Quarterback Deondre Francois announced Wednesday that he will return to Florida State instead of pursuing a transfer or entering the NFL draft.
"While my dream is to play in the NFL, at this time I feel that there are areas both within my game and my life I need to improve upon to succeed at the next level…" Francois said in his statement. "I intend to become the leader my teammates need me to be because we have some unfinished business to take care of."
Francois has started 25 games for the Seminoles, including 11 last season as a redshirt junior. He was one of the top freshman quarterbacks in the country in 2016, and his 36 career touchdown passes are 14th in program history.
The former blue-chip recruit regressed statistically in 2018 behind a leaky offensive line. His 57.3 completion percentage was a career-low; he also threw 15 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.
Francois' future in Tallahassee had been in doubt. Coach Willie Taggart said last month that the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Orlando native was "weighing his options."
Francois had three of them: Because he graduated last semester, he could have transferred elsewhere and been eligible immediately. He could have skipped his final year to enter the NFL.
He chose the third one — to return to FSU.
His decision was big for the Seminoles, who are low on bodies at the game's most important position.
FSU didn't sign a quarterback in the 2018 recruiting class and lost blue-chip recruit Sam Howell to North Carolina in the early signing period. James Blackman is the only other experienced quarterback on the roster; he took over in 2017 after Francois suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1. Former three-star recruit Jordan Travis is transferring from Louisville but won't be eligible this season, unless he receives a waiver from the NCAA.
The 'Noles could still pursue a graduate transfer to add immediate depth or another starting contender to the competition. A few hours before Francois' announcement, news broke that Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts put his name into the NCAA's transfer database.