Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Colleges

Winston leads field into Heisman ceremony

NEW YORK — If Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston walks off with the Heisman Trophy tonight, he will have won it over an impressive group of finalists.

Winston is the favorite to win the trophy awarded annually to the nation's most outstanding college football player. After passing for 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns, he is poised to become only the second freshman to win.

For the Bessemer, Ala., native, the chance to have his name etched among the game's all-time elite players is an opportunity to pay homage to those who have helped him get this far.

"It will be an honor," he said. "If that happens, just to look in the stands and see my family and my coach. … 'Hey, I made you happy, I made you proud.' It's not really for me, it's for my teammates. My teammates, they're going to like that because my teammates want me to get it. My family, of course they want me to get it. It's more about them than me."

Six finalists will be in New York, the largest field since 1994. Among them is a 2,000-yard rusher (Andre Williams of Boston College), a two-time national championship starting quarterback (AJ McCarron of Alabama), and the reigning Heisman winner (Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel) who last year became the first freshman to win the award.

"Of course it made me feel good," McCarron said of being a finalist. "I kind of smiled, proved a lot of people wrong. But I also feel like I earned it and I deserve it. I mean, if you look at the three years of me starting, I'll put my numbers up with anybody in the country — consistent. "

No one is more surprised to be among the invited than Williams. With 2,102 yards he is the first 2,000-yard rusher in NCAA Division I-A since UConn's Donald Brown had 2,083 in 2008. "It's really kind of surreal," Williams said. "It seems fake to me."

For Manziel, who is pondering whether to return for his junior season, the possibility of having the award presented to another redshirt freshman is "a neat deal."

As a Heisman winner, Manziel had the opportunity and the right to vote for himself. He said he tried to be objective: "I am allowed to vote for myself, but I did not vote for myself in first or second place."

For Winston, the ceremony is the latest event in an eventful month. On Dec. 5 the State Attorney's Office in Tallahassee completed an investigation into a sexual assault complaint and concluded there was not enough evidence to charge Winston. The allegations caused many to question whether Winston should win the award if the matter wasn't concluded. Winston maintained his innocence, and his play on the field never wavered as he led the Seminoles to the ACC title two days after the state attorney's announcement.

"I knew I did nothing wrong," Winston, 19, said Friday. "I knew I could respect the process and I'd eventually be vindicated. It was more about me being silent for my family because I didn't want to put my family in those situations."

Coach Jimbo Fisher has not lobbied for Winston but said if he could make a compelling case.

"I think when you talk about the Heisman, you talk about great players," Fisher said. "I define great players like this: It's a great performance over a long period of time and the consistency which you play with, and I think the thing that he has done from start to finish, he's been consistent throughout the year. … I don't know if anybody in America has done that more so than he has. … So from that standpoint I think Jameis is definitely out in front of that category."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Comments
FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

Published: 12/10/17
Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

NEW YORK — Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, completing a climb from walk-on to one of the most accomplished players in the history of college football. Mayfield won a lopsided vote to become the sixth Okla...
Published: 12/09/17
Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

TAMPA — His team was in Ann Arbor, practicing. He was signing footballs in Tampa.Yet another Jim Harbaugh fun fact."I can’t be in two places at once," Harbaugh said.Not that Harbaugh wouldn’t try it if he could. College football’s firestarter, its bi...
Published: 12/08/17

Gasparilla Bowl journal: Temple’s Collins speaks highly of former boss, new Gator Mullen

ST. PETE BEACH — If anyone has an accurate read on how new coach Dan Mullen will fare at Florida, it’s Temple’s Geoff Collins.Collins worked under Mullen as a Mississippi State assistant from 2011-14. He jumped from there to Gainesville, where he spe...
Published: 12/07/17
No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

GAINESVILLE — Aundre Jackson scored 23, Cameron Krutwig added 14 and Loyola-Chicago stunned No. 5 Florida 63-59 Wednesday, handing the Gators a third consecutive loss. Less than 48 hours after Florida coach Mike White said his team’s performance agai...
Published: 12/06/17
Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

No matter what happens on the field at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, the star of the show will be the bloomin’ onion. Not the deliciously crispy, glistening, 1,900-plus-calorie appetizer served at Outback restaurants, but the person who parades t...
Published: 12/06/17
Indiana hoops transplant perfectly at home in Tampa

Indiana hoops transplant perfectly at home in Tampa

TAMPA — Back home in Indiana, he was basketball royalty. He played in his first league at age 2. He lived — and loved — the hardwood life. He was accustomed to performing before more than 10,000 fans for his big games.Pat Bacon capped his storied pre...
Published: 12/06/17
Offensive guru Heupel is named UCF coach

Offensive guru Heupel is named UCF coach

UCF hired Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel as football coach.Heupel quickly hired former UF interim coach Randy Shannon as defensive coordinator.Heupel, 39, was a consensus All-American quarterback who led Oklahoma to the 2000 national titl...
Published: 12/05/17
At Hall of Fame induction, Steve Spurrier and Peyton Manning share respect

At Hall of Fame induction, Steve Spurrier and Peyton Manning share respect

NEW YORK — After the class picture of the latest Hall of Fame inductees was taken, Peyton Manning made his way over to Steve Spurrier for another handshake and some chit-chat before heading off in opposite directions to do media interviews. The forme...
Published: 12/05/17
FSU upsets No. 5 Florida, its fourth straight win over Gators

FSU upsets No. 5 Florida, its fourth straight win over Gators

GAINESVILLE — Terance Mann scored 25, CJ Walker added 17 and Florida State upset No. 5 Florida 83-66 on Monday night to remain undefeated. The Seminoles (7-0) also extended their winning streak against the Gators (5-2) to four, their longest in the 6...
Published: 12/04/17