In the entire history of the BCS era and all the years of NCAA football as whole, no freshman quarterback has replicated the success that redshirt freshman sensation Jameis Winston has done in the 2013-14 season.
The last year of the BCS before the playoff system is to be introduced saw the best performance by a first-year signal caller, and it’s not even really that close. Sure, Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy last year before Winston during this campaign to be the first freshman to ever do that, but Manziel has never led his teams anywhere close to a championship. Of course, that may have something to do with the rest of the team, but that doesn’t matter here.
Winston rose to the occasion every week and shined on the grandest stages all season long. It helped that Florida State had a tremendous team this year, but without Winston, they would have had no shot of accomplishing what they did.
In his initial year under center, Winston put up 3,820 yards, 38 touchdowns (plus four more rushing) and only 10 interceptions while completing 67.9 percent of his passes for an ungodly 190.1 passer rating — simply ridiculous.
And he played some of his best games against his stiffest competition. Versus Maryland early in the year — which at the time had upset special written all over it — Winston and the Seminoles destroyed the Terps 63-0. The freshman QB threw for five touchdowns, zero interceptions and completed over 70 percent of his passes.
The next week against a highly-touted Clemson team — who proved how good they were this year beating Ohio State in the Orange Bowl — he threw three touchdowns and ran for another while only turning the ball over once as they routed the Tigers 51-14.
Of course, then there was last night. The moment that capped off the end to a fairy-tale type season that no one saw coming. Winston became the first freshman quarterback to lead his team to the BCS National Championship Game over the Auburn Tigers — a team that hails from the all-mighty SEC, the same team who knocked off Georgia, Alabama and Missouri in succession to earn their way into the title game.
When Winston tasted his first real adversity of the season in this game being down 21-3 at one point, and 21-10 at the half, he didn’t shy away. Instead, he led his team back and came away with one of the most clutch game-winning drives in the history of college football because of the implications: a national championship.
On that final drive, which started with only 1:19 remaining in the game and from their own 28, Winston completed 6-of-7 passes for all 72 yards they needed, capping it off with a perfectly placed ball to Kelvin Benjamin in the middle of the end zone.
What that proved was that not only is Winston an amazing talent, but he’s a leader and he’s a winner. He may only be 19 years old, but he’s up for any challenge that he could possibly come up against, and he’ll find a way to come out on top. Even when the Tigers knocked him around and made the Seminoles’ offense look beatable, Winston still found a way to bring his team to victory.
If there is anything we can all take away from last night’s BCS Championship, it’s that Jameis Winston is special, and is in fact the greatest freshman to ever play the game of college football.