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Florida State Seminoles

Noles land big commitment from high school star QB

Florida Football Insiders

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Willie Taggart era hasn’t officially started with a Spring game in Tallahassee yet, but he continues to get “wins.”

The Noles got a big verbal commitment from four-star North Carolina quarterback prospect Sam Howell for the class of 2019. Howell  made his intentions known on social media Monday night:

After not getting a QB in the 2018 class this is a big verbal for the Noles.

Howell attends High School in Monroe, North Carolina, and is ranked the No. 4 pro-style passer in the country for 2019. Howell is also ranked the No. 4 overall player in that state and the 152nd best prospect, no matter what position in the nation.

While he is a pro-style quarterback, he has mobility for those pondering on how he may fit the new scheme.
He rushed for 1,594 yards on 230 carries with 24 touchdowns as a junior. He threw for 3,372 yards with 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 225 attempts.

He had offers from nearly every major college football program in the country, including Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, and Oregon.

The recruiting job by new OC Walt Bell was a significant factor in this commitment. Bell has been recruiting Howell since his time at Maryland, and that relationship mended over to FSU leading to the verbal commitment.

Howell said previously, “We have a really good relationship. I know he’s very passionate about his quarterbacks. I know outside of football he cares for his quarterbacks like they’re his own kids. That’s also something that’s very important to me.”

He’s currently the only quarterback currently committed to FSU for 2019, although the Seminoles could be looking to land another. The Noles would also have last year’s true freshman starter for most of the season, James Blackman for this year and next year.

For now, this is a big get for Florida State heading into the Spring game Saturday.

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Florida State Seminoles

Noles will open 2019 season in Jacksonville against Boise State

Florida Football Insiders

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

We knew that Florida State would be opening their 2019 season with Boise State, as part of a “home and home” agreement. However, we now know that the game will not be played at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, but rather, at the newly renamed TIAA Bank Stadium in Jacksonville.

The Boise State website released the date (August 31st, 2019) and the location on Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Florida Times-Union website has more on the game:

As the article indicates, the Jacksonville Sports Council or “JaxSports” had intended to make the announcement on Wednesday about the game coming to North Florida, but they were scooped on their scoop by the Broncos.

This will be FSU’s first regular season appearance at the stadium, the 2008 season, when Bobby Bowden’s Noles defeated Colorado 39-21. Coincidentally, Bowden coached his final game of his career at Florida State in the “Gator Bowl” game in that stadium on New Year’s Day 2010, as the Seminoles defeated his former school, West Virginia.

FSU led by QB E.J. Manuel, won that day 33-21 over the Mountaineers, which finished Bowden’s career with 389 wins, the Division I all time record for coaches.

The 2019 opener will be part of the college football kickoff weekend and will be nationally televised by one of ESPN’s networks. This is part of a recent trend by the network to pay heavily to powerhouse programs to play each other that first weekend in “made for TV” match-ups.

Florida State played in such a game on Labor Day night last year in Atlanta, where Alabama defeated them in the “Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic” game at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium. Both preseaon top five teams, The Tide stuffed FSU 24-7, and the Noles lost QB Deondre Francois to a season ending knee injury in the fourth quarter.

Longtime Florida State fans have a negative memory in Jacksonville, as the Seminoles were shocked in the opening game of the 1989 season as the preseason #6 team. That opening day, a little known (at the time) QB by the name of Brett Favre led Southern Miss to a 30-26 upset that put him on the radar for the first time and he eventually went on to a Hall of Fame NFL career.

This 2019 game with Boise State is for now set for that Saturday, but could be moved to Sunday or Monday, if ESPN desires at a later date.

Boise is no stranger to opening weekend “made for TV” upsets, as they stunned Georgia in “home away from home” game Atlanta in September of 2011.

The Noles are scheduled to return the home game to the Broncos the following year (2020), but that could be negotiated to another location. This is especially, since FSU moved their game out of their home stadium.

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Florida State Seminoles

Deondre Francois may be a slight weed head, but he’s no criminal

Ari Russell

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(USA Today - Melina Myers)

If you haven’t heard the recent story surrounding FSU QB Deondre Francois regarding his most recent brush up with the local law enforcement in Tallahassee you clearly have been living under a rock. Francois was recently cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession, but is going to have a clean record because he’s participating in a diversion program.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, there is indeed more to this story:

Deondre Francois became the subject of a two-month drug investigation after Tallahassee police received a tip and believed the Florida State quarterback possessed marijuana with the intent to sell, according to a search warrant obtained by the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday.

