FCS: Deondre Francois gets second chance at Hampton

Deondre Francois was once the most coveted recruit in the nation. Now, his career is at a turning point, and he'll mount a comeback bid at Hampton.

The college football climate is forever changing. The latest trend for this past decade has been graduate transfers among Division 1 teams. While the NCAA is very inconsistent on undergraduate players transferring among FBS schools, players who have graduated with their bachelor’s degree will never have the NCAA step in their way (knock on wood). This is the case for former Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois, who graduated from Tallahassee with a degree in social science. On August 2, Dave Johnson of Daily Press announced that Deondre Francois has transferred to Hampton University; a historically black university that competes at the FCS level in the Big South Conference.

Deondre Francois was the best quarterback to play for the Seminoles since Jameis Winston was drafted number one overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. In 25 games as a starter, Francois threw for 6,291 yards and 36 touchdowns and rushed for 205 yards and eight touchdowns. Francois came to Tallahassee as the number one dual-threat quarterback recruit in the country and showed it off his freshman year; the ACC picked him to be Offensive Rookie of the Year and Rookie of the Year, and Francois lead the ‘Noles to a 10-3 record that included an Orange Bowl win over Michigan.

With a torn patellar tendon ending his 2017 season in the first game, Francois returned in 2018 to a new head coach in Willie Taggart, a new offensive scheme and a very, very bad offensive line. Florida State gave up 36 sacks last season, and that’s not even counting quarterback hits. If Francois can’t do anything else, he can throw a ball in the face of pressure.

So did any of these factors make Francois want to leave the ‘Noles? Maybe. Francois was dismissed from the team in February after a woman posted an Instagram video of a man and a woman getting into a physical altercation in which the woman told the man to stop hitting her in the face. The woman also posted that she lost a child and suffers from postpartum depression because of the abuse.

Whether those allegations remain true or not, the Tallahassee Police Department did not charge Francois with a crime after investigation. Nevertheless, Francois has already been at his new school for a few weeks, learning the playbook and interacting with his teammates, and they all rave about his leadership and his football prowess. The Pirates are incredibly grateful to have Francois on their team, and the starting job looks to be his to lose. Francois told 247 Sports that he was going to walk on to Florida Atlantic in May, but that situation did not work out.

When talented black quarterbacks don’t make it at FBS schools, sometimes HBCUs are their fall back options, and they end up making themselves and the team better. Let’s hope that this turns out to be the case for Mr. Francois.

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