Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Colleges

What does Jameis Winston do for encore?

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston dominated college football in his first season as the starting quarterback, finishing a record-setting season with the Heisman Trophy and a national championship. So what can he do for an encore? The redshirt sophomore embraced the big stage last season immediately. In his prime time debut as the starter, he finished 25-for-27 for 356 yards and four touchdowns. In his final game, he led the Seminoles on an 80-yard drive and threw the winning pass to give FSU its third national title. But the stakes will be even higher this season, in what could be his final one in Tallahassee. He's the center of college football and the unquestioned leader of the near-unanimous No. 1 team.

"It's all about what you do now," coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters recently at ACC media days. "You have to live in the moment, you have to proceed to the future, learn from our past experiences, and grow from them, and then be hungry enough to go play great football this fall."

Here's a look at Winston and what history tells us could happen this season:

Best-case scenario

Winston wins another Heisman, and FSU wins another national title.

Ohio State running back Archie Griffin is the only two-time winner of the award (1974-75), and only three quarterbacks since 1994 have led teams to back-to-back titles: Nebraska (and Bradenton Manatee alumnus) Tommie Frazier, Alabama's AJ McCarron and Southern Cal's Matt Leinart.

Seminole fans won't like the best example for Winston to follow: Florida's Tim Tebow. A year after becoming the first sophomore to win the Heisman, he led the Gators to the 2008 national title and was third in Heisman balloting.

Worst-case scenario

Winston gets sidelined, due to injuries or off-the-field issues.

He has a durable 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame, but there's a reason (according to Yahoo) he took out an insurance policy of at least seven figures. Oklahoma fans know all about this risk.

Sam Bradford won the 2008 Heisman and took the Sooners to the national title game, where they lost to Florida. After turning down the NFL draft for another year of college, he sprained his throwing shoulder in the opener and injured it again a few weeks later. Oklahoma's 8-5 record was its worst in a decade.

In two years at FSU, Winston has also drawn off-the-field headlines with five run-ins with police, ranging from silly (being accused of stealing soda at Burger King) to serious (sexual assault allegations). He was not arrested in any of the incidents, although he performed community service after being cited for shoplifting seafood from Publix.

Returning Heisman winners

Winston finished last season with 4,057 passing yards, 40 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. If he follows the model of recent Heisman-winning quarterbacks who returned (excluding Bradford's injury-filled season), Winston would finish with 3,977 yards and about the same number of touchdowns and picks.

Team, SchoolStats from Heisman seasonStats from following season
Jason White, Oklahoma (2003-04)3,846 passing yards, 40 TDs, 10 INTs3,205 yards, 35 TDs, 9 INTs
Matt Leinart, USC (2004-05)3,322 passing yards, 33 TDs, 6 INTs3,815 yards, 28 TDs, 8 INTs
Tim Tebow, Florida (2007-08)3,286 passing yards, 32 TDs, 895 rushing yards, 23 TDs2,746 passing yards, 30 TDs, 673 rushing yards, 12 TDs
Sam Bradford, (2008-09), Oklahoma4,720 passing yards, 50 TDs, 8 INTs562 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Johnny Manziel (2012-13), Texas A&M3,706 passing yards, 26 TDs, 1,410 rushing yards, 21 TDs4,114 passing yards, 37 TDs, 759 rushing yards, 9 TDs

Jimbo on Jameis

"I think he's continually getting better fundamentally,'' Fisher (above right) said during ACC media days. ''I think as a player you have to continue to grow yourself physically, and his footwork, his eye movement, his eye control, looking guys off even more. And I think understanding defenses even that much better, recognizing certain things, blitzes, scenarios, that much quicker because he can process the game and get the ball out even quicker, which he does tremendously now. But I think you can always get better in those things, and I think being patient — it's going to be a challenge to be patient because people aren't going to try and give up big plays to him this year, but acknowledge them when they're there, and just making sure you don't get bored with the game."

Ward on Winston

If anyone in the Panhandle knows what Winston will go through, it's Charlie Ward. The two-sport star shined in 1992 to raise expectations for himself and the Seminoles, then led FSU to the national title the next year and won the Heisman. Now the head coach at Pensacola's Washington High, Ward has helped mentor Winston.

"He understands what winning the Heisman has done, just from living the last few months — all the scrutiny and notoriety that goes with it … " Ward said. "I do know he understands what this season is about. If anyone's going to put pressure on themselves, it would be him to go out and do the best. He's competitive. He wants to win every game, everything that he does. He's going to push those other guys to do that. He's not going to be complacent with where they are. He's going to push, and coaches are going to push him, and they're going to push each other to go get better."

Comments
Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Florida Gators defensive lineman Cece Jefferson will be out four months after having surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week, according to a report Wednesday evening from the Gainesville Sun.Jefferson, a 6-foot-1, 242-pound senior, injured th...
Published: 04/18/18
Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Tuesday evening's news that quarterback Jake Allen plans to transfer from the Florida Gators isn't a surprise.Allen, a former three-star recruit in 2017, was fourth on the depth chart. The St. Thomas Aquinas product didn't seem to fit new coach ...
Published: 04/18/18
Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

When former Wharton High star Auden Tate hears his name called sometime next week, he'll join a surprisingly small group.Recent Florida State receivers drafted into the NFL.Over the past decade, only two Seminoles receivers have been drafted: Rashad ...
Published: 04/18/18
Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Tallahassee police suspected Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois possessed marijuana with the intent to sell it when they executed a search warrant on his home last week, according to an affidavit.The case — which culminated Thursda...
Published: 04/17/18
Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Even as Florida State was finishing its first recruiting class under Willie Taggart, the Seminoles were already talking about what they could do in the new staff's first full cycle, for 2019."I can only imagine having a year here to be able to recrui...
Published: 04/17/18
Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

TALLAHASSEE – Florida State running back Khalan Laborn's breakout 140-yard output in Saturday night's spring game was a sign of what could be for the former blue-chip recruit.It was also a reminder of what almost wasn't for the Seminoles.With a...
Published: 04/16/18
New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

Steve Spurrier will make one of his first appearances in his new role with the Alliance of American Football tomorrow in Orlando.The league will welcome Spurrier as the coach of its Orlando team at an event at Ember (42 W Central Blvd.) at an event f...
Published: 04/16/18
Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

TALLAHASSEE – Judging by the crowd for Florida State's spring game on Saturday, Seminoles fans are excited about the dawn of the Willie Taggart era.The official attendance of 53,974 — a new record for a spring game — inclu...
Published: 04/14/18
Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

GAINESVILLE —It took some time, but the offense scored points in bunches, much to the delight of the 53,015 in attendance at Florida's spring game.And the Gators had fun doing it, pulling out all the stops with gadgets and celebrations that bro...
Published: 04/14/18
FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois agreed to a pre-arrest diversion program after police found 17 grams of a cannabis/tobacco blend in his bedroom Thursday afternoon.The Tallahassee Police Department previously received a report of drug activ...
Published: 04/13/18