Jameis Winston is one of only 85 people who has ever played the game of football to also own a Heisman Trophy.
So the New Orleans Saints’ quarterback knows and appreciates just how special the award is.
“It’s a privilege,” said Winston, who won it in 2013 as a freshman at Florida State. “There’s not a lot of us. But when you think about the most amazing years in college football, you think about those Heisman winners. I’m definitely honored to be in that talk. I’m honored to be able to have received that award, which is a prestigious award. I’m just grateful.”
Now it’s someone else’s turn to be added to the exclusive fraternity. This year’s award for the most outstanding player in college football will be presented on December 9.
If you’re a football fan in the state of Louisiana, you already know how hot of a topic this year’s award is.
LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels is among the favorites in a field that includes guys like Oregon quarterback Bo Nix, Washington quarterback Michael Penix and Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr.
Winston, as a past winner, gets a vote.
Each voter votes for three players.
Here’s how Winston assessed the field Monday.
“I’m very heavy on quarterbacks,” Winston said. “I believe Michael Penix is having an amazing year. Jordan Travis (Florida State’s quarterback), he’s still going to get one of my votes despite his injury (Saturday). And Jayden Daniels, dude right down the street. Those are my three premier guys, outside of (Southern Cal quarterback) Caleb (Williams) because Caleb’s numbers are still above a lot of people. But right now, I think Michael Penix is playing amazing and better than anybody in college football. Jayden right down the street, he’s doing some incredible things. And Jordan.”
When asked if that was his order, Winston smiled and responded “no specific order.”
Votes have to be submitted on December 4th, the Monday right after conference championship games are played.
With LSU having an 8-3 record, Daniels won’t get to play in the SEC championship game. He has thrown for 3,577 yards, rushed for 1,014 yards and accounted for 46 touchdowns this season for the Tigers. He’ll get to add to that total Saturday when LSU hosts Texas &M in the regular season finale.
“This last week, it’s going to come down to the wire because we have some good games coming,” Winston said.
Despite the rigorous schedule of being an NFL quarterback, Winston says he keeps up with college football throughout the season.
“I try to watch the quarterbacks, especially Jayden, Michael and Jordan,” Winston said. “Jayden just being so close to him (in Baton Rouge), we’ve developed somewhat of a relationship over the past year. Jordan, we have had a previous relationship with just him playing at Florida State. And Michael Penix, we actually train together and did some work in Tampa because he’s a Tampa kid.”
Winston attended Florida State’s game against North Alabama on Saturday and got a chance to watch Travis in person before Travis suffered a season-ending leg injury. An emotional Winston was shown on the sideline after the injury. Winston didn’t want to talk about the injury Monday, but says he offered Travis some words of encouragement.
Winston attended the game and had his No. 5 Florida State jersey retired. His name was unveiled in the ring of honor at Doak S. Campbell Stadium, joining the likes of former Florida State greats like Derrick Brooks, Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke and Warrick Dunn.
“I was grateful,” Winston said. “It was really big to get back there with my old teammates and share that time with them and getting my jersey retired. Being able to get honored with my family and the whole stadium was really sweet.”
It’s been a decade since the freshman from Bessemer, Alabama led Florida State to an undefeated season and a national title.
“Man, 10 years is a long time,” Winston said. “That’s a long time for anybody. Being around my teammates and stuff, I felt young again.”
Winston collected almost every award there was to win that season: the Davey O’Brien Award, the Manning Award, the Walter Camp Award, and the most coveted award in all of college football. In less than three weeks, someone else will get to hoist a Heisman Trophy. Winston will have a smalll say-so in who that someone else is.
Winston laughed when asked how he’s fared in his Heisman voting the past nine years.
“I don’t know what my record is,” Winston said. “But I tell everybody I’m batting a thousand.”