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#FSU QB Deondre Francois leaving for NFL? Headed to another school?

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Has 2018 starting quarterback Deondre Francois played his last game at FSU? Well, that depends on what you want to believe. This after a Wednesday afternoon report that Francois was considering: either declaring for the NFL Draft or at worst, transferring out of the program to play one more season somewhere else.

However, on Wednesday evening the Orlando Sentinel refuted reports that Francois had decided to leave FSU, no matter what, when he phoned a reporter from the paper. And, he said that he had not made up his mind on what he was doing yet.

Nothing like getting it straight from the player.

Francois quarterbacked the Noles for 11 games this past season, as Florida State had their worst season in over 40 years finishing 5-7 and missing a bowl game for the first time since 1981.

He had much more success as a redshirt freshman in 2016 for then Coach Jimbo Fisher, as Florida State won nine games,  and was victorious in the Orange Bowl over Michigan. Francois was named the MVP of the game.

That led FSU to being ranked in the preseason top 10 for 2017. However, it was short lived for them and Francois, as he was injured in the 2017 opener against Alabama. Tearing his patellar tendon, Francois was lost for the season with knee surgery.

Fisher went to true freshman James Blackman, who played well at times in Francois’ absence and the Seminoles ended up finishing 6-6 in the regular season. They eventually, won the Independence Bowl where Blackman played well throwing for over 300 yards and 3 TDS.

Fisher had left FSU by that time to take the Texas A&M job, and former Oregon and USF coach Willie Taggart took over installing a new offense. Francois was named the starter coming out of fall camp, but played erratically an inconsistently during lot of the early part of the season, as FSU struggled. It wasn’t entirely his fault, as the Seminoles offensive line was poor for most of the season in front of him, too.

As the losses were mounting up, we wrote at FSU should go back to Blackman, which they did, and even in defeat against NC State, he played well throwing for over 400 yards and four touchdowns.

Alas, FSU went back to Francois again, the following week, when he was healthier for the end of the season. Francois was poor in both losses to Notre Dame and Florida. He did throw for 300 yards and the game winning TD pass in the home win over Boston College.

Unlike the NBA and Major League Baseball drafts, if a player declares for the NFL past the deadline, he cannot return for college eligibility. Making his transfer possibility more interesting, Francois graduated this past weekend from Florida State. So, he would also have the opportunity to play immediately at another school as a graduate transfer.

Taggart told the the media at his early signing day news conference: 

“I know Deondre, he is just graduated, I applaud him for that, for accomplishing one of his dreams,” Taggart said. “And I know he’s weighing his options in regard to that. But we’re going to support Deondre whatever he decides to do. But that’s where we’re at with that.”

Now, we wait to see what he does.

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FSU and LSU announced two game neutral site series Tuesday

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In an effort to continue to beef up their out-of-conference schedules, FSU announced on Tuesday that they will play newly-crowned National Champion, LSU in two neutral site games coming soon in 2022 and 2023.

The Seminoles made the announcement through social media and their website that they will be playing the “Bayou Bengals” first in New Orleans and then, in Orlando:

Both teams will be given the benefit of essentially a “home-away-from-home neutral-site game” on Labor Day weekend. LSU considers New Orleans to be their second home and just won the College Football Playoff National Championship game over Clemson there on January 12.

The first game with the Noles will be on Saturday night September 4th, 2022.

FSU will, then play “hosts” in Orlando against the Tigers the following year on Saturday night September 3rd. The Noles recently played a season-opening game with Ole Miss, whom they defeated, at Camping World Stadium in 2016.

New Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell had this to say in the school statement about adding the games coming soon,

“I’m excited about this series,” head coach Mike Norvell said. “Florida State has a rich tradition in Louisiana, the home of many former Seminoles including Warrick Dunn and Travis Minor, and all three of our national championship teams had at least one player from Louisiana. It continues to be an important area for us now. We added two players from Louisiana in our first signing class, and it will be great for them and other future Noles to be able to play back in their home state.

This series matches two of the iconic brands in college football, and I know our fans will have a great time in New Orleans and Orlando. I want to thank our administration for all their hard work on this and for continuing to pursue first-class experiences for our student-athletes.”

These will be the 10th and 11th times that Florida State and LSU will meet. The Noles hold a 7 – 2 advantage, including winning four straight games in the series. It is the first time the two schools will have played since 1991.

Further, Florida State is 9 – 2 in their last 11 games opening a season on a neutral field. The Seminoles were to have played Boise State in Jacksonville last Labor Day weekend, but the threat of Hurricane Dorian moved the game to Tallahasse.

That’s where the Broncos upset the Seminoles and sent coach Willie Taggart into a second year spiral that resulted in his firing in November.

The Noles are also 8 – 2 all-time in games  at the Superdome with the most prominent one coming in the BCS Championship Game win over Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl.

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Deion tells Dan Patrick he’d consider coaching Hurricanes

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NFL Hall of Famer and former Seminoles All-American defensive back Deion Sanders is making the rounds for broadcast outlets at Super Bowl 54 in Miami,. And it’s not just his NFL Network duties that made some news on Tuesday. Rather, it’s an interview, where he expressed more desire for coaching college football and maybe, even in the city where he currently is working this week.

Sanders appeared on The Dan Patrick television – radio show Tuesday in advance of the 49ers and the Chiefs meeting for pro football’s title at Hard Rock stadium Sunday night.

And, while most of the interview centered around the NFL and the Super Bowl match-up, Patrick naturally turned to Deion’s desire to apparently be a head coach in college football and maybe, as soon as next year.

This subject came up after Sanders was apparently under consideration to possibly be the new head coach at FSU, when they fired Willie Taggart in early November. The school and AD David Coburn did confirm that they had a serious formal discussion with “Prime Time” about building a staff, etc.

That’s when Patrick turn the questioning to Sanders’ son and what might test his loyalty to FSU and possibly, coaching at a hated-rival like the University of Miami.

“What if ‘The U’ called?” Patrick asked.

“You know what is so funny, cuz I saw that when I was watching you on television (earlier in the day when Patrick said he would ask Sanders about Miami). My son is a phenomenal quarterback. My youngest son. He has a plethora of offers. We’re going to visit ‘The U’ on Saturday,” Sanders said.

“But would you coach the U?,” Patrick quickly asked again.

“You know what. You never know,” Sanders replied leaving the door open, like most do.

“Are you a ‘package deal’ with your son,” asked Patrick?

“I’ve never been a package deal with any-body,” Sanders shot back, which drew laughter from the studio audience at Patrick’s Super Bowl show site.

Now, the Hurricanes have obviously floundered for much of the 2010s, including 2019 with first-year coach Manny Diaz struggling mightily down the stretch of his first season. Miami lost it’s final two games to finish 6 – 6, and then, were shutout humiliatingly by Louisiana Tech 14 – 0 in the Independence Bowl.

Miami has swapped offensive coordinators after Diaz fired Dan Enos after just his first season. The Canes have hired former Auburn and SMU play-caller Rhett Lashlee to replace him. And, they secured Houston dual threat transfer QB D’Eriq King for this season.

Sanders was a two-time All-American at Florida State (1987, ’88), and won the Jim Thorpe Award during his final season playing for the Seminoles in 1988. He was selected in the first round of the 1989 draft by the Atlanta Falcons and played in the NFL through the 2005 season.

His elite level of play earned him inductions into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Sanders has been analyst for the NFL Network for the past 10 years and clearly has the desire to try something else.

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