Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze knew what Florida State QB Deondre Francois was capable of long before he was named the Seminoles’ starter for the season opener.
Freeze said on a conference call Wednesday that he remembers Francois as a recruit at IMG Academy. Francois, a former 4-star prospect ranked the No. 3 pro-style passer in the class of 2015, impressed Freeze and his staff with his natural ability.
“I remember very vividly that we thought he was a tremendous athlete with a big arm,” Freeze said. “So I think he’s got the skill set to be very talented.”
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher named Francois the starter on Saturday. He had been expected to start since senior QB Sean Maguire suffered a foot injury in early August.
Francois is a redshirt freshman and has yet to play a down for the Seminoles. Freeze said that makes preparing for him a little more difficult since he doesn’t have any college tape to study.
“You don’t know how kids are going to perform when they get in live situations like he’s going to be in Monday night when they’re just . . . freshmen,” Freeze said. “So there’s a bit of an unknown there. But I’m quite confident that Jimbo is not going to change who they are. They’re going to do the same things.”
Freeze said the Rebels have to be ready for Francois’ ability to scramble more than they would for another quarterback. And in the midst of that, they can’t forget about Florida State’s Heisman hopeful, RB Dalvin Cook.
“But he is a bit different. You can’t just rush wildly at him, for sure, either. He can hurt you with his legs or with his arm. So it adds a little bit of mystery into the preparation. But I don’t know that they’ll venture too far from who they are, especially when they’ve got No. 4 back there.”
All recruiting rankings are from the 247Sports Composite unless otherwise noted.