Ex-Florida State QB Deondre Francois reportedly transferring to Florida Atlantic

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Deondre Francois was dismissed by Florida State in February after disturbing video surfaced. He now plans to walk on at Florida Atlantic. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
Deondre Francois was dismissed by Florida State in February after disturbing video surfaced. He now plans to walk on at Florida Atlantic. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

Deondre Francois has apparently found a landing spot.

Francois, a two-year starter at quarterback for Florida State, was dismissed by FSU in February after his girlfriend posted disturbing video of a man and a woman fighting. In the video, the man, purportedly Francois, threatens to assault the woman and hit her in the face. Francois, who faced previous legal trouble during his time in Tallahassee, was booted from the FSU program a day after the video surfaced.

Three months later, Francois has found a new college football program to play for. Francois told 247Sports.com that he will join the Florida Atlantic roster as a walk-on to play under Lane Kiffin. He said he takes “full responsibility” for “everything that happened” and is grateful for the chance FAU is providing.

“I put myself in a terrible situation,” Francois told 247Sports. “I’ve learned from it. I take full responsibility of everything that happened. I take full responsibility for my actions. I just want to learn from it and grow from it. That won’t happen again. This has impacted my life far more than anyone can imagine. It helped me grow as a man and I’m ready to embark on new beginnings.”

Francois plagued by off-field issues at Florida State

Francois emerged as Florida State’s starting quarterback as a redshirt freshman in 2016 and posted a strong season. He suffered a serious knee injury in the first game of the 2017 campaign, but was able to return as the Seminoles’ top quarterback in 2018, the program’s first season under Willie Taggart.

Along the way, Francois was plagued by off-field issues. In January 2018, Francois was investigated for domestic violence. Police responded to an incident involving Francois and a woman who said she was pregnant with Francois’ child.

The woman told police that Francois broke down the door to her bedroom, picked her up, threw her to the ground and tried to remove her from the house. Francois had a different account. He said the woman, who he identified as his girlfriend, brought up an old argument and began breaking things in his apartment. He said he tried to pick her up by wrapping his arms around her “like a hug” to stop her from causing damage and to remove her from the house.

When speaking with police, the woman said she did not want to press charges. Due to the conflicting statements and a lack of witnesses, no arrests were made and the case was closed.

Later that year, in April, police believed Francois was selling marijuana and obtained a search warrant for his apartment. Francois was subsequently given a citation but not charged criminally.

All the while, Francois remained on the roster and was able to win the starting job during fall camp. The 2018 season was a struggle for FSU. The team went 5-7, its first losing record since 1976, and missed a bowl game for the first time since 1981. Francois threw for 2,731 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Where does Francois fit at Florida Atlantic?

If the transfer comes to fruition, Francois could quickly become the favorite to start at Florida Atlantic, where he will reportedly have two years of eligibility remaining, beginning in 2019 (Francois graduated from FSU).

Chris Robison, FAU’s starting quarterback last year, is currently suspended from the program due to a sexual assault accusation. Robison, who landed at FAU after being dismissed by Oklahoma, did not participate in spring practice.

FAU also has Indiana transfer Nick Tronti, junior college transfer Justin Agner and redshirt freshman Cordel Littlejohn on the depth chart at quarterback.

The Owls went 5-7 in 2018, Kiffin’s second season as head coach. In Kiffin’s first year with the program after leaving Alabama, FAU had its best season, winning 11 games, including the Conference USA title and the Boca Raton Bowl.

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