Deondre Francois, De'Andre Johnson earn first Elite 11 invites of 2014
Deondre Francois and De'Andre Johnson are headed to Oregon.
The Double Dre combination of quarterbacks earned the first Elite 11 finals invitations of 2014 on Saturday during the Nike Football Training Camp at Austin Tindall Park.
Francois, who has starter the past two seasons at Orlando Olympia, and Johnson, a starter since his freshman year at Jacksonville First Coast, will both take part in the mid-summer competition in Beaverton, Ore., to pick the nation's top high school quarterback. The Elite 11 is held in conjunction with Nike's The Opening in July.
"It feels great. I've been working for this since my freshman year, said Francois, who along with Johnson, Orlando East River's Tanner Hearn and Tampa Berkeley Prep's Brad Mayes, was named one of the top four competitors at Friday's Elite 11 Flordia regional competition, also at Tindall Park.
"Yesterday I thought I was going to win the MVP and I was kind of down about that, but today I came out here with the mindset to be the best and I succeeded."
Francois was named quarterback MVP for Saturday's NFTC, edging out Johnson for the honors. He is ranked as the No. 7 player in the Sentinel's 2015 Central Florida Super60 and is the No. 57 in the Sentinel's 2015 Florida Top 100, has offers from Florida, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State, Auburn, Louisville, USF, North Carolina, Clemson, Indiana, Wake Forest, Cincinnati, Nebraska, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan State and Marshall.
Johnson, who is committed to Florida State for 2015, was not pleased with his Friday performance and felt a little better in his opprtunity to make a better showing Saturday at the NFTC.
"I feel a lot better now. I'm going to go out to Elite 11 to comptete and have fun, as well, and just to be a better quarterback. I feel the hard work is starting to pay off," Johnson said. "I took the criticism from yesterday. Coach [Jordan] Palmer said to open up more [in his upper carriage] and I really focused on that and slowing down a lot more ... and really being a lot more fundamentally sound."
Francois and Johnson, who is ranked No. 36 in the 2015 Florida Top 100, are starting to develop a competitive friendship as they continue to see each other at different events.
"It's fun ... we like to battle, talk a little bit of noise, you know, I call him out. We do our thing ... just get each other better," Johnson said.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting, and on Instagram at os_recruiting.