FSU Football: 4 Reasons Deondre Francois Has Exceeded Expectations

fsu football

Oct 15, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) throws the ball during the game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

FSU football looks to be in good hands with redshirt freshman Deondre Francois leading the team. Here are four reasons he has exceeded expectations.

The FSU football season is already a failure in the eyes of many FSU fans with the ‘Noles at 5-2, and out of the ACC and national title picture.

Truth be told, FSU football would be in dire straights right now if Deondre Francois were not the starting quarterback.

The 5-2 record could easily be 3-4 if Francois were replaced with Sean Maguire or JJ Cosentino, and everything that has transpired this season held true.

Everything like poor offensive line play and a defense that looked like they didn’t have a playbook through the first five games.

However, the one constant has been Deondre Francois, even when Dalvin Cook didn’t look like Dalvin Cook the first three games of the season.

The kid is playing well beyond his years, and FSU football will be in good hands moving forward if he stays on his current trajectory.

Let’s take a look at the top four ways he has exceeded expectations.

Oct 8, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) waits to be interviewed after defeating the Miami Hurricanes 20-19 at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 8, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) waits to be interviewed after defeating the Miami Hurricanes 20-19 at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Leadership

Our very own Jason Parker wrote about how Deondre Francois has earned the respect of his teammates.

It all started in the first game of the season against Ole Miss where Francois stood in the pocket to deliver a TD pass to Travis Rudolph just before the first half ended.

That play ignited the FSU offense and they roared back in primetime to defeat Ole Miss after being down double digits at halftime.

That play was foreshadowing of things to come for Francois because he has been under constant pressure all season. He’s been sacked 19 times and been hit 50/11 other times.

I’m talking absolute crushing hits too for a guy that’s not that big to begin with.

Francois played the Wake Forest game injured, and led the team to a win. An ugly win, but a win nonetheless and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

fsu football

Sep 24, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) runs the ball for a touchdown in the second half against the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. Florida State Seminoles won 55-35. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Good Decisions

One of my biggest concerns with Francois going into this season was his decision-making. How would he react playing against a Ole Miss team at a neutral site in his first college game experience?

Would he play well in his first true road game at Louisville in just his third career start ever?

Could Francois make the appropriate checks and protection calls at the line of scrimmage? Would he stare down receivers in the passing game?

How much would he turn the ball over?

Overall, Francois has far exceeded my expectations here. He actually played well in the Louisville game during the first half, but the fumble exchange between he and Dalvin Cook was a huge play.

The rest of that game I just chalk up to not being FSU’s day.

Aside from the Louisville game, he’s done a solid job of not turning the ball over and making the appropriate calls.

I can only recall a handful of throws where I legitimately screamed at the TV like “where are you throwing that ball Deondre?”

Most of the sacks taken are a result of poor offensive line play or running backs not picking up blitzes. A few times he has held the ball too long, but overall no major concerns in that area.

Imagine if he had a solid offensive line to protect him?

fsu football

Oct 8, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) carries the ball during the first half against Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dual Threat

FSU football hasn’t had a dual threat quarterback in years. I wouldn’t say Francois is a true dual threat quarterback though.

Jimbo Fisher doesn’t use him the way Bobby Petrino uses Lamar Jackson, and they are two different players anyways.

However, Francois can get it done with his legs when the opportunities present themselves. Just look at the bootleg play against Miami that sealed the victory for the ‘Noles.

The biggest difference is, Francois is willing to use his legs, unlike EJ Manuel in his later years with FSU football.

We would like to see Fisher use that aspect of Francois’s game more, but recognize he didn’t early in the year because FSU didn’t have another option at quarterback (sorry JJ).

We may not see it too much in the latter part of the year, dependent upon how bad the shoulder injury Francois suffered against Miami really is.

Francois ability to run is a welcome site, and another dimension opposing defenses have to account for when facing FSU.

Oct 8, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) warms up before a game against Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 8, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) warms up before a game against Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Stats

Deondre Francois has completed 138 of 221 passes (62.4 percent) for 1,876 yards (268 ypg) with 10 TD’s and 3 interceptions through seven games.

He has rushed 67 times for 144 yards with three rushing touchdowns. Francois has fumbled a few times, but honestly he’s been walloped a few times and I couldn’t figure out how he DIDN’T fumble.

That’s not too shabby for a redshirt freshman not named Jameis Winston playing behind an offensive line that acts like a turnstile more times than not.

He’s on pace to throw for 3,000 yards in 12 regular season games, and should eclipse that total as the latter part of the schedule is less difficult than the first half.

Check this out:

He has accomplished all this playing against the second toughest schedule in the nation.

On top of that, the defense put him behind the eight ball in EVERY Power 5 game prior to Miami.

What I mean by that is the FSU defense gave up a TD to opposing offenses on their first possession in four straight games(excluding Charleston Southern).

The kid is playing beyond his years folks.

Oct 15, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA;  Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) leaps over Wake Forest Demon Deacons linebacker Thomas Brown (26) during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 15, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) leaps over Wake Forest Demon Deacons linebacker Thomas Brown (26) during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Conclusion

Is Deondre Francois the next Jameis Winston? Nope. Different players, different attributes and Francois does not have the level of talent around him that Winston enjoyed on offense OR defense.

However, if Francois can stay healthy he’ll have a chance to leave his imprint on FSU football over the course of the next two or three years.

There are some things he needs to work on to get better. He could certainly improve accuracy, throwing receivers open and his pocket awareness.

The latter could be falsely affected by the offensive line woes, and him thinking there’s pressure when there isn’t surprisingly.

Overall, I don’t think one could ask much more of Francois. He has play well, and played when this team needed him most.

If he comes out of the Ole Miss game after getting crushed, the comeback doesn’t happen. If he doesn’t come back into the Miami game after getting hurt, the comeback doesn’t happen.

The kid’s a winner folks and the future is bright if the protection can ever hold up.

This article originally appeared on

Play 2016 College Football Pick’em Fantasy Game