The Heisman Trophy has been college football’s most prestigious award since its inception in 1935. Since then, some of football’s greatest legends have hoisted the stiff-arming bronze bust.
This season’s Heisman race is far from over, but if the season ended today, it’s undeniable that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston would be one of the front runners for the award.
But Winston is facing sexual assault accusations, something that has tarnished his name as well as his Heisman chances.
The Heisman Trophy is an award given to the “Most Outstanding Player” in college football, but it comes down to around 900 voters’ opinion on who that player is. Tell me all you want that character doesn’t mean anything when it comes to the Heisman, but there are voters that factor it in. I’d bet my lunch on it.
Is this right? I say no. First of all, personality has nothing to do with being a great football player. OJ Simpson wasn’t a great guy. But he could run a football as good as anyone, and in fact, won the Heisman in 1968.
Which brings me to my next point- the voters do not know these athletes, no matter how many questions they ask in the post-game presser. Did anyone think OJ would end up on trial for murder? In jail for robbery? In debt more than $1 million to the IRS?
We, as journalists, cannot and will not know the candidates’ personality traits and flaws. Therefore, the vote should come down to what we do know: football.
And let me tell ya, this Winston kid can play some football.
He’s thrown for 3,163 yards, 32 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. He’s completing barely less than 70 percent of his passes while averaging more than 11 yards per attempt. He can run too, something he’s done three times for scores this season.
And he’s done it all as a redshirt freshman.
Winston has led his ‘Noles to the 2nd spot in the BCS rankings, and FSU controls their own destiny on their path to a National Title.
He’s won on the big stage, and in dominating fashion. Florida State’s 51-14 rout of Clemson early this season remains one of the year’s loudest wins, one that screamed this kid (and this team) was for real. In that game, Winston threw for a season-high 444 yards to go with three scores through the air and another on the ground.
So much for Death Valley being a scary venue for a freshman quarterback to play- Winston made child’s play of the place. And it’s not like Clemson has turned out to be an impostor either- the romping they endured at the hands of Winston remains the Tigers’ only loss.
We simply don’t know what kind of person Jameis Winston is. Maybe he is a rapist; that won’t be known until he stands trial, if that happens at all. Hell, he hasn’t even been charged yet. When that flag flies, judge Winston as you will.
But until then, what we do know is that he’s a fantastic football player that is deserving of the Heisman Trophy.