Jameis Winston didn’t make his life off the field any easier with his performance on Monday night. The hype and expectations were already way too high coming into the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers — they have now been increased tenfold for the Florida State Seminoles quarterback.
The freshman was nearly flawless as he picked apart the Panther defense on the road in his debut. He completed 25-of-27 passes for 356 yards, threw for four TDs and ran in another. It was an amazing start, but let’s not forget what coach Jimbo Fisher was quick to remind everybody after the game, “It’s one ball game, guys.”
I agree with Fisher’s sentiments. We haven’t seen enough to take him seriously as the most outstanding player in college football. We only know a few things about Winston at this point. He can play great against mediocre competition, his potential is through the roof and the pressure will be enormous from here on out. There is a lot to get excited about with Winston, but you have to give the edge to the guys who have shown us more.
If you’re placing your bets, Tajh Boyd is definitely in the driver’s seat right now. We have already seen greatness from him in 2012 when he compiled 4,410 total yards and 46 total touchdowns. Boyd also had a great 2013 debut with a big win against a tough Georgia Bulldogs team. If Winston is able to keep dropping jaws, he will have an opportunity to take the driver’s seat from Boyd when FSU travels to face the Clemson Tigers on Oct. 19. Only after that happens can we really look at Winston as a contender.
There is just too much competition in the race this year, and of course, we can’t leave Johnny Manziel out of the conversation. No matter how much you want to smack him, Johnny Football can still play. The SEC record holder for total yards is the only freshman to ever win the Heisman, and still one of the most feared quarterbacks in the game. He’ll be his own biggest obstacle, but Manziel is an incredibly rare talent who will be tough to dethrone.
Yes, Winston has the potential to be one of the best in college football, but you could say that about several players at this point. After seeing him in only one game, it’s far too early to take him seriously as a contender for the Heisman — but it’s never too early to get excited about the possibilities.