247 Sports first reported Florida Atlantic’s addition. Francois, who graduated from Florida State this past weekend, is eligible immediately and could play two years with FAU.
Florida State dismissed Francois in February after his ex-girlfriend posted an Instagram video alleging that he abused her. Francois was never charged in the incident. His ex-girlfriend, Diamond Lindsey, told ESPN that after the initial Instagram video, someone hacked into her account and posted a statement that appeared to recant the allegations. Lindsey said she never reported the January altercation with Francois to police or school officials, but wanted to share it publicly to help other women experiencing similar issues.
Francois appeared in 25 games for FSU, earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 2016 after passing for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns. Francois suffered a torn patellar tendon in the 2017 opener against Alabama and missed the rest of the season. He returned last year and appeared in 11 games, leading FSU with 2,731 passing yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
In January 2018, Francois was involved in a domestic dispute with his pregnant girlfriend, but no arrests were made and no charges were filed. Tallahassee Police said Francois and a woman they did not identify gave varying accounts of the incident to officers, who said they could not establish probable cause for charges. In April 2018, Francois was cited for misdemeanor possession of marijuana after police raided his apartment.
“I take full responsibility for my actions,” Francois told 247 Sports. “I just want to learn from it and grow from it. That won’t happen again.”
Francois isn’t the first former Florida State quarterback to join Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic. De’Andre Johnson, who Florida State dismissed after after the state’s attorney’s office released video showing Johnson punching a woman in the face at a Tallahassee bar, joined the Owls after the 2016 season. Johnson announced in December that he would transfer from FAU after two seasons.
Florida Atlantic also added John Franklin III, who began his college career as a quarterback at Florida State before transferring to East Mississippi Community College and then to Auburn before joining the Owls in 2017.