Like Winston, Francois enters his redshirt freshman year with high expectations. Just a week ago, fifth-year senior Sean Maguire was the presumptive starting quarterback for FSU, but he suffered a foot injury that will sideline him against the Rebels. With Maguire out, many are expecting Francois to put together a strong debut performance against Ole Miss, and Seminoles' fans are also hinging FSU's shot at a national title on Francois success in 2016.
Francois is a six-foot-two, 205-pound dual threat QB who played his senior season of high school at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He was rated as the top dual-threat QB in the country by some services and was rated a top ten QB by Scout. Francois took a majority of the first-team snaps this past spring while Maguire recovered from an ankle injury. He put together a solid performance in FSU's spring game completing 20 of 33 passes for 246 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs, while rushing six times for 37 yards. Francois not only showed off his quick release and ability to move out of the pocket in pressure situations, but he also showed off his accuracy as a passer. He threw balls into tight spaces, had good touch on his deep balls and kept his offense moving.
Francois is a little similar to Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly. He has a gunslinger mentality and seems to be confident in his arm. Although he can certainly move the ball with his legs, he relies more on his passing skills. Ole Miss shouldn't have to worry too much about designed run plays for Francois considering the inexperience at QB and the risk of injury running the ball will pose for him. However, the Rebels need to keep an eye on Francois trying to escape the pocket at all times. Since he will be playing in his first college football game Ole Miss needs to focus on flustering the redshirt freshman early. If Rebels defenders can get a good pass rush, they may be able to force Francois to make errant throws resulting in interceptions. Another way Ole Miss can contain Francois is to stop FSU running back Dalvin Cook. If the Rebels can limit the Seminoles from running the ball FSU will have to rely on Francois to throw the ball. That is when Ole Miss can dial up some blitzes and take advantage of the rookie passer.
While Francois is inexperienced, so are key members of the Ole Miss defense. The Rebels will have new starters at linebacker, possibly free safety and rover. Francois will look to take advantage of that inexperience in his hometown of Orlando, but the Rebels will look to ruin his coming out party.