Connect with us

College Gridiron 365

XFL DRAFT: Orlando picks Olympia’s Deondre Francois

Jae Fortune

Published

on

FRANCOIS’ REVENGE

The story of Deondre Francois is one of overcoming twists, turns, and tribulations. As the most electrifying quarterback in the history of the Olympia HS football program, Francois went from youth football phenomenon (playing for the Orlando Outlaws) to a local legend. Before transferring to IMG Academy for his senior year, Francois passed for 3,162 yards and 28 touchdowns.

FSU GOLDEN BOY

Upon his arrival to FSU in 2014, Francois was quickly prepared for his future as the starting signal caller for the defending national champion Seminoles. As a freshman in 2016, he led Florida State to a 10-3 season and an Orange Bowl win over Michigan. Unfortunately, a messy exit by the head coach that recruited him, followed by a questionable hire by a new coach, resulted in a shaky start to Deondre’s career. In all, Francois appeared in 25 games for FSU, earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 2016 after passing for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns. In 2017, Francois suffered a torn patellar tendon in the season opener against Alabama and missed the rest of the season.

Advertisement

THE FALLOUT

By his senior year in 2019, a healed Deondre had the resume to declare for the NFL draft, but choose to return for the opportunity to lead his team, and complete for the starting role. Sadly, an tragic domestic incident would end his time at Tallahassee, and cloud his legacy at Florida State. Undaunted, the young man who had lived in almost every part of the state before his 25th birthday, relocated once again – this time to Boca Raton, as a graduate walk-on for Florida Atlantic. This would be a short stay for Deondre, as opportunity presented itself as one of the South’s most prestigious HBCU institutions.

A REBIRTH IN VA

After more than two seasons at PWIs, Deondre Francois arrived at Hampton University in August 2019. When his brief year of eligibility at HU were complete, Francois continued to train diligently throughout the pandemic, hopeful that a chance to realize his dream of professional football would present itself.

And finally on Nov. 15th, Orlando’s new XFL team has drafted Orlando’s Deondre Francois as the team’s first ever franchise quarterback.

JACQUES PATRICK HEADS TO TEXAS

In other XFL news, another Orlando area star athlete, Jacques Patrick was drafted to join Head Coach Hines Ward and the San Antonio Brahmas.

Following a stellar high school career, Patrick joined Francois at Florida State University, where he shared ball-carrying duties with Dalvin Cook (2015-16), and Cam Akers (2017). Ironically, Patrick’s professional football career began in with the 2020 edition of the XFL Draft, when he was selected by the Tampa Bay Vipers.

Advertisement

When the old XFL suspended operations in April of that year, Patrick made to the NFL for practice squad stints with Cincinnati, San Francisco, Carolina, and Baltimore.

 

College Gridiron 365

Kansas State Triumphs 28-19 Over NC State in Pop-Tarts Bowl Clash

Kevyn Bryant II

Published

on

© sportsclubflorida.com | Kevyn Bryant II

Kansas State emerges victorious with a 28-19 win over NC State in the highly anticipated Pop-Tarts Bowl, setting Orlando abuzz with excitement.

Despite a valiant effort in the Pop-Tarts Bowl on Thursday night, the Wolfpack fell short in overcoming an early deficit, succumbing to Kansas State with a final score of 28-19.

The Wolfpack concludes their season with a 9-4 record, narrowly missing the chance to etch their name in school history with only the second 10-win campaign. The elusive feat was last achieved in 2002 with Philip Rivers at the helm, guiding the team to an impressive 11-3 record.

Facing the challenge without their All-America linebacker Payton Wilson, who opted to sit out the game in preparation for the draft, the No. 19 NC State struggled to contain the running game early on. The Pack found themselves in a tough spot as Wildcats quarterback Avery Johnson connected with DJ Giddens for a 37-yard score on fourth down, establishing a 7-0 lead.

Advertisement

With Wilson absent from the lineup, Kansas State exploited the gap, amassing 258 yards on the ground, with Giddens contributing 151 yards. Despite NC State quarterback Brennan Armstrong’s 31-yard touchdown run against Kansas State on Thursday night, the Wolfpack was unable to seize control, never holding an advantage and only narrowing the gap to a two-point margin.

At the close of the second quarter, Kansas State maintained a lead of 21-7, with the halftime score standing at 21-10. NC State injected some intrigue into the game in the third quarter with a bit of trickery. Trent Pennix’s 60-yard touchdown run off a fake punt reduced the deficit to 21-19 with 1:50 left in the period.

The Wolfpack’s attempt to level the score was thwarted as Armstrong was taken down during the two-point conversion attempt. In his inaugural game as a freshman, quarterback Johnson, stepping in after Will Howard’s departure, threw for 178 yards, ran for an additional 71 yards, and orchestrated a decisive 15-play, 72-yard drive in the fourth quarter.

The game-clinching moment came as Jayce Brown secured an 8-yard TD pass from Johnson with a mere 2:48 left on the clock. Any hopes of a Wolfpack comeback were dashed when Parrish intercepted Armstrong on their subsequent offensive play.