The anonymous male tipster, who was inside Francois’s apartment in late February, said he saw a large paper grocery-type bag full of cannabis, which TPD estimated at about two pounds, present during a drug-related crime.

The tip led to an investigation in which TPD collected and examined the contents of Francois’ curbside garbage on four separate occasions.

But when TPD concluded its investigation of Francois last Thursday, an executed search warrant conducted at his apartment yielded just 17 grams of marijuana among other items.

To do some math for you: there’s 28 grams in an ounce of marijuana, for those who don’t know. That would mean 17 grams is slightly under 5/8th of an ounce. The local law enforcement spent tax payer money to run a surveillance program for two months to seize 5/8ths of weed.

I want folks to think about this for a second to see how ridiculous this is. Also, I also think people need to hold back their judgement about this situation, as well, unless they understand kind of how drug busts work.

Most of the intelligence police gather are from confidential informants or “CIs” for short. Usually, CIs are involved in some criminal activities themselves. Often times what happens is: confidential informants get caught themselves and are released without a record, as long as they help the police make a larger bust. Basically, you aren’t dealing with any church pastors, unless it’s the pastor doing dirt. These are the guys in the game.

So, yes, the man who gave the police a tip would be categorized as a snitch. My guess, and this is just speculation, is the person they local police used was someone who had previously got caught with marijuana and they scared that person.

So, he said he knew a big name to get him off the hook. It’s possible it’s another student. Who knows?

All evidence at this point makes it look like Francois and his girlfriend like to smoke some weed. Big deal! Weed is legal in several states now and the nation’s capital. Sure it’s not legal for recreation purposes in Florida, but it could be in a few years.

It’s good that Francois isn’t going to have any of this on his record. However, he isn’t going to escape the criticism from folks in the media that are going to make a bigger deal out of this than it really is. It’s strange how these football players can be prescribed opioids for pain management, but as soon as they smoke weed for the same reasons, they are a criminal.

Deondre Francois is guilty of being a weed head or hanging around weed heads. He’s not Nino Brown from New Jack City, like the local police department apparently treated him like.

The Tallahassee Police Department played themselves. As for folks in the media blasting Francois, they need to chill a little bit. Maybe, spark up a backwood or something and relax.

Let Francois live!.

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Florida State Seminoles

Excitement is back for FSU in their Saturday Spring game

Jamil King

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida State Seminoles will play their first game, albeit an April Spring scrimmage, under new Coach Willie Taggart Saturday.

Though it is just the spring game, it’s the first look the fans and the national public have at the new Noles.
“It’s going to be highly competitive, and we want them to go out and do something,” Taggart said earlier this week. He and FSU fans are eager to turn the page off a disappointing 2017.

There are several story lines for the Noles going into the game but a few stand above the rest.

New Look offense and defense-
One of the first things Willie Taggart said was his offense was going to be lethal simplicity. Well, Saturday is the first time we will get a glimpse of it in a game. The defense is also new, and it has also changed its approach. The defensive players have talked all spring about how the defense is simpler and allows them to be more aggressive on the field. The offense has missed a lot of crucial pieces so expect the defense to dominate the game more.

The Quarterbacks-
The most critical position on the field for the offense will be in the spotlight Saturday. James Blackman and Bailey Hockman will run the two offense respectively. Deandre Francois isn’t healthy enough to play, and now with a new Marijuana investigation underway, we will see what happens to him. Blackman is in the driver’s seat to keep his job at the moment, but one would think even injured Hockman will go all out to try to pry the job from blackman in what could be his last opportunity to do so.

Who will step up and temper expectations-
The question for the Noles is whos going to step up? There are voids to fill at wide receiver with the loss Auden Tate and Nyqwan Murray currently injured. D.J. Matthews and Tamorrion Terry could help with that. Brady Hockman could surprise in the QB battle. The Noles will be replacing several linebackers and must see who will step up to fill that void. Expectations must be tempered despite the new offense we will see and there are going to be a lot of differences.

FSU is also excited to have RB Cam Akers (above) returning, who came on strong at the end of last season.

Don’t expect to see too much here in the Spring game, however, that won’t be a problem for the real games in September.

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