Months after contemplating his future, former Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois will walk-on with the FAU Owls. According to a report from 247 Sports, Francois will attempt to enroll at FAU as soon as possible to begin the process of officially joining Lane Kiffin and the Owls.
Francois was dismissed by Florida State in February by head coach Willie Taggart, with the second-year head coach of the Seminoles attempting to improve the culture of his latest football program. Francois has been cleared of a domestic assault accusation in Jan. 2018, and he had previously had a legal issue involving suspected possession of marijuana. A video shared by Francois’s girlfriend showed a man threatening her, with the man said to have been Francois One day after being dismissed by Florida State, Francois was officially entered in the NCAA transfer portal to begin weighing his options for his future.
Kiffin is no stranger to giving players another chance to play FBS football. He has been making a habit of it during his brief time in Boca Raton with the Owls. Kiffin has welcomed players from troubled pasts to build his depth on the roster, including former Oklahoma quarterback Chris Robison and a number of players who appeared in the Netflix documentary “Last Chance U.” Kiffin has been actively adding players via transfers on top of his normal recruiting efforts and the plan has worked with a Conference USA title in 2017 and a team seemingly capable of making another run to the conference title in 2019.
That is why it may seem odd that Kiffin took a bit of a jab at the transfer portal earlier in the offseason, calling it a “sexy thing to do” for players. As it turns out, however, Kiffin may have just landed another potential starting quarterback through the transfer portal.
Francois played in 11 games for Florida State in 2018, passing for 2,731 yards and 15 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
Few positions in football are as important as the quarterback position. Because of that, going two full recruiting cycles without signing a quarterback to a scholarship will tend to raise some questions. Florida State missed out on one target at quarterback on Wednesday, but head coach Willie Taggart isn’t pressing any panic buttons just yet. He’s also not about to open up about what’s next for the Seminoles at the quarterback position.
“We have a plan, I think a pretty good plan,” Taggart said when addressing the media on Wednesday, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
What is that plan, exactly? We’ll have to keep guessing because Taggart isn’t saying.
“I don’t necessarily want to discuss it right now,” Taggart said, perhaps frustrating some wanting to hear the head coach of Florida State wanting to provide some comfort about the position moving forward.
Florida State likely had their plan at quarterback initially foiled when four-star dual-threat quarterback Lance Legendre announced his commitment to Maryland. Florida State had long been expected to be in the lead for his commitment, so losing a talented dual-threat option to Maryland was a tough blow on signing day. This was just days after Florida State dismissed Deondre Francois from the program and there was not a backup option lined up at quarterback in the Class of 2019 for signing day.
Taggart did say he didn’t want to discuss the plan now, and that could be because he cannot get into too many specifics. That could be because he cannot comment on players who are not signed by the school, so JUCO and transfer options are unable to be discussed publicly. So are other potential recruits still out there to be signed.
For the upcoming season, Florida State still has James Blackman to rely on running the offense. Depth is the primary concern right now, especially if Blackman happens to struggle or gets hurt. Florida State has some serious concern about the position in the immediate future, and two straight recruiting classes means Florida State has to go big on the recruiting trail for a quarterback in the Class of 2020. As of this moment, Florida State currently has a verbal commitment from three-star pro-style quarterback Jeff Sims of Jacksonville in the Class of 2020. Expect Taggart and his staff to continue to search for a quarterback for the next recruiting cycle.
On Saturday, Florida State dismissed quarterback Deondre Francois from the football program after a video of him allegedly abusing his girlfriend was shared by the woman in an Instagram post. Now, as Francois begins searching for a new program to call home, the woman says the videos she shared were meant to intimidate Francois and “made to look like something it wasn’t.”
“I want to first start by apologizing to Deondre and his family for ultimately diminishing his character,” a long statement from Diamond Lindsey said on Instagram opened, as relayed by Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times on Twitter. “I should never have posted a video from our past situations that were already handled. The motive of the video was to scare him not to ruin anything he had going for [himself]. The sounds you hear in the video are me throwing things and hitting him. I should never have made it seem like he was hitting me. The video was made to look like something it wasn’t.”
“Deondre has never struck me with his hand or fist,” the woman continued in her statement on Instagram. “he has never bruised me, but has abused me verbally. If it was actually serious I would have took legal action instead of making a Instagram post. I just wanted closure and attention from him after we broke up but I couldn’t get it from him. The only way to get his attention was through Instagram and spiteful actions.”