Armstrong’s performance in the final game included running for 121 yards, scoring one touchdown, and passing for 164 yards. The Wildcats of Kansas State concluded the season with a commendable 9-4 record.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

College Gridiron 365

USF Bulls Secure Bowl Glory: Crush Syracuse 45-0

Kevyn Bryant II

Published

on

© sportsclubflorida.com | Kevyn Bryant II

In a spectacular display of prowess, the USF football team, under first-year head coach Alex Golesh, ended its season on a high note with a resounding 45-0 victory over Syracuse in the Boca Raton Bowl. The win marked USF’s first bowl victory since 2017 and a significant turnaround, securing a winning record for the first time since 2018.

The Bulls’ defense played a pivotal role in the triumph, forcing four turnovers, including two scoop-and-score touchdowns, and orchestrating their first complete game shutout since 2009. Defensive MVP Daquan Evans led the charge with five tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, and a forced fumble returned for a touchdown. Special Teams MVP Aamaris Brown-Bunkley contributed by returning a botched field goal attempt for a touchdown and adding three tackles.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Byrum Brown, named Offensive MVP, delivered a stellar performance, completing 19 of 26 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns. Brown also showcased his versatility by rushing for a team-best 64 yards on 14 carries and even catching a 21-yard pass from Sean Atkins. Brown became only the second Bull to surpass 4,000 total yards in a season, finishing with 4,101 yards.

Atkins, the Bulls’ first 1,000-yard receiver, secured six passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns. The Bulls’ offensive prowess propelled them to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. Brown’s connection with Atkins and a 31-yard touchdown pass to Khafre Brown highlighted the offensive dominance. John Cannon’s 40-yard field goal further extended the lead to 24-0.

Advertisement

The defense continued its relentless performance, with Evans forcing another fumble, and Tramel Logan returning it 61 yards for a touchdown, making it 31-0 at halftime. USF’s defense held Syracuse to just 159 yards, 10 punts, and a mere nine first downs throughout the game, limiting them to 1-of-17 on third downs.

The second half saw Tavin Ward intercepting Syracuse’s first possession, setting up Brown for a 35-yard touchdown pass to Atkins, further widening the gap to 38-0. Nay’Quan Wright’s two-yard touchdown plunge in the early fourth quarter sealed the deal at 45-0.

The victory marked USF’s largest margin of victory in a bowl game and its fourth bowl win against an autonomous “power” conference program. The Bulls outgained Syracuse 407 to 159, with notable individual achievements from Brown, Atkins, and Logan.

Looking ahead, USF has already welcomed 25 new recruits on the first day of the NCAA Early Signing period, securing a top-class ranking in The American and among non-autonomous “power” programs. The Bulls will shift their focus to spring practice in March, building on the momentum gained from their outstanding Boca Raton Bowl triumph.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

College Gridiron 365

USF Bulls Secure Bowl Berth with Dominant Victory Over Charlotte

Kevyn Bryant II

Published

on

© sportsclubflorida.com | Kevyn Bryant II

In a triumphant display on Senior Night at Raymond James Stadium, the USF football team (6-6; 4-4 American) punched their ticket to the postseason, securing a resounding 48-14 victory over Charlotte (3-9; 2-6 American). The Bulls celebrated not only the achievements of 16 seniors but also the program’s 11th bowl berth, marking the end of a drought since 2018.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Byrum Brown led the charge with another stellar performance, throwing for 253 yards and four touchdowns. Brown’s remarkable day also included 43 yards rushing and a touchdown, making him the first Bull to surpass 3,000 passing yards in a season, with his 2023 total reaching an impressive 3,078.

A standout throughout the season, wide receiver Sean Atkins continued his impressive run, logging his seventh-straight game with seven or more receptions. Atkins made seven grabs for 61 yards and a touchdown. Notably, he also showcased his versatility by throwing a 62-yard touchdown pass, becoming the first Bull since 1998 to both catch and throw a touchdown in a single game.

Running back Michel Dukes contributed significantly to the offensive prowess, running for a career-best 104 yards on 15 carries. The Bulls’ offensive excellence was complemented by a robust defensive effort that saw Logan Berryhill securing his third interception of the season, while Mac Harris and Daquan Evans notched their first interceptions.

Advertisement

Jhalyn Shuler and D.J. Harris led the defensive charge with nine tackles each, playing a crucial role in holding Charlotte to less than 300 yards of offense and forcing three turnovers.

The turning point in the game came just 20 seconds into the second half when Brown connected with Jaden Alexis on a deep pass. Alexis, in a spectacular display of skill, spun his defender around and zigzagged for a 60-yard touchdown, giving USF a commanding 28-7 lead.

Although Charlotte managed a response with a 47-yard touchdown pass to Jairus Mack, the Bulls remained undeterred. Brown orchestrated a drive resulting in a field goal and followed it up with a daring onside kick, which USF successfully recovered at their own 46. Brown then capped off the drive with a 35-yard touchdown run, extending the lead to 38-14.

As the Bulls continued to dominate, John Cannon added his second field goal of the day, and USF entered the fourth quarter with a commanding 41-14 lead. The victory marked a five-win turnaround from the previous year, the largest in program history, and a return to the bowl season for the Bulls.

Reflecting on the game and the historic season turnaround, USF fans began to celebrate a bright future for their football program. The Bulls now eagerly await the official announcement of their bowl destination on December 3, savoring the prospect of postseason action for the first time in five seasons.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Trending