While his dad spilled the goods earlier today, Jameis Winston has made it official.
In a press release sent out by Florida State, both the player and his head coach confirmed that the 2013 Heisman winner is leaving his remaining two years of collegiate eligibility on the table and making himself available for the 2015 NFL draft. While labeling it “a blessing” to coach him, head coach Jimbo Fisher also described the quarterback as “one of the unique players that I’ve ever had the privilege to coach.”
For the Winston detractors in the audience, and there are quite a few, the remainder of Fisher’s statement will induce some level of angst given the off-field controversies that have swirled around the player during his three years in Tallahassee.
“He embodies what you as a coach want as a person, a student and a player. He’s a genuine and honest guy,” Fisher’s statement continued. “He’s one of the greatest players in Florida State history. I want to thank him for the way he represented himself and the organization in so many tough situations and the professionalism in which he handled the ability to be such a great teammate to his teammates and always put them and the program above himself. That’s a very unique ability to be able to do especially at his age.
“I’d like to thank his family. They’re great people and it was a blessing that they came into our lives. I have nothing but respect for everything Jameis stands for, what he is and what he will do in the future. He’s truly one of the most special guys that I’ve had the privilege to be able to coach and I can’t thank him enough for the contributions to our family at Florida State.”
Winston leaves the Seminoles with a Heisman among the handful of awards he earned for his sensational 2013 season, as well as a BCS title ring from the same season. He also left a legacy that’s among the most convoluted thanks to, right or wrong, issues outside of his performance on the playing field.
Below is Winston’s statement, in its entirety:
“Dear Seminole Nation,
“After weighing this decision with my family and friends, I have decided to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft and forgo my remaining eligibility at Florida State. I reached this very difficult decision after careful consideration and long thought, realizing how difficult it would be to say goodbye to my family at Florida State. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to wear the garnet and gold and have greatly enjoyed my time as a Seminole, both as an athlete and a student in the classroom.
“I will always take pride in leading our team back to national prominence and am confident that my returning teammates will continue the success for many years to come. To the fans, I can’t thank you enough for the support you showed me and the team over the last three seasons; it was a humbling experience to bring the Championship back to Tallahassee for you all to enjoy. To my teammates, it’s been an incredible opportunity to play with the most impressive collection of talent and people the game has seen; you all have been there for me through the highs and lows and the relationships we have formed extend well beyond the field. For this, I thank you. To the coaching staff and especially Coach Fisher, I am forever grateful for the ways you developed me as a player and a person as I have grown over the years. I knew I made the right decision to come to Florida State four years ago and couldn’t be happier with this choice as I write this today.
“As I embark on the next challenge of playing in the NFL, I look forward to contributing to a long line of successful alumni at the next level. I want you all to know that I will make Seminole Nation proud and continue to bring the passion and love for the game you all have seen in Doak Campbell since my first day as a ‘Nole. Thank you for making my time in Tallahassee some of the best years of my life.”