Heading into the 2016 season, Deondre Francois had never taken a college football snap. That all changed September 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. As fate would have it, Francois debuted as the Florida State starting quarterback at Camping World Stadium in the same city he grew up in.
Ole Miss and Florida State agreed to play a neutral site game in Orlando. According to Warchant.com, his mother, Janice Francois, moved Deondre and their family to Orlando from Miami’s Little Haiti when Deondre was a young boy. She spoke to Warchant.com about what she found out about her son during that time of transition.
“Deondre goes after what he wants. He’s a very unique type of boy. Whatever his mind is set on, his mind is set on. I learned that with him when I came to Orlando,” Janice told Warchant.com.
Deondre played most of his high school football at Olympia High. He transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton for his senior season after a coaching change. Deondre wanted to play under former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke at IMG and his pro-style offense. Francois spoke to the Orlando Sentinel at the time of the transfer.
“It’s going to help me a lot … It’s my first time in the offense they run, and NFL pro-type offense, so there are a lot of formations and a lot of plays,” Francois said. “It’s a real big NFL playbook and it will help me get ready for college and it will mature me more on and off the field,” Francois told the Orlando Sentinel.
Years later under the bright lights of Labor Day’s primetime, Deondre made his college football debut in the city that helped raised him. After the Pulse Nightclub Orlando shooting, he took to Instagram to send out his thoughts to his former home:
Here’s a look at some highlights from his time at Olympia: