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Is Jameis Winston Already the Best Quarterback in Florida State History?

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 26: Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles looks to make a pass during the first half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 26, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida (Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images)
Amy DaughtersFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2013

Is all the hoopla over Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston legit, or instead is he just another short-lived media sensation?

In other words, is he the kid who destroyed No. 25 Maryland and No. 3 Clemson in back-to-back weeks, or instead is he the guy who completed 52 percent of his passes versus FCS Bethune-Cookman?

According to David M. Hale of ESPN, here’s what legendary Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden had to say about Winston:

This young man is as good as anybody we’ve ever had.  Maybe as a freshman, that’s asking too much, but before he leaves here – and he might do it this year.

What?

After only seven games the young “Famous Jameis” has already proven that he’s better than two Heisman Trophy winners and two first-round NFL draft picks?

Really?

In Winston’s case it’s easy to let the numbers speak for themselves, stats that scream unprecedented success through his first seven starts as a collegian.

Jameis Winston's Stats - 2013
YrCompAtt%YdsTDINT
Winston201312818369.92,177234
ESPN

How good are Winston’s numbers? To compare, take a look at the statistics of seven of Florida State’s best-ever quarterbacks in their first year as the starter. Remember, these are total-season numbers as opposed to Winston’s seven-game marks.

Florida State Quarterback Stats - First Year as a Starter
YrCompAtt%YdsTDINT
Weldon199118931360.42,527228
Ward199220436555.92,6472217
Kanell199422738059.72,7811713
Weinke199814528650.72,487196
Rix200116528657.72,7342413
Ponder200817731855.72,0061413
Manuel201120331165.32,666188
Sports Reference College Football

Though each of these guys may have posted better numbers later in their careers, these stats represent their respective “opening salvos,” which is directly comparable to Winston, who never took a college snap until Sept. 2 at Pitt.

With just seven games complete, Winston has already thrown for more yards than Christian Ponder did in 13 games as a first-year starter in 2008.

Furthermore, he sits just 300 to 600 yards short of the other six guys with another half-season left to play.

What’s even more stunning is that Winston’s 23 touchdown passes (again in only seven starts) trumps the rest of the group minus one.

Only Chris Rix had more as a freshman, with 24 in 2001. But again, Rix took 11 games to get there as opposed to Winston, who still technically has seven games left to play.

Chris Rix played QB at Florida State from 2001 to 2004.
Chris Rix played QB at Florida State from 2001 to 2004./Getty Images

Taking it up a notch, here’s what Winston is on track to do before 2013—his freshman season—is over.  These numbers take his average stats in each category and multiply them by seven, the number of regular-season games the ‘Noles have remaining plus the ACC title game and a bowl game.

These are added to Winston’s totals thus far this season and Voila!—the final tally.

Jameis Winston Projected Total Stats - 2013
YrCompAtt%YdsTDINT
Winston201325636669.94,354468
ESPN

These numbers blow away the competition, and to put a finer point on it, take a look at how Winston’s projected stats as a freshman stack up with each previous Florida State star quarterback’s BEST season.

Florida State Quarterback Stats - BEST Year as Starter
YrCompAtt%YdsTDINT
Weldon199118931360.42,527228
Ward199326438069.53,032274
Kanell199525740263.92,9573213
Weinke200026643161.74,1673311
Rix200321638256.53,1072313
Ponder200922733068.82,717147
Manuel201226338768.03,3972310
Sports Reference College Football

If Winston stays on track, he’ll surpass the other seven Seminole greats in yards, completion percentage and touchdown passes.

As a freshman he’ll have thrown for more yards and more touchdowns than Chris Weinke and Charlie Ward did in their Heisman seasons.

If Winston hits his projected marks, he’ll break two NCAA FBS records. He’ll surpass Corey Robinson’s 3,726 passing yards at Troy in 2010 to become the most prolific freshman passer in yards and he’ll blow away Sam Bradford’s record of 36 touchdown passes by a freshman at Oklahoma in 2007.

Not only is Winston the best quarterback—at least statistically speaking—in Florida State history, he also is on track to become one of the greatest freshman quarterbacks in the history of the game.

/Getty Images

What will cement Winston’s place in Florida State football lore will come down to what he and the rest of the 2013 Seminoles can do with the five games remaining on their schedule and then in the postseason.

If Winston can make a run at the Heisman, and more importantly lead Florida State to the national championship game, there will be no doubt of his place in history.

Statistics courtesy of Sports Reference College Football and ESPN.  NCAA records via the FBS Record Book.

 

 

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