Jameis Winston, Florida State, Wins 2013 Heisman Trophy

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: December 14, 2013 9:24 PM
Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston

As so many predicted, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has won the 79th Heisman Trophy Award.

Winston, youngest player ever to win college football's premier award, received 668 first-place votes -- a landslide -- announced during a ceremony in New York City Saturday night.

Winston topped fellow finalists A.J. McCarron, Tre Mason, Andre Williams, Johnny Manziel and Jordan Lynch to take home the award. McCarron finished second with Lynch third, Williams fourth, Manziel fifth and Mason sixth. All of the players put up great numbers -- and Mason in particular finished strong -- but none of it was enough to close the gap between Winston and everyone else.

Smiling broadly, the redshirt freshman thanked God, his parents, his school, fellow Seminole players, the Heisman committee and past trophy winners in attendance. To get a complete look at the ESPN on-stage interview with Winston after he was selected, see this clip.

He will celebrate his 20th birthday on the day he leads Florida State into the Rose Bowl to play Auburn for the national championship.

Florida knows Jameis Winston as Famous Jameis. But 10 years ago, and all through high school, he was known as Jaboo.

Winston grew up in the Birmingham, Ala., area. Those who knew him have said all along this day wouldn't surprise them. His talent, intelligence and the competitiveness were identified years ago and the boy was nurtured for years as a prodigy.

As a 12-year-old growing up in Hueytown, Ala., he wrote in a notebook the characteristics of being a good quarterback and how to attack a Cover 2 defense.

Matt Scott, Winston's coach at Hueytown High School for his final three years, witnessed the uniqueness of Winston at their first practice together. That hot morning in July 2009 was supposed to be a relaxed throwing session with Scott, Winston and a teammate catching passes.

"The guy drops the ball and Jameis grabs him by the shirt and says, 'You're a senior, catch the ball!'" Scott told Al.com. "I'm like, man, this is a different guy."

Otis Leverette, a former NFL player who trained Winston, witnessed the plan, too. Antonor Winston, Jameis' father, was willing to put his son into tough environments growing up and not be an overprotective parent, Leverette said.

"People want to believe that Jameis is just some type of novelty that fell out of the sky," Leverette said. "But the kid went through a ton of preparation to get to this point. Jameis' dad allowed him to go through some things and put him out there, and that's where you see his mental toughness."

Al.com says of Winston, "He's goofy and confident. He's intelligent and fierce. He's a football star and a baseball standout. Perhaps most of all, he's complex."

The New York City ceremony comes after a turbulent month in which a sexual assault investigation involving Winston that began in 2012 surfaced publicly. Winston's lawyer said the sex was consensual. Florida's State Attorney William Meggs declined to charge Winston last week, saying there was insufficient evidence to go to trial.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. 

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