It would appear that Florida State's worst fears have been realized. Quarterback Deondre Francois is indeed out for the season with a patella tendon injury. Jimbo Fisher confirmed the news on Monday at his press conference, citing a 4-7 month recovery from surgery to repair the damage.
The Tallahassee Democrat and Sports Illustrated's Bruce Feldman were the first to report the news. Francois is expected to have surgery on his knee on Tuesday, according to the paper.
Francois, a redshirt sophomore, had his leg rolled up on while he was being sacked during the fourth quarter of Florida State's 24-7 loss to Alabama on Saturday in Atlanta. Francois stayed on the ground clutching his left knee and had to be helped off the field. He was put into an air cast on the Florida State sideline and carted off the field.
Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison, who sacked Francois on the play, quickly took to Twitter to wish Francois a speedy recovery.
Francois finished his redshirt freshman season with 3,350 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He was lauded continuously for his toughness in the face of some brutal hits last season and again during Alabama.
Coach Jimbo Fisher has not yet confirmed the severity of Francois' injury. However, Fisher did say after the Alabama game that James Blackman will start against Louisiana-Monroe next Saturday. Blackman is a true freshman from Glades Central High School in Belle Glade, Florida. He was a three-star member of the Semionles' recruiting class.
How Blackman handles the pressures of picking up where Francois left off remains to be seen. He gets a bit a warm up in Week 2 before a big rivalry game against Miami in Week 3.
The loss of Francois is big no matter what happens moving forward. His best attribute was that he made players around him better. Though the Seminoles struggled to move the ball against Alabama, especially in the second half, Francois connected on some big-time passes to his receivers against Alabama's one-on-one coverage. The confidence and fearlessness with which he played was a big part of the offense and the trust Fisher had in him.
Can that be replaced with Blackman if Francois is indeed out for the season? We'll find out over the next few months.