By Bryan Stauffer
Six years ago we were wowed by college football’s first sophomore Heisman winner in the trophy’s 72-year history, Tim Tebow.
Last year, we saw Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel become the first freshman to ever take home the coveted award.
Five games into the 2013 season, however, it is becoming more and more evident that Manziel may very well not be the last first-year phenom to be named the country’s best player.
With 17 touchdown passes and a mere two interceptions thus far, Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston has caught the attention of every college football fan, and defensive coordinator, in the nation.
His 393 passing yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions and total quarterback rating of 226.6 Saturday against No. 25 Maryland carried the No. 8 Seminoles to a 63-0 victory, their largest victory since their 2012 season opener against Murray State.
Much has been said about the lack of competition Florida State has faced up to this point of the season, having outscored opponents 205-60 before its shellacking of UMD.
But that will all change following the Seminoles’ bye this week, as Winston will be tested against Atlantic Coast Conference foes Clemson, the nation’s third-ranked team, North Carolina State and Miami in consecutive weeks.
Winston is completing a ridiculous 73.2 percent of his passes this season and is among the nation’s best in completion percentage, quarterback rating, touchdowns and yards per attempt – not bad for a kid who turns 20 in January.
What impresses me the most about Winston is his awareness and elusiveness in the pocket, much like that of reigning Heisman winner Johnny Football.
To give you an example of just how special this kid is, on Saturday Winston escaped a collapsing pocket and a would-be sack, rolled out to his right after doing a 360 and connected with tight end Nick O’Leary for a 12-yard touchdown strike.
Florida State was already up 35-0 at this point, but that does not blemish the fact that Winston is a freakish athlete who is only going to get better under head coaching guru Jimbo Fisher.
Every Heisman winner needs a Heisman moment, and Winston may have just found his.
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