Friday, December 13, 2013
Heisman finalist: Jameis Winston
By David M. Hale
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Key stats: 68 percent completions, 38 touchdown passes, 90.9 adjusted QBR
Why he made it to NYC: Four months ago, Winston was a renowned recruit who had yet to win the starting job at Florida State. Now, he’s on the brink of a national championship. The Seminoles’ offense is talented, but former first-round draft pick EJ Manuel didn’t find nearly the same success Winston has as a redshirt freshman. Winston set a school record with 38 touchdown passes, while adding four more on the ground. He leads the nation in adjusted QBR (90.9), yards per attempt (10.9) and rating (190.06). In his 13 career games, Winston has thrown for 300 yards seven times and accounted for at least four touchdowns six times. His totals are diminished some because he played every snap in just three of Florida State’s games thanks to a bevy of blowout wins. Winston set the record for touchdowns and passing yards for both ACC quarterbacks and FBS freshman this season, and he has three receivers all within 75 yards of 1,000 on the year.
Heisman moment: There’s a wealth of options to choose from for Winston, so picking one isn’t easy. He announced himself as a contender for the award in his debut, completing 25 of 27 passes against Pitt, accounting for five touchdowns. He unleashed a series of highlight-reel plays in the opening weeks of the season, capped by a 55-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Shaw while under pressure as time expired in the first half against Boston College. Winston played perhaps his best game on his biggest stage, throwing for 444 yards in a blowout of then No. 3 Clemson. And he wrapped up his season -- and the Seminoles’ berth in the VIZIO BCS National Championship Game -- by throwing for 330 yards and racking up four touchdowns in a win over Duke in the ACC title game.