NCAA Football Florida State Seminoles

5 Things Jameis Winston Must Do To Stay In The Heisman Race

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5 Things Jameis Winston Must Do To Stay In The Heisman Race

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Jameis Winston exploded onto the college football landscape earlier this month with a near-perfect opening week game against Pittsburgh. That performance — completing 25-of-27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns — immediately vaulted Winston into the Heisman conversation.

Since then he’s fallen off the radar a little bit. Florida State has played only one game since that scintillating Monday night performance, a blowout over Nevada in which Winston played good, but not great. He was again extremely efficient, completing 15-of-18, but threw his first career interception.

Now he finds himself at a crossroads of his young season. With a few more big games in the national spotlight he could find himself securely among those waiting in line for Johnny Manziel to falter. But if he has a few more pedestrian outings, he’ll fall out of favor with voters and wind up another good player not in the Heisman conversation. Being just a freshman, he has an uphill battle to convince the world he’s the best player in all of college football.

Manziel showed the world that it wasn’t impossible for a freshman to win the trophy. Before Johnny Football took the prize last year, it was thought that voters would shy away from a player with such a short resume. But that’s no longer the case, and it’s been a long time since a freshman has come in with as much hype as Winston.

So far he’s lived up to that considerable hype, but these are the five things he needs to do if he plans on sitting in that room in New York this December.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Make More Big Plays

Big Plays
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Heisman voters are just as susceptible to the onslaught of the media as the rest of us. If Winston wants his name to stay on the tip of their tongues, he'll need a few plays in the next few weeks that will get replayed over and over again.

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4. Play Well At Clemson

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Heisman candidates need signature wins. The first chance for Winston to get himself one will be when the Seminoles play at Clemson in October.

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3. Take Care Of The Ball

Take Care Of The Ball
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The highlight train can go both ways. The narrative will turn sour quickly if Winston makes some mistakes and gives the other team the ball too often.

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2. Just Don't Let His Team Lose

Just Don't Let His Team Lose
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

If Florida State keeps winning and puts themselves in the race for a BCS bowl, their young quarterback will reap the rewards.

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1. Use His Legs

Use His Legs
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Again, it all comes down to big plays, wins and stats. If Winston uses his prodigious physical talents to accomplish all three, he'll stay at the top of the list of Heisman contenders this fall.

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