Profile: Deondre Francois
Location: Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
No. 15 QB, No. 232 overall in Scout 300
Recruiting: Francois committed to Florida State over Auburn, Oregon and Notre Dame. He also held scholarship offers from teams like LSU, Clemson, Florida, Ohio State, North Carolina, Louisville, Nebraska, Penn State, UCF, Tennessee and others.What to like: There’s so much to like about Francois. This is an athletic quarterback that is a pocket passer first. He has excellent quickness in the pocket and shows the ability to extend plays with his running ability.
But don’t let his athleticism fool you. Sure, it’s something every quarterback wants to have, but he wants to be and can be a guy that beats you from the pocket first. Francois plays with poise and his eyes are always down field. He possesses above average arm strength. Francois is certainly a guy that can throw with a ton of velocity on the long sideline out pattern. He also shows the ability to spin it through tight windows. What I have noticed this spring and summer is that Francois is learning to throw at different speeds, depending on the pass needed. He’s accurate and throws a beautiful long ball. Francois is also beginning to throw with rhythm and timing, which is critical at the next level.
Francois is a good leader, who takes command in the huddle. He has solid mechanics and fundamentals at this stage of his career, those will only get better with the work he gets this coming year. Remember, Francois is now at the IMG Academy. His head coach is former Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback guru Chris Weinke, who happens to be one of the very best teachers in football.
What may be of concern: It’s the same as most signal callers at this stage, how ready is he for the big stage? How will he adapt to college football, the playbook and the speed at the next level? How steep will Francois’s learning curve be?
Francois doesn’t have great size. He’s closer to 6-1.5 than 6-2. That’s not that big of a deal nor would I be that concerned with his height. As a passer, I want to see him become more than just a fast ball pitcher. Like I said above, he has gotten better from what I have seen with the touch throws. But Francois has to naturally know when to zip it and when to throw the off-speed stuff.
Overall analysis: Once again FSU lands another outstanding signal caller. Remember, the Seminoles already have committed DeAndre Johnson (Jacksonville First Coast). Will they land both quarterbacks come national signing day?
Simply, I see Francois having the athletic ability and intellect to soon run his entire offense. Sure, Francois needs to clean up some areas of his game and needs experience, but there is no reason why he can’t excel for the Seminoles and be their guy. I see him as a good fit for that offense. In addition, the competition between he and Johnson should elevate both of their games.
Francois’s development this season will be very interesting to watch. He’s already the state’s top signal caller and now he’s learning from Weinke. Remember, Weinke is a guy that grooms quarterbacks as they enter the NFL draft, combine and their pro days. Francois should improve leaps and bounds under Weinke’s eye and I can already see a difference of Francois throwing from the spring to the summer. He transferred from Orlando Olympia to IMG in March.
What Weinke stresses to his students is making good decisions as a quarterback no matter the circumstance, whether it’s getting out of one play to another at the line of scrimmage or where to go with the football. He believes making good decisions is paramount to success of this position.
Another interesting facet to playing under Weinke is that you are going to learn an NFL playbook. This should greatly benefit Francois as he makes the transition from IMG to Florida State.
Finally, you can't argue with Jimbo Fisher's success when evaluating and developing college quarterbacks. Guys like Rohan Davey, JaMarcus Russell, Christian Ponder and now Jameis Winston have all thrived under Fisher.