Some people still needed to see it to believe it. They had heard the stories and seen the highlights, but needed to see him do it on a big stage, against a good team, in a tough environment.
With Saturday night’s performance against Clemson, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston ended any speculation.
This kid is the real deal.
The redshirt freshman threw a touchdown on his first pass attempt and never really slowed down. All told, Winston went 22-34 for 444 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a four-yard touchdown run in the third quarter as well.
Despite facing a tremendous Clemson pass rush, the Seminoles offensive line gave Winston time and he went to work. He was in a great rhythm all night, and did a great job of distributing the ball to his playmakers.
Winston is the total package, and has unyielding confidence in his abilities. ESPN cameras were allowed into the Seminoles locker room and caught Winston joking around, addressing the whole team just minutes before kickoff. He didn’t appear like a freshman headed into hostile territory for his sixth career start.
That confidence translates into his performance as well. In the pocket, Winston never seems rushed. He has an innate ability to move subtly in the pocket to keep plays alive. Often times, athletic quarterbacks have a tendency to flush the pocket to try and make plays with their feet.
Winston breaks the mold.
Sure, he made plays with his feet Saturday night, but most of the damage was done with his rocket arm.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Winston’s game is his ability to beat the blitz. Time and again the Tigers tried to heat up Winston, but he consistently got the ball out on time and beat them for big plays. In fact, an amazing 293 of Winston’s 444 yards came against the Tigers blitz.
Any Winston doubters out there were put on notice Saturday night: he’s the best player in the country.
B.L. is an ACC football writer for Rant Sports and can be followed on Twitter @coachlip or on Google