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Thursday, May 22, 2014
Pair of Florida QBs' recruiting taking off

By Gerry Hamilton

TAMPA, Fla. -- Two of the top uncommitted quarterbacks remaining in the Class of 2015, Deondre Francois and Lamar Jackson, have many of the same college programs pursuing them.

Deondre Francois
Deondre Francois wants to play in a pro-style offense at the next level.
Francois, the No. 47-ranked prospect in the ESPN 300, threw frozen ropes around the IMG Academy (Fla.) field on Wednesday with LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron watching his every move.

“Florida State, Oregon, Auburn, Ohio State, Tennessee and Florida are my six,” Francois said. “Coming up over the summer I’m going to try to get to Tennessee. I’ve already been to Florida State and Florida. I’ll try to go back to Florida State with my mom because I like Florida State a lot. I’m going to try to go to Auburn and Oregon, too.”

Following Wednesday’s practice, LSU extended an offer to the Under Armour All-America selection. Before being told of the offer, Francois had not ruled out LSU.

“It’s not too late at all ...,” he said. “I’ve never taken any visits out of state. I’ve only been to schools in state. I want to go to see campuses, spend time with coaching staff and meet players at out-of-state schools.”

For the programs recruiting the 6-foot-2, 188-pound prospect, it’s all about relationships.

“The effort that schools give coming after me,” Francois said. “If a school wants me, I want them to talk to me every day ... talk on the phone every day, hit me on Twitter every day. Schools say they want me, but they don’t try to talk to me every day then they don’t really want me -- they want someone else more.”

Right now, it’s the home-state Seminoles and Gators who have built the best rapport with Francois.

“I’m starting to build a good relationship with Auburn,” he said. “I have a good relationship with Florida State but want them to talk to me even more. Florida has been in my Twitter box every single day since January probably. Ohio State is starting to build a better relationship.”

Scheme, too, will play a factor in the Orlando native’s decision.

“I want to play in a pro-style offense,” Francois said. “I don’t want to run the ball on designed runs 30 times a game, I want to throw the ball a lot.”

Francois hopes to have a decision by early July and announce at The Opening. Auburn and Florida State also visited IMG Academy on Wednesday.

On the East Coast of Florida in Boynton Beach, Jackson, a three-star quarterback, has quickly become one of the most-coveted prospects at the position. The 6-3, 202-pound prospect has had more than 30 college programs visit the school this spring, and his recruitment is beginning to take shape.

“It’s looking good right now,” Jackson said Tuesday. “West Virginia is standing out because they are showing a lot more interest than anyone else right now. Louisville, UCF and Nebraska are also showing a lot of interest.”

One school that has stepped up its recruiting efforts in recent weeks is Auburn. Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee was at Boynton Beach Tuesday, and the Tigers have been steadily rising with Jackson since March.

“Since Cam Newton came there, they are coming up in college football,” Jackson said. “I like Auburn, too. I plan to go see Auburn this summer.”

Along with Auburn, at least two other schools will receive unofficial visits this summer.

“Pretty much, I should be going to West Virginia, Louisville and Auburn this summer. I may go to some other schools on the East Coast, too, but I’m not sure,” the No. 18-ranked dual-threat 2015 QB said.

According to a source close to Jackson, Auburn, West Virginia, Nebraska, Louisville and Florida State are currently his top five schools.