TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — Rival schools the University of Florida and Florida State University began the week by dropping a big piece of news.
The Gators and Seminoles have announced their opening day starting quarterbakcs.
For FSU, Deondre Francois is back in the driver’s seat.
Florida meanwhile named Feleipe Franks as the starting quarterback to begin the season.
Now a junior, Francios beat out James Blackman and Bailey Hockman for the opportunity to start for No. 19 Florida State in the season opener against No. 20 Virginia Tech on Sept. 3.
Florida State coach Willie Taggart made the announcement on Monday prior to practice.
“In every scrimmage we’ve had, he’s been really impressive,” Taggart said. “And the same thing in practice. And they all have. It’s been a good competition.
“But I think when you look at the overall body of work and when they’re in there running the offense, we feel like Deondre gives us the best shot.”
Franks, a 6-foot-6 sophomore who started eight games for the Gators in 2017, beat out Kyle Trask in a competition that started in March and lasted through fall camp.
Franks will take the first snap when the Gators open against Charleston Southern on Saturday night.
He threw for 1,438 yards in 11 games last season, finishing with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. He had a few highlights, including a 63-yard touchdown pass on the final play to beat Tennessee 26-20 and a 79-yard run against Texas A&M a month later that was the longest by a Florida quarterback in school history.
Franks also was benched twice, once in favor of Luke Del Rio and again later in the year for Malik Zaire.
Franks not securing the job earlier could be considered an indictment of his ability, especially since Trask wasn’t a starter in high school, missed all of last season following foot surgery and was slowed in camp by a blister on his throwing hand.
New Gators coach Dan Mullen kept the job open, giving Trask every opportunity to close the gap.
It never happened, and now Franks will start Florida’s opener for the second consecutive season.
Mullen was hired, in part, to fix Florida’s floundering offense.
Franks is getting the first shot at making it happen.
Francois threw for 3,350 yards, 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2016 when he was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s rookie of the year.
He suffered a season-ending knee injury last year in the Seminoles’ opener against Alabama and had surgery three days later to repair the patellar tendon in his left knee.
Francois was limited during spring practices but was cleared for full participation when the Seminoles began preseason practices.
Taggart said he informed all three quarterbacks about the decision on Sunday.
“When he’s in there running the offense, it’s a lot more efficient, a lot less mistakes,” Taggart said. “That’s important when playing the position.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)