Winston Staying at Florida State
You might have missed this with all of the high school football signings going on but the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston, says that Florida State doesn’t need to worry about recruiting his replacement for at least two more years. Winston, a redshirt freshman, followed his coach, Jimbo Fisher, in saying that he doesn’t have any plans to enter the NFL draft until after his junior year. Part of the reason is that he loves Florida State and wants to win more national championships, and part of it is that he also loves playing baseball at FSU and he can’t get drafted by a major league team until his junior year. Winston will be the Seminoles closer this spring and could be a starter next season.
Whatever the reason, I like it and I think it sends a great message to all of those high school kids who committed to a school on Wednesday. Many of them are studs, the best player on their team, maybe their district, maybe even their state. All they see in a college is a stepping stone, a brief pause on their way to their given destiny, the National Football League. None of them want to really look at the facts that many of them won’t even get much playing time when they get to college. Former Notre Dame All-American, and Pittsburgh Steeler running back Jerome Bettis, said the reality hit him on the first day of practice for the Irish. He was not only not, the best player in his state, he wasn’t even the best running back on his team. With rare exception, Winston and Johnny Manziel being two of them, few college players jump right into the college game and excel.
No matter what their parents or older brother or coaches tell them, most high school stars can only see the stars. The stars of pro football. Many get hurt before they can prove how good they are, some will get filtered out in the classroom and never see the football field, and some were just over-rateded in high school and will never fulfill their dream. But no matter where they fit in that scenario, if they have Winston as a role model, then maybe they’ll be okay.
Winston may well have been a top 10 pick if he came out this year. He could easily project to a top 5, even the top pick in next year’s draft. But that’s not on his radar. He likes being in school and is in no hurry to leave. Some might say it’s dumb, he could get hurt and miss his big chance. I say, sure and he could get hit by a truck or contract polio but he could also have two more great years of football and be fine. It wasn’t that long ago that player had to wait until they graduated, or at least finished 4 years of college, before they could turn pro and it didn’t seem to ruin their careers.
So here’s to Jameis, win a Heisman, play baseball in the spring, defend your national championship next year and enjoy every minute of your youth. He’ll be an old, beat up pro soon enough.