HAMPTON, Va. - Hampton University football made headlines when it acquired former Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois earlier this month.
After being released by FSU, Francois was in communication with Florida Atlantic University about joining its program. That fell through, and Francois then had a handful of HBCU's reach out to him.
"I took a visit to Hampton and I felt like this was the best place for me," Francois said. "Coach [Prunty] did a great job explaining to me how I could come here and help the team.
"It's pretty much night and day," Francois said about coming from a Power 5 school. "Everything is smaller. Everything is slower, but in my situation that's what I was looking for. Coming to a team that's very family oriented, a lot of humble guys, that's what I wanted to be around."
Prior to becoming a Pirate, Francois started two years at Florida State, amassing nine 300-yard passing games and four 350-yard passing games. Both those marks are tied for fourth all-time at FSU. Francois ranks eighth in program history with 481 career completions and 6,496 yards of total offense. His 6,291 career passing yards rank ninth on FSU’s all-time career list and is 14th in program history with 36 career touchdown passes.
All of that success at the ACC level had his current teammates curious about how Francois would carry himself around players at the HBCU level.
"I'm blessed to be here and they felt that from me," Francois said. "They felt that humbleness. I'm not a big rah rah guy. I don't care that I came from a big school. I don't care about any of that. I'm just blessed to be playing football again and that's all that matters."
"It was a shocker," defensive lineman Keenan Marr said about the humility Francois showed. "I was like, he can't be this laid back. He just came from Florida State, just playing in front of thousands of people. He can't be the same person. He came in he boosted the offense and it made us want to play harder."
Hampton opens its season on Friday when they host Elizabeth City State at Armstrong Stadium in a 6pm kickoff.