Jan. 8, 2014
NEW ORLEANS-- Jameis Winston, fresh off leading his Florida State team to the BCS National Championship, has been selected as the 2013-14 winner of the Manning Award, presented by the Allstate Sugar Bowl to the top quarterback in the nation. The Manning Award, now in its 10th year, was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that takes into consideration the candidates' bowl performances in its balloting. The award is voted on by a panel of local and national media, as well as each of the Mannings.
"On behalf of the Manning family and my sons Peyton and Eli, we want to thank the Allstate Sugar Bowl for creating this award," said Archie Manning. "We like to think this award is a little unique because we wait until after the bowl games to recognize the best quarterback in the country for the entire year. We are truly honored to present this award to Jameis Winston after an outstanding year as a quarterback at Florida State. He had an undefeated team that climaxed with a great win in Pasadena on Monday night."
"It means a lot to have my name next to `Manning,'" Winston said. "With the accolades that Peyton and Eli and Mr. Manning have had in college and in professional football, it makes me so happy to get announced as the winner of this award."
This year's Heisman Trophy winner following the regular season, Winston added to his accomplishments by being named the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the BCS National Championship on Monday evening. With the Seminoles trailing 31-27 with 1:11 to go in the game, Winston took charge from his own 20-yard line, completing 5-of-6 passes to get his team to the two-yard line before finding Kelvin Benjamin for a two-yard touchdown connection to clinch the title with 13 seconds remaining.
"I think Jameis is the total package," Manning said. "I love his athleticism; I'm a little partial, I like baseball players too, a hundred years ago, I played baseball in college too. He has great command out there; he scans the field; he's capable of tucking and running, but he doesn't do it too quick; he goes through his options. Winning all of his games and the national championship sure speaks highly of him."
Winston, who also plays baseball for Florida State, is the second freshman to earn the honor, joining last year's honoree, Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M. He is also the second Atlantic Coast Conference player to be selected (joining Boston College's Matt Ryan from 2007-08) and the fifth national champion to win the honor (joining Matt Leinart, 2004-05; Vince Young, 2005-06; Tim Tebow, 2008-09; and Cam Newton, 2010-11).
A product of Bessamer, Ala., Winston set the ACC and FBS freshman record for touchdown passes (40) and the freshman mark for passing yards (4,057), while leading the nation in total quarterback rating (85.8) and pass efficiency rating (184.8). In addition to becoming the first freshman to capture the ACC Player of the Year award in the 61-year history of the Atlantic Coast Conference, he was a consensus All-American, the Walter Camp National Player of the Year and the Davey O'Brien Quarterback of the Year.
Winston opened the 2013 season and his career by completing the first 11 passes he threw in a nationally televised Labor Day evening game at Pittsburgh and never slowed down. He tallied seven 300-yard passing games and threw three touchdowns in a game eight times. A seven-time ACC Rookie of the Week, Winston's signature performance came at No. 3 Clemson where he led FSU to a 51-14 victory over the Tigers by throwing for career-best 444 yards and three touchdowns and added a rushing score.
He vaulted FSU into the National Championship Game by throwing for 330 yards and accounting for four total touchdowns to earn ACC Championship Game MVP honors in a 45-7 win over Duke.
Winston is also the first freshman quarterback ever to lead his team to 13 wins, finishing with 14 including the national championship victory.
The other finalists for this year's Manning Award were: Tajh Boyd (Sr., Clemson), Teddy Bridgewater (Jr., Louisville), Derek Carr (Sr., Fresno State), Jordan Lynch (Sr., Northern Illinois), Johnny Manziel (So., Texas A&M), Marcus Mariota (So., Oregon), AJ McCarron (Sr., Alabama), Aaron Murray (Sr., Georgia) and Bryce Petty (Jr., Baylor).
USC's Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner of the Manning Award in 2005, followed by Texas' Vince Young in 2006. Both went on to be top 10 NFL draft picks. In 2007, LSU's JaMarcus Russell earned the award and was the NFL's No. 1 draft pick. Boston College's Matt Ryan claimed the award in 2008 and was drafted No. 3, quickly becoming the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. In 2009, Florida star Tim Tebow earned the honor - he also went on to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The 2010 winner was Texas signal-caller Colt McCoy, then the winningest quarterback in college football history, who was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the draft. McCoy was followed by top-two NFL Draft picks - Auburn's Cameron Newton earned the award in 2011, prior to being selected No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers and then Robert Griffin, III, from Baylor, was the 2012 winner prior to being the No. 2 overall pick by the Washington Redskins. This past season's winner was Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel, who was the first freshman to earn the honor.
