NFL.com’s Chad Reuter is going through and ranking his top college football players for next year since this year’s NFL Draft is in the books. He’s gotten to the 50-41 range and there is a pretty big surprise. He has two ACC players and potential breakout stars ranked near each other, but probably in the wrong order.
He has Miami running back Mark Walton ranked ahead of Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois. Walton is ranked 41 while Francois is 47 on his list. While it might seem like a small difference, it really should be a much bigger one and in favor of Francois.
While Walton had a nice year for the Hurricanes rushing for 1,117 yards and recording a total of 15 touchdowns to go with 240 receiving yards, he also had some great help from quarterback Brad Kaaya and a stout offensive line. Sure, Francois had Dalvin Cook to help him out on the ground, but the offensive line was basically Swiss cheese in pass protection. Francois was knocked out of the Miami game because the line was so bad and probably had less weapons to work with than Kaaya did in 2016.
Francois still managed to throw for 3,350 yards — 257.7 per game — and 20 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He also rushed for another five touchdowns and is bound to improve on his 58.8 completion percentage with an improved line and some receivers becoming a year smarter and better.
It seems like Reuter was completely disrespecting Francois and what he should be able to do as a redshirt sophomore this coming season. Miami is also losing some weapons that will likely give Walton a harder time duplicating last season’s numbers.