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FSU’s Deondre Francois: Heisman-level passing numbers in 2016?

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Not a misprint.

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Michigan vs Florida State Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

You read that right. Although Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois has often been (fairly) criticized for his inconsistency with regard to passing accuracy, it turns out that, as a redshirt freshman in 2016, he threw the ball about as well as Louisville’s Lamar Jackson— who won the Heisman Trophy last season.

At least he did when it really mattered. Check out these splits from those two QBs against teams from Power-Five conferences from last year— which do you think belong to the Heisman Trophy winner?

  • QB A: In 10 games, 169 completions in 299 attempts (56.5%) for 2,629 yards (8.8 yards per attempt). 18 TDs, 8 INTs.
  • QB B: In 11 games, 199 completions in 349 attempts (57%) for 2,919 yards (8.4 yards per attempt). 16 TDs, 6 INTs.

So, which is which? Moreover, does it even matter? The point is that Francois (QB B, by the way) posted passing numbers remarkably similar to that of the guy who won the top individual award in the country.

The real difference, of course, was that Jackson held a significant edge over Francois with regard to rushing yards. Against P5 teams, Jackson went for 1,357 yards on 212 carries, with 17 scores. Francois’ line: 92 carries, 124 yards, 4 TDs. FSU did run Francois— but it was constantly weighing the reward of using his legs in the open field vs. the risk of getting a quarterback hurt who was already taking too many shots behind the line of scrimmage. And that took place with an experienced Sean Maguire on the roster as a prospective backup for Francois. Now that Maguire is gone, and the backups to Francois are one QB who’s not impressed (J.J. Cosentino) and another who’s a true freshman (Bailey Hockman), will Francois be called on to run more? The opener against Alabama could provide some answers.