Jameis Winston Transcription from Jan. 8 Manning Award Conference Call
"It means a lot just to have `Manning' next to my name and have my name next to `Manning' with the accolades that Peyton and Eli and Mr. (Archie) Manning have had in college and professional football. It makes me so happy and really makes my day for me to be announced the winner of this award."
On the pressure going in to next season:
"It's not really that much pressure because I'm still going to be playing the game, it's just going to be another season. That's the most important thing and it's something I've got to be aware of that I'm still playing the great sport of football. I'm not going to try and overdo things or repeat another year, I'm going to try and play the game that I love."
On improvements he can make:
"I have to work on my shoulders and my hips. That's one thing that Coach (Randy) Sanders and Coach (Jimbo) Fisher left alone toward the beginning of the season because Coach Sanders got in in the spring and didn't really have time to work with me over the summer. So I've got to work on my hips and my shoulders. Sometimes I throw with my shoulder up, and sometimes I'm so used to flipping the ball over in baseball season, I never always put my hips to my target all the time."
On Johnny Manziel in the NFL:
"I believe the sky is the limit for Johnny Manziel. He's just an amazing person and amazing player on the field. I think the things that he does with the ball in his hands, people always have faith in Johnny, especially his teammates. When he gets up there, he's probably going to get tested a lot, but I know he's going to get past that and his teammates are going to love him because they know anything is possible with `Johnny Football.'"
On head coach Jimbo Fisher sending him inside at the end of the last practice before FSU left Tallahassee for Pasadena:
"Me and Coach Fisher have a great relationship, so whatever he did, I know he did just because he felt he needed to do it. There was a reason behind it, and obviously that reason ended up being the last two-minute drill for the National Championship Game that we had to go down there and win. Me and Coach Fisher have gotten into it a couple times at practice, just because he's constantly on me about being a great practice player and always making good decisions. He always leaves the athletic ability and the reactions to me, but he really stays on me. So he's tough on me about knowing the situations of the game more than anything else."
On the excitement of the BCS National Championship Game:
"It's still surreal, but I'll tell you what, I woke up a champion, so that's the funnest thing I can say: we won the National Championship. It just means so much to our team, and the way they are handling it, I can look in their eyes and they have a constant smile on their face, because we really can't do anything or say anything to make us different than anyone else, but we have a national championship, and that alone, just having the opportunity to play against a great Auburn team and represent our school well, that's all we really wanted to do anyway, and make history at that."
On how playing baseball helps him on the football field:
"Baseball is a failing game. With me playing the quarterback position, it actually helps me to handle those bad times better than I would if I did not play baseball, because when you're hitting or pitching, and something's not going right, in baseball you can just get made fun of, but in football you have teammates that can help you out in a situation when you're struggling. Just being in the batter's box, when you're facing a pitcher you've never seen, you never know what's coming at you, what pitch is about to happen, and you might be in a 1-2 count and already struck out three times, or had a bad day playing quarterback, you don't know what defenses they're going to do, you don't necessarily know what the coverage is going to be, it helps me mentally as a quarterback because I know some baseball games, I've had some terrible baseball games, but the next day I had a great game. It helps me with the situation of playing quarterback, because if I throw an interception or I throw a touchdown, I know, `Well, that's going to happen.' So I have to keep moving and keep processing things and get better."
On dealing with the increased attention:
"Me personally, I love life. I'm not going to change anything about myself. I probably can't do as many things as I would want to because of people always being there, but I don't think anything about me is going to change. Having all the awards and all the stuff is a blessing, but one thing that makes me happier is that I get to try to do it again next year. People talk about all the pressure and stuff, but that motivates me to get past all this stuff and get back to football. Spring training is coming around, then I play baseball, so I have something to keep me busy instead of dealing with all the outside stuff and dealing with everything getting pushed my way. I just keep playing sports, and I've got to keep my grades up. I'm not really going to be too focused on any outside things."