FSU quarterback Deondre Francois says he's returning in 2019

Redshirt senior considered leaving early for NFL draft

Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois celebrates after rushing for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Samford Bulldogs, Sept. 8, 2018, at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. (Jeff Romance)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Saying he has "unfinished business," Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois announced Wednesday that he's returning for his final year of eligibility.

"After thoughtful consideration and conversations with God and the people closest to me, I have decided to return to Florida State University," Francois wrote in an Instagram post.

His decision to return for his redshirt senior season provides more clarity on the quarterback situation in 2019, although it's far from settled. FSU head coach Willie Taggart stuck by Francois despite the Seminoles' offensive struggles in 2018. 

Francois told the Orlando Sentinel last month that he was considering whether to enter the NFL draft or return to school.

"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 that I need to improve upon to succeed at the next level," Francois wrote.

Some fans have expressed a desire to move on from Francois, who missed most of 2017 after suffering a season-ending injury in the first game. He never seemed fully healed while starting all but one game last season.

Francois threw for 2,731 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. He also threw 12 interceptions. That's a stark contrast from his debut season under Jimbo Fisher in 2016, when he earned Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year honors after throwing for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns against just seven interceptions.

The decision could also affect whether James Blackman stays at FSU. Blackman, who gained valuable experience filling in for Francois in 2017, started one game in Francois' absence last year. He passed for 421 yards and four touchdowns in his lone start -- a 47-28 loss to North Carolina State.

FSU finished 5-7 -- its first losing season since 1976 -- and missed a bowl game for the first time since 1981.

"I am thankful for and humbled by the support of the Florida State family and the fans who stood by us during this tough season, but I also understand the standard to which this program is held and the work it requires to meet that standard," Francois wrote. "It's time to go to work."

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