The Jameis Winston era is unofficially under way in Tallahassee after the young signal caller dominated in the spring game for the Florida State Seminoles, seizing control of the quarterback competition. He was so good, in fact, that his main competition for the starting quarterback job, junior Clint Trickett, announced he would be transferring from the school to “explore another playing opportunity.” That clears the way for the highly touted, two-sport star to take his place as starting quarterback for the Seminoles, but are FSU fans expecting too much too soon?
There is plenty of reason to be excited. Winston was a celebrated prep star before signing on to play football and baseball for FSU. His reputation as a dynamic playmaker and elite athlete followed him to Florida State, even as he sat and watched for his first year on campus. Fans have been anxiously waiting for their first look at him in a game situation, which came in last Saturday’s spring game, and Winston did not disappoint.
His first pass was a 58-yard touchdown strike to David Tyrrell and he only got better from there. He finished the day throwing for 205 yards while leading the offense to three touchdown drives while completing all but three of his attempts. He utterly and completely outplayed Trickett, who came in as the No. 1 quarterback on the spring depth chart, prompting the former backup to EJ Manuel to take his talents elsewhere.
But his performance in the spring game made an impact on more than just Trickett. Heisman Trophy winner and Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel tweeted “Hearing this Jameis Winston kid is a baller out at Florida State. Spring Football dominating and pitching on the baseball team.” Some Florida State legends were in attendance for the spring game, including Charlie Ward, who Winston is often compared to. The former Seminoles’ quarterback was equally impressed, telling the Orlando Sentinel, “He’s special. There’s no questions about it.”
There are going to be many people who expect him to keep being special, like Charlie Ward levels of special, from day one next fall. While he could turn into the next great Seminoles quarterback, fans would be wise to let him grow into that role, rather than expecting him to jump in at that level. He has yet to take a snap at the college level in a real game and there will undoubtedly be growing pains next year as he works his way through the ACC.
Even Winston, by all accounts a poised, humble and mature young man, is trying to put expectations for next season into perspective. After his great performance in the spring game, he told reporters, “I’ve got to get better,” and he will get better as he gains more experience. He could become the greatest quarterback FSU has ever had…but he probably won’t be by September 2. Have patience, Seminoles fans. Jameis Winston is worth the wait.