media post.

"Last night, I informed Deondre Francois that he is no longer a member of the Florida State football program," coach Willie Taggart said in a statement Sunday afternoon. "As we build a new culture and foundation for FSU Football, we have high expectations for all of our student-athletes and we will not shy away from those high standards of conduct. We are moving forward as a program."

And moving forward means moving on from Francois, the talented but troubled Orlando native.

The turning point apparently came Saturday night with an Instagram post that claimed to document a fight between Francois and his then-girlfriend. The video did not show the altercation or either individual, but it picked up the audio.

"Stop hitting me in my (expletive) face," a woman said in the post.

"I don't give a (expletive)…" the man responded. "I'm going to hit you in your face every (expletive) time. Throw something else."

The description of the post alleges that the woman had been in "a domestic situation" with Francois for two years. It's unclear when the video was shot, and it was deleted later Saturday evening.

It wasn't the first time Francois was accused of domestic violence. Last January, Tallahassee police investigated a dispute with his girlfriend, who told police she was pregnant. The woman accused Francois of picking her up, throwing her to the ground and cutting her arm "while trying to drag her out of the house," according to the police report.

Francois, who called the police, said the woman started the argument and was destroying things in the home. He told police he tried to carry her "like a hug" outside to prevent her from breaking anything else.

The Tallahassee Police Department closed the case without making an arrest because of "conflicting statements and no independent witnesses."

In April, Francois agreed to a pre-arrest diversion program after authorities found a cannabis/tobacco blend in his bedroom.

There were no Leon County court records online Sunday afternoon regarding Francois.

Francois took FSU's starting job in 2016, when he led all freshmen nationally with 3,350 passing yards. He completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions during that redshirt freshman season and led the 'Noles to the Orange Bowl.

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The former blue-chip recruit suffered a season-ending injury in the 2017 opener before regaining the starting job last year. His numbers (15 touchdowns, 12 interceptions) fell as FSU faltered to a 5-7 season — its worst since 1976.

Last month, Francois chose to return to FSU for a fifth season instead of pursuing a graduate transfer or entering the NFL draft.

Francois isn't the first FSU quarterback to have significant off-field trouble — a key reason why the 'Noles have little depth at the game's most important position.

From 2012-16, four of FSU's seven quarterback signees were either suspended or dismissed: Jameis Winston, who was accused but never arrested after a sexual assault investigation, earned a one-game suspension for vulgar comments in 2014; De'Andre Johnson was booted from the program after punching a woman at a bar; and blue-chip recruit Malik Henry was suspended for violating team rules in 2016 (he later transferred).

Contact Matt Baker at Follow @MBakerTBTimes.