The major question surrounding the Florida State Seminoles this spring is the one that most coaching staffs and fan bases dread. Who is going to be the starting QB? With two-year starter EJ Manuel off to the NFL, there are four possible choices to replace the Virginia Beach,Virginia native. This week, we’re going to examine each candidate and make the case as to why they should be under center come September in Tallahassee, beginning with redshirt freshman Jameis Winston.
From day one when Jameis Winston committed to FSU, the buzz was astounding, and for good reason. Considered by many as the best QB recruit in the country in 2011, Winston signed with the Noles last February to play football, as well as continue his journey as a standout baseball player. Wait a minute. Florida State QB, two-sport athlete; where have we heard that story before?
Yes, given his athletic versatility as well as his ability to beat you with either his arm or his legs, the comparisons were instantly made with 1993 Seminole Heisman winner, Charlie Ward. Although Chris Weinke also won the coveted trophy in 2000 for the Noles as well as a national title, when you ask any Seminole fan who the greatest was to ever put his hands under center in Tallahassee, the answer will most likely be unanimous: it’s Ward.
From the very first moment that Winston takes a snap this spring, those comparisons are only going to get louder. The key for Jameis is to block out those voices and make his own legacy, but that goes without saying.
The astounding athletic attributes that Winston brings to the table make him a heavy favorite to become the field general of Jimbo Fisher‘s offense. With the plethora of solid running backs that the Seminoles have on the roster, and Winston leading them, the FSU offense could be a proverbial “pick your poison” case for opposing defenses.
No matter what you bring to the table athletically, there are still always dangers in starting a freshman at quarterback that most don’t take in to account. The Noles are coming off an Orange Bowl victory capped season which led many to proclaim that Florida State is “back”. Should Winston stumble anywhere early on when he finally does take the field, the outcries for his replacement will be deafening. How he might handle a situation like that would give a lot better insight into where his football career is headed.
We must also remember that he’s not exactly a slouch on the baseball diamond neither. Drafted in the 15th Round by the Texas Rangers in 2012, Winston could decide at any moment that he wants to focus solely on that aspect of his life.
But, focusing on the football, there are a lot of positives to giving Winston the nod, should he perform well enough this spring. If he does have the tools to give the Seminole faithful a little taste of the Charlie Ward Era, then get it started immediately.
He may take some lumps and stumble early on, but that’s okay. Let him learn from those mistakes and move on – it’s all part of the maturing process in college football.