NEW YORK – Jameis Winston left voters no choice but to give him the Heisman Trophy. And like every other Florida State victory this season, it was a blowout.
The quarterback they call Famous Jameis became the youngest Heisman winner and the second straight freshman to win the trophy Saturday night, earning college football’s most prestigious individual trophy award with a performance so dominant even a criminal investigation couldn’t derail it.
“I cannot explain the feeling that I have inside right now,” Winston said. “I’m so overwhelmed. It’s awesome.”
When his name was announced, he popped from his seat and quickly made his way to his mom and dad for hugs and kisses. He smiled and laughed through most of his speech.
He talked about trusting in the “process” on the field and in life and “after all the things I’ve been through this past month.” He got choked up a bit when talking about his parents.
“When you see your mom and you see your dad and they’ve been struggling through this whole process and now you see a smile on their face, it comforted me,” he said later.
Winston received 668 first-place votes and 2,205 points. He finished 1,501 points ahead of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron for the seventh-largest margin of victory in Heisman history, despite being left off 115 of the 900 ballots returned.
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch was third, followed by Boston College’s Andre Williams, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Auburn’s Tre Mason.
Manziel was the first freshman to win the Heisman last year, and was trying to join Ohio State’s Archie Griffin as a two-time winner. Instead, Winston made it two redshirt freshman winners in the 79-year history of the Heisman. He also became the youngest winner at 23 days short of 20.
The 19-year-old also was investigated last month for a year-old sexual assault complaint, but no charges were filed and the case was closed four days before Heisman votes were due.
“I really believe that people actually just trusted me. People obviously saw us play. But that comes from my team, too,” Winston said.
Winston is the nation’s top-rated passer and has led the top-ranked Seminoles (13-0) to a spot in the BCS championship game against No. 2 Auburn on Jan. 6, his birthday. The former five-star recruit from Bessemer, Ala., made college football look easy from his very first game. On Labor Day night, on national television, Winston went 25 for 27 for 356 yards and four touchdowns in a victory at Pittsburgh.
“I can’t explain how truly intelligent he is,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He always wanted to know why he had success or why he had failure so he could either repeat it or fix it.”
There wasn’t much failure on the way to becoming the third Seminoles quarterback to win the Heisman. The last was Chris Weinke in 2000.
Winston and Florida State were cruising toward an undefeated season when news broke of an unresolved sexual assault complaint against him made to the Tallahassee Police Department last December.
The dormant case was handed over to the state attorney’s office for a full investigation. A female student at FSU accused Winston of rape. His attorney said the sex was consensual.
During three weeks of uncertainty, Winston continued to play sensationally, while other contenders stumbled.