The role of the quarterback of a football team is not an easy one. It seems the weight of the entire team rests on the shoulders of just one man. Facing the jump from high school to college and college to pro can be daunting and exciting all at the same time for up and coming players. So, taking on the role of starting quarterback as a freshman can show you how developed a player really is. While reviewing last year’s stats and game tapes, it is pretty undeniable that Deondre Francois deserved his spot as starting quarterback for Florida State University.
As practices began, in 2016, it was clear there was going to be some rivalry at the quarterback position. Sean Maguire, who had played the backup to the previous two quarterbacks, was looking for his moment to shine. Maguire played in the Clemson game back in 2014, while Jameis Winston was suspended, and for a short bit in the Rose bowl in 2015. In the 2015 season he played in eight games and was the starting quarterback in five of them. His most notable act was breaking his ankle in the Peach Bowl and coming back out to play the rest of the game, in its entirety, while injured.
Maguire was set to come back for his final season and battle it out with Francois for the starting position, but when he injured his foot during fall camp it left the position wide open for Francois. Francois was a threat all over the field. His accuracy and precision were on track, he had great instincts and he was able to run and throw.
As a redshirt freshman, Francois was named rookie of the year in the ACC conference, for 2016. Now, returning for his second season as starting quarterback for Florida State, does Francois have more to offer? How have his skills improved over the past year? Jimbo Fisher has made it clear that Deondre Francois will continue at the helm of his team. Making at least one preseason decision for Fisher an easy one.
Last year Francois was sacked 34 times. Though he continually got up and kept going, this is something that, as fans, we hope was corrected in the off season. Strengthening the offensive line, as well as getting rid of the ball a few seconds earlier, will be critical in getting the number of sacks to a reasonable amount for 2017.
Deondre Francois came to Florida State in 2015 and played in 2016 as a redshirt freshman. Everything was new, the plays, the coaches, his teammates. This year, he has a year of experience under his belt. This will surely make for a more calm and collected player, as well as giving him the time to work on his more technical skills. He already knows the plays, he has already been on the big stage. Now it is just about fine tuning the skills and ability that he already possesses.