It has been a year of denying rape allegations, getting into trouble for stealing crab legs from a grocery store and facing discipline for participating in an obscene prank on campus—events that make many shake their heads about Jameis Winston and wonder about his character.
What no one has to wonder about is Winston’s talent. With all that swirling around him, Winston has stayed steady on the field at Florida State, leading the Seminoles to another perfect season headed into college football’s first playoffs.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has not been mentioned among the candidates for college football’s top individual honor. Well, Winston should be on the list.
He does not have the numbers of last year’s mind-blowing 40 touchdowns against 10 interception. But the way he has led his team with all defenses designed to stop him has been impressive. Three times he led FSU to dramatic come-from-behind wins.
Saturday night, in the ACC championship, a game during which his defense could not stop Georgia Tech, Winston matched the Yellow Jackets point-for-point, and eventually pulled out a 37-35 victory. He passed for 309 yards and three touchdowns. No interceptions. No way to measure his poise, leadership and confidence.
That’s where he has the advantage over others listed, including Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, running back Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin, receiver Amari Cooper of Alabama and Trevone Boykin, quarterback of TCU.
They posted lofty numbers and are deserving of the attention they are receiving. . . and maybe even the Heisman.
What none of them have shown is an ability to ignore outside drama when they step onto the field. They have not had to face police, face a student inquiry or be questioned about his maturity weekly, as Winston has. Now, he’s brought that on himself, for sure.
But it all could have crushed a lesser talent and a weaker young man. Winston has maintained and flourished. That’s worth Heisman consideration.