Johnny Manziel made history last season, becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.
There’s a chance he may not be the only one.
Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston staked his claim to the Heisman on Saturday night, throwing for 444 yards and three touchdowns (plus another on the ground) to lead the No. 5 Seminoles to a 51-14 shellacking of No. 3 Clemson in Death Valley.
How good has Winston been this year? Through six games, he has 1,885 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns (plus another three rushing touchdowns), 3 interceptions, a 71 percent completion percentage and a passer rating of 210. That’s some pretty amazing stuff for a guy who is just getting his feet wet.
More importantly, his production has helped Florida State harken back to some of its past glory. This is easily the Seminoles’ best team since 2000, which was also the last time FSU had a Heisman winner (Chris Weinke) and landed a berth in the BCS title game.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, there’s still a long way to go this season. The ‘Noles still must play Miami, rival Florida and whoever it happens to play in the ACC title game (if it gets there).
And while Winston has been on fire, he’s not yet the favorite in this race. That honor would go to Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, who is still the player to beat.
But whether he wins or not, Winston has already established himself as a likely Heisman finalist. Before Manziel, the only freshmen to make it as finalists were Michael Vick and Herschel Walker.
That’s pretty good company.