Jameis Winston has become the youngest player in college football history to win the Heisman trophy.
Back in August -- aside from those playing on the Playstation or the XBox -- few could have possibly seen Florida State's redshirt freshman quarterback exploding on to the scene the way he did and capturing a Heisman trophy in just his first season of college football.
He threw 38 touchdown passes. That's more than any quarterback that had ever played at FSU threw for in a single season. That's more than any freshman in college football history had ever thrown for. His 3,820 yards was also an NCAA FBS freshman record.
By the end of the season Winston had written his name all over the Florida State record books, the Atlantic Coast Conference record books and the NCAA record books. It has been a season for the ages for Winston - and he did it without playing past the third quarter of most of Florida State's blowout wins this year.
“I’m so overwhelmed right now,” Winston said shortly after winning the Heisman trophy on Saturday night. “It feels great to be part of the (Heisman) family. I just thank everyone with the Heisman Trust that allowed me to be in it. It feels great. I cannot explain the feeling that I have inside right now. I’m so overwhelmed. Like I said, it’s just awesome.”
Despite his historic season, Winston wasn't without his share of distractions and obstacles. A month long sexual assault investigation stemming from a December 7, 2012 incident likely cost Winston the Maxwell award (AJ McCarron took home the honor on Thursday night) and 13% of Heisman voters left Winston off their ballot entirely.
"Everyone has their own opinion," Winston said of the snubs. "It's basically a numbers game, and I was blessed to have the majority vote."
Added Winston's head coach, Jimbo Fisher: “When you watch someone work so hard for something and be so team-oriented – not individual, it reinforces that the good things happen to the good guys.
“To know what he went through to get up there on that stage, sometimes it hits you. To me – of all the things – that’s why you coach, watching them grow and achieve the things you know they are capable of even when the odds are against them.”
Winston's ability to flourish in Fisher's complicated offense has been what's set him apart from previous Florida State quarterbacks under Fisher. Winston and Fisher are wired similary, they clash on the sidelines and on the practice fields but are able to separate the message from how it's being delivered and have thrived together with the understanding that they have mutual goals.
The results have been unmistakable.
Winston runs Fisher's offense nearly flawlessly, checking effortlessly between plays and trusting in his receivers, backs and tight ends to be where they need to be when they need to be there.
Tight End Nick O'Leary has developed into the most prolific tight end in Florida State history with Winston finding him this season. Kelvin Benjamin, Kenny Shaw and Rashad Greene have all had career years and the Florida State offense is on pace to set a new all-time NCAA scoring record.
"I can't explain how truly intelligent he is," Fisher said. "He always wanted to know why he had success or why he had failure so he could either repeat it or fix it."
Added Winston: "I really believe that people actually just trusted me. People obviously saw us play. But that comes from my team, too."
Winston is now the youngest Heisman trophy winner in the award's history. He is just the second freshman to ever win it and the third Florida State Seminole. Even with nearly one in every seven voters leaving him entirely off their ballot he still won by the seventh largest margin in the award's history.
On January 6th Winston and his Florida State teammates will play for the BCS Championship against Auburn in Pasadena.
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