Earlier on Monday, Francois reportedly entered his name to the NCAA transfer portal as he begins the search for a new place to play college football. Florida State head coach Willie Taggart informed Francois of his dismissal from the program on Saturday. The timing was not coincidental, as the video shared by Lindsey was reportedly shared earlier that day.
“I feel terrible and I know a lot of people are hurt by this but I know he will bounce back from this and continue following his dream,” Lindsey said to close out her statement.
What does this mean for Francois? At this point, the damage may already have been done with no turning back now. Taggart addressed a certain standard for the culture of the football program following the dismissal of Francois, who had some questions prior to this situation. Given this statement as a possible defense of Francois, Taggart could welcome Francois back to the program as Francois entering his name in the NCAA transfer portal does not mean he is necessarily gone for good.
Before anything else though, it may be best to make sure what details in this story are legitimate and given the circumstances that would best be left in the hands outside the football program. Either way, it is a messy situation and everybody needs to be sure they are on the same page regardless of the outcome. And that’s just assuming there is a scenario in play that brings Francois back to the Seminoles football program.
File this one under expected news headlines. After being dismissed by the Florida State football program over the weekend, quarterback Deondre Francois has reportedly entered his name into the NCAA’s transfer portal.
Francois was dismissed by Florida State on Saturday, a day after video of an alleged act of domestic violence by Francois was shared by his girlfriend on Instagram. No longer able to rely on playing at Florida State, Francois will hope to be able to find a program ready to open the doors for him within their program amid this controversial exit from the Seminoles. Of course, Francois has more red flags with his off-field issues beyond this latest question mark.
By having his name in the transfer portal, Francois can now explore all of his potential transfer options before committing to a new destination. He could also choose to pull his name from the transfer portal and remain at Florida State, where he remains enrolled.
Francois played in 11 games for Florida State last season, passing for 2,731 yards and 15 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. He has already played three seasons of college football and has two years to play one more season before his NCAA eligibility runs out. Francois would have to sit out the 2019 season if he does transfer to another FBS program. He would be eligible this fall if he transfers to a lower-division program.
No. 2 Clemson (8-0, 5-0 ACC) is starting to have that look again. The Tigers were challenged early against Florida State (4-4, 2-4 ACC) in a scoreless first quarter, but Clemson woke up after that and left no doubt about how good they are. Clemson’s 59-10 victory over Florida State was the biggest margin for victory by the Tigers in the history of the series. It was so lopsided, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had the luxury of inserting backup players in the third quarter.
Trevor Lawrence passed for 314 yards and four touchdowns before getting the entire fourth quarter off. Lawrence had a rough start to the game as it took time for he and the rest of the Clemson offense to get comfortable against a feisty start by the Florida State defense, but once the big plays started coming together, there was no looking back. Tee Higgins caught two touchdown passes inside the red zone to help get the Tigers on their roll, and Amari Rodgers pulled in two touchdown catches to go with his 156 receiving yards.
Clemson’s defense made life difficult for Florida State all afternoon. The Seminoles had a team total of -21 rushing yards and the team combined for 253 yards of offense in the game. Meanwhile, Clemson racked up more than double that with 523 yards, including 404 through the air. Florida State was also penalized 16 times for 140 yards, and two turnovers led to Clemson points when the game was still relatively up for grabs. For as uch progress as Florida State seemed to be making in recent weeks, all of that went out the window against Clemson.
Clemson’s 49-point victory is the largest margin for victory by Clemson in the all-time series against Florida State, and the second-most lopsided victory by either team in the series. Florida State defeated Clemson 57-0 in 1993 and 48-0 in 1998. Florida State also had a 47-point victory over the Tigers in 2000.
Next up for Clemson is a home game against Louisville. The Cardinals have been struggling mightily this season, which seems to suggest there should be another comfortable Clemson win on the horizon. Three of the final four games Clemson plays will come at home, with the only road trip remaining coming up in two weeks at Boston College. The fate of the division could come down to that game.
Florida State plays their next two games on the road, first at NC State next week and then at Notre Dame after that. The margin for error to get to a bowl game is beginning to get razor thin for the Seminoles. Florida State needs two wins in their final four games in order to go bowling. The two home games remaining will be played against Boston College and Florida.