TALLAHASSEE — Despite playing in only four games, Jameis Winston is quickly becoming a legend around Tallahassee.
But one of the people most responsible isn't around to witness it first hand. Buffalo Bills rookie EJ Manuel's influence in Tallahassee remains.
Winston's exploits are well documented. His debut against Pittsburgh captured attention and sparked talk of him following Johnny Manziel as a freshman Heisman Trophy winner. His touchdown launch before the half against Boston College became the Sportscenter No. 1 play that day.
Only a year ago Winston and Manuel were sharing the depth chart that listed Manuel as the No. 1 and Winston as possibly the No. 4 with an "R" next to it for redshirt.
Manuel had his eyes on bringing FSU back to national prominence and his future in the NFL, but allowed Winston along for the ride.
"Jameis is like a little brother to me," Manuel said. "I'm extremely happy he came to Florida State and he was able to work with me and the rest of us for a year."
Winston is also extremely happy as the stuff that he learned from the former Seminoles starting quarterback is what allowing him to be so successful this quickly.
"EJ taught me three things — being calm, cool and collected," Winston said. "All the time, EJ was calm. Even when things went bad he was cool. And he always was obtaining information, and that helped me a lot."
Manuel was the same level-headed guy in every situation, whether the Seminoles were up big on Duke or trading blows with Clemson. He kept a cool head, and the trait can now be seen in Winston.
Winston has trailed in the second quarter in three games, but his demeanor hasn't changed in those situations. He has stayed calm, cool and collected just as Manuel would and eventually led FSU to victory.
What he learned didn't end there.
"The effort that (EJ) put into preparation was huge," backup quarterback Jacob Coker said. "I (and Winston) got to watch that and really learn how to get ready for a game."
"Just being able to watch EJ and see how he managed things as a quarterback was tremendous on me, especially coming in as highly recruited as I was," Winston added.
Many highly recruited players come in entitled and possibly a little self-centered. It's hard to see those characteristics in Winston, but by the way Manuel carried himself he made sure they never would be. Manuel was humble and team-oriented, and now so is Winston.
Winston is quick to pass credit to his wide receivers and linemen when he's getting accolades and quick to take the blame when others make mistakes, something that would surely make Manuel proud.
After Saturday's win against Boston College, Winston gave shout-outs to all his skill position players and his offensive line when asked about the Flutie-esque play he made that he was getting so much credit for.
Manuel nearly did the same following his win Sunday against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
"I'm very satisfied that we won," Manuel said. "It's still a team game. It's a team effort. I'm not going to put everything on myself."
Through demeanor, preparation and handling of the media, many similarities can be seen between the two, but it could be when the ball is snapped that the two differ the most.
Winston is constantly looking to throw deep, with a yards-per-attempt average above 10 in three games this season.
Manuel reached that four times during his senior season, relying heavily on checkdowns.
Away from football, Winston is also a lot more of a "goofball," as teammates describe him with no disrespect, having a reported love of "cheeseballs" and making funny videos on Vine. Manuel had a sense of humor but would never be called a "goofball."
Manuel finished his FSU career 25-6 as a starter, leading the Seminoles to their first ACC title since 2005 and with a 4-0 bowl record (including the program's first BCS bowl since 2000). He was the first quarterback taken in the 2013 draft.
If Winston continues on his path using the tutelage that Manuel instilled in him, he could create his own legend.