Manning Award goes to FSU's Jameis Winston
NEW ORLEANS (AP)
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has one more award to add to his collection.
Winston was announced Wednesday as the winner of the Manning Award, given annually to the nation's top quarterback. The award comes two days after Winston led Florida State to a 34-31 victory over Auburn in the BCS championship game.
"It means a lot just to have Manning next to my name, to have my name next to Manning, with the accolades that Peyton, Eli and Mr. (Archie) Manning have had in college and professional football," Winston said. "That makes me so happy. It really makes my day for me to be able to get announced as the winner of this award."
The Manning Award is the only annual quarterback award that takes a player's bowl performance into consideration. That distinguishes it from the Davey O'Brien Award, another honor given annually to the nation's top college quarterback. Winston, the Heisman Trophy winner, also was named the recipient of the Davey O'Brien Award last month.
At a teleconference announcing Winston as the winner, College Football Hall of Famer Archie Manning called Winston "the total package."
"He's got great command out there," Manning said. "He kind of scans the field. He's certainly capable of tucking it and running, but he doesn't do it too quick. He goes through his options. I just thought he showed so much in really his first year in big-time football there. This game, especially the quarterback position, it's about repetition and experience. And he led the team like he did in his first year as a starting quarterback, and rallied them (to) winning all their games and a national championship just speaks highly for him."
Manning, a former baseball player in his own right, said he's partial to football stars who also play baseball. Winston says he plans to return to Florida State's baseball team this spring and noted that that having another sport to keep him busy could help him deal with all the distractions he might encounter heading into the 2014 football season.
Winston also said he's ready for the pressure and demands sure to come his way now that he's an award-winning quarterback of a national championship team.
"I love life," Winston said. "I'm not going to change (anything) about myself. I probably can't do as many things as I would want to because people are always being there and whatever, but I don't think (anything) about me is going to change. Having all the awards and stuff, that's a blessing, but one thing that makes me happy is I get to try to do it again next year. All the people who say (there's) all the pressure and stuff, that motivates me to just get past and get through all that stuff and get back to football season."
This marks the fourth straight year the Heisman Trophy winner also has earned the Manning Award. The award went to Auburn's Cam Newton after the 2010 season, Baylor's Robert Griffin III two years ago and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel last season.
This latest award capped a thrilling week for Winston, who passed for 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman this season.
Winston completed 20 of 35 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions against Auburn. He led a game-winning drive in the last 79 seconds of the title game, completing 6 of 7 passes for 77 yards, including his 2-yard touchdown pass Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left.
"It's been surreal," Winston said.
Winston is the 10th winner of the Manning Award, which is presented by the Sugar Bowl. Other previous winners included Southern California's Matt Leinart, Texas' Vince Young, LSU's JaMarcus Russell, Boston College's Matt Ryan, Florida's Tim Tebow and Texas' Colt McCoy.