Hampton starting quarterback Deondre Francois is a former top 100 recruit out of high school who starred for Florida State for more than two seasons.

Francois started 25 games at quarterback for Florida State before he was dismissed by Florida State coach Willie Taggart after a woman posted an Instagram video alleging that Francois abused her. She later recanted that accusation and no charges were filed.

He made his first career start as a redshirt-freshman in the season opener of the 2016 season when FSU faced #11 Ole Miss and head coach Hugh Freeze. Francois completed 33-of-52 passes for 419 yards and 2 touchdowns while rushing for another 59 yards in the Seminoles’ 22-point comeback victory, the largest comeback in Florida State football history. Freeze remembers that game and Francois vividly.

“He stood in that pocket and we were hitting him and he was making the throws,” Freeze said of Francois in that 2016 game. “I remember vividly us being one step and drilling him, and him just making throws right on the money. Obviously, they had great receivers at Florida State, but he made throw after throw after throw in the 2nd half and critical downs that really gave them the win.”

Freeze, now at Liberty, is preparing his team for what the Flames could see on Saturday when Hampton and Francois visit Lynchburg’s Williams Stadium.

“I’ve seen it,” Freeze explained of Francois’ ability. “No one has to tell me. I don’t have to watch film. I’ve witnessed it live. The ball comes out of his hands, it’s pure. His mechanics are great. He throws a great ball and is very athletic. He’s a scary guy to play.”

Francois spent two-plus seasons leading the Seminoles offense. As a redshirt-freshman in 2016, Francois threw for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns. He added 196 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Francois suffered a season-ending injury in the season-opener vs. Alabama in 2017 but came back as the starter in 2018. He threw for 2,731 yards and 15 touchdowns but tossed 12 picks and only managed 16 rushing yards.

“He’s very dynamic, very athletic,” Liberty linebacker Brandon Tillmon said. “We really need to be locked in and watching a lot of film this week.”

Through Hampton’s first 3 games this season, Francois has completed 34-of-65 passes for 496 yards, 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He’s also added 101 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.

“He’s a dual-threat QB, so that’s always something to watch out for,” Liberty DE Jessie Lemonier stated. “He went to Florida State, so he can obviously throw, but more on the legs that we’re worried with keeping him in the pocket, making him get out of his game.”

The Flames have struggled with dual-threat quarterbacks in the past, including Louisiana’s Levi Lewis. Lewis threw for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns while rushing for another 25 yards. Malik Willis, who transferred into Liberty from Auburn this summer and is sitting out the 2019 season, is the scout team quarterback and he will give Liberty’s defense a great look at the threat Francois will present on Saturday.

“Our main focus is working on our defense,” said Liberty corner Kei’Trel Clark. “I feel like Francois is a good quarterback, but also I feel like our defense is great. Our main thing is we’re just going to contain him and play our game. I feel like we’re going to be just fine.”