Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston won the 2013 Heisman Trophy Dec. 14, becoming just the second redshirt freshman player to be named the nation’s best college football player.
Winston is also the youngest player in history to win the Heisman, at age 19. He’ll turn 20 on Jan. 6, the same day he plays for the BCS National Championship against the second-ranked Auburn Tigers.
Winston received the prestigious award during the 79th Heisman Trophy ceremony at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York, N.Y. The Hueytown, Ala. native beat out finalists including Boston College running back Andre Williams, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, Auburn running back Tre Mason and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M.
It was the third postseason honor for Winston, who was named the Walter Camp Player of the Year, awarded to the top player as selected by collegiate sports information directors and head coaches, and the Davey O’Brien award, given to the top college quarterback in the country.
Winston has long been considered the favorite to win this year’s Heisman Trophy after leading the Florida State Seminoles to a perfect 13-0 season, the nation’s top ranking and a chance at a BCS Championship. Winston passed for 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns with 10 interceptions this season.
Nonetheless, there was speculation over whether Heisman Trophy voters would vote for Winston after reports surfaced that the quarterback was involved with an alleged sexual assault case. Tallahassee, Fla. police linked Winston’s DNA to a woman who accused him of raping her in Tallahassee in 2012. Winston’s attorney told the media that his client had consensual sex with the accuser, but an attorney for the woman’s family maintained that she was raped by Winston and, after she alerted local authorities, was warned that Tallahassee is “a big football town” and reporting the alleged rape would make her life “miserable.”
Florida State Attorney Willie Meggs said Dec. 5 that he would not file charges against Winston, clearing some doubt over his candidacy for the Heisman.
Winston said after winning the Heisman that he respected the investigation process and tried to stay focus for his teammates.
“I really never focused on would I be here or not. I always focused on, ‘Guys, we need to get to that national championship; we need to keep getting better,’” Winston said. “I had a good feeling. I knew if we kept playing good, and I knew with the numbers around me, people being productive and if we kept blowing people out the way we were. … I knew I would have a shot.”