Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

December 25, 2013

Seminoles QB WInston wins AP player of the year

Tallahassee, Fla. — The Winter of Winston continues for Florida State’s redshirt freshman quarterback.

Jameis Winston is The Associated Press national player of the year, adding to his cadre of postseason accolades.

He’s this year’s Heisman Trophy winner, the Walter Camp national player of the year, the Davey O’Brien quarterback of the year and the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year.

Seminole football fans should send a thank you note to Florida State’s baseball program.

If not for coach Mike Martin Sr. and one of his assistants, Mike Martin Jr., Winston — a two-sport athlete — might not be preparing to lead the No.1-ranked Seminoles against No. 2 Auburn in the BCS championship game Jan. 6 with the opportunity to bring a third

national title back to the Florida State campus.

When Winston won the Heisman he thanked the usual cast of family, coaches and teammates.

Then there was the thanks to “Eleven” and “Meat.” Most of the country ignored the peculiar names, but Winston wouldn’t have attended Florida State without the warm relationship between football coach Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State baseball coaching staff.  “Eleven” — otherwise known as baseball coach Martin Sr., who has led the program for 34 years, and “Meat” — Martin Jr.

Martin Jr. was on a recruiting trip to watch Winston during his junior year of high school when he called to let Fisher know. Fisher actually had tape of Winston on his desk at the time and decided to put it in. About 30 minutes later, Fisher called Martin Jr. back and said, “Don’t let him get away.”

Winston hit a game-winning home run that day.

“Jimbo Fisher deserves the credit for giving the young man the opportunity to display his talents in another sport,” Martin Sr. said.

Fisher covets players that come from diverse backgrounds where football wasn’t their only sport.

He actively looks for athletes that play numerous positions on the football field and play different sports.

“It makes you a different kind of competitor,” Fisher said. “You learn to learn the different situations. Handle different pressures. Handle noise. Handle quiet. Different games are played in different ways and in different environments. ... You’re constantly competing and you don’t get in that rut of you only get it once a year. I think when you’re getting it two and three different times of year, the more you’re in competitive situations, the more you find out about yourself. ...

“Every time you compete you learn something about yourself. I think it’s very good for athletes to do. I wish more athletes were multi-sport guys than they are now.”

Just like the Heisman voting, Winston was a landslide winner in AP player of the year voting. He received 49 out of 56 votes cast by AP Top 25 college football poll voters.

Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch received three votes. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron got two votes. Boston College running back Andre Williams and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard each received one vote.

Winston is the first Florida State player to win the award, which has been handed out since 1998, and the first from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Florida State and Winston continued to excel despite a sexual assault investigation that became public last month. The State Attorney’s Office announced that it would not press charges before the ACC championship game.

Bo Jackson, the 1985 Heisman winner, was also a two-sport star from Winston’s hometown of Bessemer, Ala. The 19-year-old Winston said after the Heisman ceremony that he wants to better than Jackson. The Texas Rangers drafted Winston in the 15th round of the 2012 MLB draft, but he elected to go to school.

Winston will compete for the closer job for the No. 5-ranked Seminoles when baseball begins.

He has a fastball that reaches 93-95 miles per hour and throws a slider for strikes. Martin Sr. said there are no restrictions on the quarterback outside of the normal rest for pitchers. Winston is poised to become the sixth winner in Heisman history to play collegiate baseball after winning the award and the first since Jackson in 1986, according to STATS LLC.

Martin Sr. believes Winston could be the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB draft if he was to singularly focus on baseball, but the coach doesn’t want that. He sees Winston as a first-round pick in both baseball and football.

“I never want him to devote full time to baseball because then I would miss out on his talent in football,” Martin Sr. said. “He’s just one of those rare athletes that only come around once in a blue moon.”

Winston said baseball helped him “a lot with football because baseball is a failing game. As a quarterback you have to handle every situation the same.

“So when I throw a touchdown I’ll celebrate and whatnot but when I throw  a pick I keep my head up and say my fault guys and move on and keep stuff going. Baseball helped me with that.”

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • VHS practice1.jpg Getting Back to Work

    Friday officially began the 2014 season for the Valdosta Wildcats and both the offense and defense came out and made statements.
    After holding spring and summer workouts, the Wildcats will practice four more times without pads before beginning full pad practice next week.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lowndes_Brooks1.jpg Lowndes second-most dominant program in state since 2004

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Falcons_Jones.jpg Falcons open camp with ‘sense of urgency’

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Padres_braves.jpg Padres, Hahn silence Braves

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former Blazer Kugbila out for season

    Now, after missing the 2013 season with a knee injury, this signals another hardship for the promising guard.

    July 25, 2014

  • LHS baseball signing Two Lowndes grads sign scholarships

    Lowndes graduates Henry Hoff and Nick Higginbotham decided to take the next step in their respective baseball careers together on Thursday as both signed a letter-of-intent with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 150723-Lowndes_Brooks5.jpg Winding Down

    In its final 7-on-7 test of the summer, Randy McPherson was pleased with how the Lowndes football team looked Wednesday morning.
    Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman, on the other hand, was worried about the kind of hole the Trojans would have dug for themselves at Martin Stadium against the Vikings and Lafayette (Fla.) had it been a real game.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Grable signs with Tampa Bay

    Another former Valdosta State football player joined the ranks of the National Football League when linebacker Jeremy Grable signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday morning.

    July 23, 2014

  • MaryAlice.jpg Just Keep Running

    Forrest Gump once said, "I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere." In the case of 18 year-old Mary Alice Smoot, anywhere is Tampa, Fla.
    After four years of unparalleled success running cross-country at Valwood, Smoot will continue running competitively next season at the University of Tampa.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10U ELITE World Series Champs.jpg DKSA Elite win USSSA Global World Series

    DKSA ELITE just continues to win, the 10U team’s latest victory came in the USSSA Global World Series held in Destin, Fla. July 8-12.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Blazers Blog
More