By Maximillian C. Burgos | Staff Writer
Jameis Winston is the 31st quarterback to win the Heisman trophy. He was the youngest player to win the trophy, due to his spectacular redshirt freshman year where he amazed fans and coaches alike with his on-field heroics.
Winston’s story of success starts in high school where he was regarded as the best dual-threat quarterback in the nation according to Rivals.com. He was also named the Most Valuable Player of the ESPN RISE ELITE 11 quarterback camp, setting himself apart with his athleticism and his overall ability to handle the ball.
Winston was not only a good football player in high school, but also a great baseball players. He committed to Florida State University in 2012 to play football, but he was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 15th round of the baseball draft. Right out of high school, he could have made an impact on the national level in baseball.
The Rangers allowed him to play football at Florida State while he was working out with the Rangers. Ultimately Winston chose not to sign with the Rangers and continued to play football.
In his freshman year, Winston sat behind senior quarterback EJ Manuel. In that year Manuel passed for 3,392 yards, 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Manuel also rushed for 310 yards and four more touchdowns. Winston redshirted and waited for his moment.
In 2013, Winston took the college football world by storm. In his college debut Winston was incredibly efficient completing 25 out of 27 passes with four touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. The University of Pittsburg defense stood no shot of slowing down the Seminoles attack led by Winston.
Winston continued to shine as he led the Seminoles to a 13-0 record on the year. Winston even helped his team crush Duke University in the ACC Championship 45-7 where he threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns.
Winston won the Heisman trophy beating out players like AJ McCarron, Jordan Lynch, Johnny Manziel and Tre Mason. He was the second freshman ever to win the award and the youngest to win at 19 years and 342 days of age.
On Winston’s 20th birthday, January 6th, the Seminoles faced off against the Auburn Tigers in the National Championship Game. Auburn Tigers upset the Alabama Crimson Tide that year in the closing minutes of the game, where they returned a missed field goal for a touchdown, to reach the national game.
In the game, the Seminoles took an early lead with a Roberto Aguayo field goal. Six minutes later Auburn responded with touchdown pass to Tre Mason. Auburn broke away in the second quarter getting the score out to 21-10.
The game looked bleak for the Seminoles all the way until the fourth quarter where Winston helped the Seminoles pull forward. To start the fourth, Winston threw a touchdown to Chad Abram to bring the score within one point.
Auburn answered with a field goal to extend their lead to four. The Seminoles immediately answer with a 100-yard kickoff return. With 1:19 left on the clock, Mason ran for a 37-yard touchdown. Winston took his offense down the field in seven plays, throwing a two yard dart to Kelvin Benjamin for the win.
Winston capped off the 34-31 win, earning him the offensive MVP. He total 237 yards through the air with two touchdowns.
Winston did well in his redshirt sophomore season but did not exactly catch the same lightening in a bottle that he had in his redshirt freshman year. He also missed a game during the season due to suspension.
After a 13-0 regular season, the Seminoles chose to play at the Rose Bowl. They faced off against Oregon who where led by that year’s Heisman winner Marcus Mariota.
The Oregon Ducks absolutely smashed the Seminoles defense to pieces on route to a 59-20 win, giving Winston his only loss in his starting career as a Seminole.
At the end of his colligate career Winston threw for 7,964 yards, 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. He also ran for 258 yards and seven more touchdowns. He declared the 2015 draft, forgoing his last two year of eligibility. He was drafted first overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winston was drafted over players like Marcus Mariota, Amari Cooper, Vic Beasley , and Todd Gurley.
Winston made an immediate impact in the NFL. In his first year, he threw for 4,032 yards, 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He also rushed 213 yards with six touchdowns. He was the Pepsi player of the year and made the Pro Bowl, a noteworthy accomplishment for a rookie.
Winston was the youngest player to pass for 3,000 and 4,000 yards in a season. He is also the youngest player to pass for 40 touchdowns in his career. He also has the most 4,000-yard seasons to start, with both of his first two season. Winston also holds nine Buccaneers franchise records at the moment.
Winston has had a mixed bag of success so far this year. He has already thrown for 1,198 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions to start the season, but Winston still has to work on his consistency. He is a solid player, nonetheless.
If Winston stays healthy, he should be a good quarterback in the NFL for a long time to come.