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December 9, 2013

Winston officially named Heisman finalist

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Jameis Winston is going to New York.

The nation's most prolific freshman passer - and FSU's starting quarterback - was officially named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy on Monday evening. The other finalists are Jordan Lynch from Northern Illinois, Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M, A.J. McCarron at Alabama, Tre Mason at Auburn and Andre Williams from Boston College.

Winston has set numerous passing records for both FSU, the ACC and the NCAA this season en route to leading FSU to the national title game and the No. 1 ranking in the BCS. Winston has set national freshman records for passing yards (3,820), passing touchdowns (38). He has a passer rating of 190.06, just below the all-time efficiency mark of Russell Wilson when Wilson was at Wisconsin.

Winston said on Saturday after the ACC title game that he was more focused on FSU's national title hopes than the Heisman.

"Our team is trying to make history," Winston said. "We're not trying to look at individual stats and things like that. We're trying to do something so much bigger than this."

Winston also is in select company at FSU, holding the all-time record for most passing touchdowns in a season. To get that record, he passed another Seminole Heisman winner in Chris Weinke. After the ACC title game, FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said Winston is the best in the country.

"I'm going to say this: if he's not, then it's a short roll call, I promise you that," Fisher said after Winston tossed 330 yards and three touchdowns in the ACC title game. "But he's one of them. He's a very dynamic player. He's fun to coach. What I love about him, you see his emotions. You see his competitive fire about him. But that guy is so smart and makes plays and even though he wasn't on his "A" game today, he was able to come back. To me he's a tremendous, tremendous player."

Winston's stats have remained gaudy even in recent weeks as he waited through a three-week long investigation by the Florida State Attorney's office into a sexual assault complaint in which he was implicated. Winston was not charged in the case, State Attorney Willie Meggs announced last Thursday.

If the investigation didn't rattle Winston on the field, it also doesn't appear to have rattled Heisman voters from including Winston on their ballots. Winston remains a runaway favorite for the Heisman in most projections.



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