Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Jameis Winston picks Noles over Tide
By Jamie Newberg ESPN Recruiting
The nation's No. 1 quarterback has joined the nation's No. 1 player and eight other members of the ESPNU 150 in committing to Florida State.
Jameis Winston (Hueytown,
Ala./Hueytown) announced Wednesday on ESPNU that he had chosen the Seminoles over the home-state Crimson Tide and LSU.
"Well you know it's been tough, tough the whole time," Winston said on ESPNU. "I feel confident in my decision. I think I want to be a Florida State Seminole."
For now Jameis Winston is committed to play football at FSU, but baseball remains an option.
It came down to feel for Winston.
"I am just comfortable and that's where I wanted to be," Winston said. "God has blessed me the whole way. I see myself there in the near future."
Defensive end Mario Edwards (Denton, Texas/Billy Ryan), the nation's top prospect, pledged to the Seminoles in March.
Winston's hometown is ony about 50 miles from Tuscaloosa. The young man understands his decision won't be popular.
"Alabama fans are going to hate me," Winston said. "But I am not worried about pleasing fans or people. I just want to help my team win a state championship."
Winston, 6-3 and 195 pounds, is the nation's No. 11 overall prospect. He's sensational in two sports -- football and baseball. For now, because it's August, that means the focus is on football. With Hueytown's fall camp starting Thursday morning, Hueytown coach Mark Scott gets Winston for one more season.
"I think the No. 1 thing that stands out about Jameis is how competitive he is," Scott said. "He's so physically and mentally tough. Sometimes those guys don't like to mix it up, but Jameis has got the mentality of a linebacker. I have never been around someone that competitive. Then you factor in all his athletic ability and you have something special.
"Jameis can throw the ball as well as anyone in nation and he can run the ball as well as anyone in the nation. He can fit any system. He can be that pocket passer or run a Cam Newton style of offense."
WINSTON TO FSU
Jameis Winston, who's No. 11 in the ESPNU 150 and the No. 1 QB, committed to Florida State over Alabama and LSU.
How he fits: The Seminoles head into the 2011 season with E.J. Manuel at quarterback but still possess a need at the position. While the Seminoles already have a commit from four-star quarterback Sean Maguire, there is still a need for Winston. (Maguire is also a good get for FSU as Winston's prowess on the baseball field could delay his development and possibly even prevent him from ever playing a down in college.) Winston is a player who needs some development as a quarterback, but he's a nice fit for a program under Jimbo Fisher, who has targeted and landed athletic and speedy players. Also keep in mind Winston is the fourth FSU commit from Alabama, adding a little fuel to the recruiting rivalry between the Crimson Tide, which has the No. 3 class in the country, and the Seminoles, who sit one spot ahead of them.
Some believe Winston has more of a future at football, while others believe he's destined for the major leagues. Regardless, Scott believes baseball has not taken anything away from his football growth.
"The summer before his junior year Jameis never missed any workout or anything regarding football because of baseball," Scott said. "This past summer he may have missed a day or two. Even so, people have to understand and realize that Jameis is such a quick study on everything and so far advanced physically. He can recognize coverages and make reads faster than anyone I have ever been around."
Baseball scouts like Winston as a centerfielder or pitcher and this past season he also played shortstop. In one game he hit a home run from both sides of the plate and during the state all-star game Winston hit a grand slam. While he could play both sports for FSU, the allure of professional baseball might be too much to pass up.
"Jameis tells me he wants to play both in college," Scott said. "But I know he will be a first rounder and the thing everyone talks about around here is just how high? I know one thing, Jameis Winston loves football that much. If baseball pays him $3 million when he signs he will be crying because he knows he will really miss the game of football. In the end, it will take a whole lot of money to get him out of football. But that's something we can all figure out when that time comes."
Florida State now has 16 commitments for its 2012 class.
Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.