NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Winning a Heisman Trophy changes your life forever. When a player carries that stiff-arm trophy home from New York City, he's no longer a college football player—he's a sports celebrity, which is a different world.
Just ask Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Dealing with fame can be tricky, especially when there's work to be done on the field. Say, like winning the BCS National Championship Game?
That's the position Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston finds himself in after his redshirt freshman campaign of 2013. He threw for 3,820 yards, 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and rushed for another 193 yards and four touchdowns, claiming college football's biggest prize in the process.
"My life hasn't changed at all because our goal as a team, it still isn't over yet," he said during his media appearance on Friday (sign-in required). "At Florida State, we began the season as everybody was looking at us as, like OK, they've got a freshman quarterback. Nobody is going to pay any attention, now we're in the national championship."
Winston knows that his biggest step is in front of him.
"I still haven't reached my maximum goal," he said on media day on Saturday. "At the end of the day, I want to be the last person on that field and holding up that crystal ball. With all of the awards that an individual can receive, nothing is more important than hoisting up that crystal football with your team on that stage singing, 'We Are the Champions.'"
Besides, the Heisman hangover is more myth than reality these days.
Manziel set a Cotton Bowl record with 516 yards in a 41-13 win over Oklahoma last year, one month after hearing his name called in New York City. Baylor's Robert Griffin III accounted for 350 yards and two touchdowns in a 67-56 win over Washington in the Alamo Bowl following the 2011 season. Auburn's Cam Newton didn't exactly look stellar in the Tigers' 22-19 BCS National Championship Game win following the 2010 season, but that crystal football is all that matters.
Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher has liked what he's seen from his star quarterback during the month-long layoff between the ACC and BCS Championship Games.
"He looks like the old Jameis right back when we're about to play Pitt (in the season opener)," Fisher said. "He's excited, but you see a guy who grinds and puts the film work in, he's practiced well and affected his teammates well."
Don't expect a Heisman hangover for Winston when toe meets leather inside the Rose Bowl on Monday night. For the redshirt freshman, it's just another game.
Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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