Ranking Deondre Francois

Through the first seven games of the season, we have a basic understanding as to what kind of player Deondre Francois is.

He is a strong-armed, dual threat quarterback who has the ability to make NFL-caliber throws, but who also makes freshman mistakes. These mistakes are understandable, as Francois is only in his second year in Florida State’s system and has not even played double digit collegiate games.

A popular topic at the midway point of the season is to rank the quarterbacks in college football. Certainly names like Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson would be at the top of this list. But where would Francois rank?

Instead of giving a “power ranking” of all 128 FBS starting quarterbacks, perhaps the better indicator of where Francois ranks to similar talent is to compare him to other members of the 2015 recruiting class. At this point, all of those quarterbacks are in their second years in collegiate systems, similar to Francois. It seems unfair to compare Francois at this point to juniors and seniors like Watson and Baker Mayfield, who are in their third or fourth years on campus.

So where does Francois rank compared to other members of the 2014 quarterback recruiting class. Let’s go through some of the most notable names from that class and see how Francois stacks up.

Josh Rosen, sophomore, UCLA, #1 Pro-Style QB

Billed as one of the best quarterback recruits in recent memory, Rosen has lived up the hype so far. He passed for 23 touchdowns as a true freshman and was off to a good start to his sophomore year before injuries struck. Many scouts in NFL circles already have the 6-4, 230-pounder pegged as the best quarterback prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft. Rosen made NFL-caliber throws as a true freshman and it’s easy to see why many are high on this kid’s potential.

Deondre Francois, redshirt freshman, Florida State, #3 Pro-Style QB

Francois needs no introduction for Florida State fans. He redshirted in his first year on campus but has quickly grasped the reigns as the next great Jimbo Fisher quarterback in Florida State’s offense. Through the first seven games of the season, Francois has passed for nearly 2,000 yards and 10 touchdowns while adding three more scores on the ground. In his first year as a starter, he has already led the Seminoles to big wins over ranked opponents such as Ole Miss and Miami.

Jake Browning, sophomore, Washington, #5 Pro-Style QB

A player who might be flying under the radar to casual fans, Browning is quietly lighting up college football. After an impressive true freshman debut for Washington, he has led them to an undefeated season so far and has passed for 26 touchdowns to only two interceptions. If the Heisman frontrunner is a quarterback further down this list, then Browning is a close second in the eyes of the bettors.

Drew Lock, sophomore, Missouri, #7 Pro-Style QB

Although Missouri’s team as a whole is struggling, Lock has given Tigers fans some hope. After an up-and-down true freshman campaign that saw him toss four touchdowns to eight interceptions, Lock has improved as a sophomore. His touchdown-to-interception ratio has improved to 16-6 and he has passed for nearly 2,000 yards so far. Perhaps not the national name like Rosen or Francois, but a player that has a very high ceiling.

Brett Rypien, sophomore, Boise State, #10 Pro-Style QB

Another name out west who is quietly putting up some good numbers, Rypien has been a very good quarterback for the Broncos over the past two seasons. The nephew of former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, Brett has passed for over 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns and has led Boise State to an undefeated season so far. While the Broncos might not be a playoff team, Rypien certainly has them in the hunt for a New Year’s Bowl berth.

Sam Darnold, redshirt freshman, USC, #5 Dual-Threat QB

A player that wasn’t even the highest-ranked QB in his own recruiting class (that honor went to Ricky Town, who later transferred to Arkansas), Darnold has built a name for himself at USC. After Max Browne failed to spark the offense, Darnold was inserted at quarterback and hasn’t looked back since. So far, Darnold has passed for 13 touchdowns to only two interceptions and has looked the part of a traditional strong-armed USC quarterback.

Lamar Jackson, sophomore, Louisville, #13 Dual-Threat QB

If the season ended today, Lamar Jackson would win the Heisman trophy. Jackson has accounted for 34 total touchdowns, passed for over 2,000 yards and is approaching 1,000 yards rushing. As Florida State fans are well aware, Jackson is a threat to score every time that he touches the ball. Right now, he is the best player in college football.

While there are many other quarterbacks from the 2015 recruiting class, these are the most notable names and player who are current starters on their respective teams. Players like Kyler Murray, Blake Barnett and Jarrett Stidham have all played snaps but have transferred away from their programs or are riding the bench.

So where does Francois compare when we put him up against other similar competition?

When looking over the list, Francois is probably in the middle of this pack somewhere. Heisman front runners like Jackson and Browning obviously deserve to be at the top of this list, but there is a reasonable argument to be made that Francois has accomplished just as much as any other quarterback on this list. Wins over #11 Ole Miss at a neutral site venue and #10 Miami on the road are two of the best wins of any quarterback on this list and certainly add to Francois’ resume.

For a player in only his second year out of high school, Francois has established himself as one of the better quarterback recruits from his class. With two ranked wins under his belt and an opportunity for a third this upcoming weekend, Francois will certainly look to add to his resume as he develops into the next great Jimbo Fisher quarterback at Florida State.

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