Florida State Football: Winston Still Has a Way to Go to Be Top 2-Sport Star

Bob FerranteContributor IJune 25, 2014

Deion Sanders is the top multi-sport athlete in FSU history.
Deion Sanders is the top multi-sport athlete in FSU history.USA TODAY Sports

This is the era of specialization. The offseason is almost nonexistent, so there is little time to play multiple sports. 

There are seven-on-seven football camps. AAU basketball tournaments. And travel baseball teams.

Most high school athletes now focus on a single sport year-round. That translates to fewer college athletes who participate in two sports.

Florida State has had a few two-sport standouts through the years, notably players like Deion Sanders, Charlie Ward and, now, Jameis Winston. Sanders also ran track, making him one of the rare three-sport stars in school history. And Sanders went on to be the first to play in a Super Bowl and a World Series.

Sanders' accomplishments in three sports leads our list of the top two-sport athletes in FSU history. The fact that he excelled in that many sports edged out Ward, who won a national title and the Heisman Trophy in 1993 and was a star point guard for the Seminoles.

Winston, with just one football season and two baseball seasons under his belt, is third on the list. His father, Antonor, told AL.com's Jeff Sentell last week that Jameis will graduate from FSU. (But he could also opt to enter the NFL draft early, a decision that he could make in January.) If he stays, that would mean two football seasons (2014, 2015) and a baseball season (2015) to add to his two-sport resume.

Here's a look at our top five two-sport athletes in FSU history:


1. Deion Sanders

In football: Sanders was a two-time consensus All-American (1987, '88). He had 14 career interceptions, including five in 1988. Sanders led the nation with a punt return average of 15.2 as a senior, and he also won the Jim Thorpe Award (nation's top defensive back) that season.

He had 53 career interceptions in 14 NFL seasons, won a pair of Super Bowls in the 1990s (with San Francisco and Dallas) and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame.

FSU sports information

In baseball: Sanders hit .281 in 76 career games from 1986-87. But while he started 56 games, he had 62 runs scored. Sanders hit .263 in nine major league seasons from 1989-2001 (he played in just the NFL in a few of those years) and led the National League in triples with 14 in 1992.

In track and field: Sanders was one of the fastest athletes on campus. He ran the 100 meters in 10.26 seconds in 1988. But perhaps his biggest track moment came at South Carolina between games of a baseball doubleheader in May 1987.

The Metro Conference held its baseball tournament and track championships in Columbia. According to FSU assistant director of athletics Rob Wilson, Sanders sprinted from the baseball field in his uniform to the track (which was nearby), changed into his track uniform and ran a leg of the 4x100 relay. FSU won the relay event, which helped the Seminoles take the track title. And Sanders played in both games of the doubleheader for FSU, which also won the conference baseball title.


2. Charlie Ward

Phil Sears/Associated Press

In football: Ward threw for 3,032 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior in 1993, winning the Heisman Trophy and helping FSU take the national title with a win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. What likely sealed up the Heisman was a 446-yard, four-touchdown day in FSU's win at Florida. He was a unanimous All-American that year and also won the Davey O'Brien, Johnny Unitas and Maxwell Awards.

In basketball: Ward played 91 career games, but his playing time was limited to January, February and March for his junior and senior seasons after he had won the starting quarterback job. Still, Ward averaged 8.1 points and had 396 assists for his career. FSU also made the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 in 1992 and the Elite Eight in '93. In 10 NBA seasons from 1994-2005, he scored 3,947 points and had 2,539 assists.


3. Jameis Winston

Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) in action against the Auburn Tigers for the 2014 BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In football: Winston completed 66 percent of his passes for 4,057 yards and a school-record 40 touchdowns. A consensus All-American, he won the Heisman Trophy, Davey O'Brien and Walter Camp and helped FSU win the 2013 national title.

In baseball: Winston earned the role of closer in 2014 and had a team-low 1.08 ERA with seven saves. He had 31 strikeouts in 33.3 innings, and batters hit just .154 off of him. Winston was 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 2013.


4. Rohn Stark

FSU sports information

In football: Stark was a first-team All-American in 1980 and '81. He averaged 45.2 yards per punt as a junior in 1980 and then 46 yards per punt the following season. He played in the NFL from 1982-97 and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

In track: Stark was an All-American in 1981, becoming the first male two-sport All-American in school history. He held FSU's decathlon record (7,612 points) for 21 years.


5. Brenda Cliette

FSU sports information

In women's basketball: She averaged 13.5 points and 9.3 rebounds as a freshman before focusing on track. She returned to basketball in 1986-87, averaging a double-double (14.9 points, 10.0 rebounds).

In track: Cliette was a four-time All-American in the sprints and helped FSU win an NCAA outdoor national title. She was an alternate on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team. Cliette went on to win gold medals at the World University Games and Pan Am Games.


We can't stop with just five. So here are six more two-sport stars that we considered:

Sammie Smith—He ran for 2,539 yards and 19 touchdowns from 1985-88. He also won Metro Conference 100- and 200-meter titles and also ran on the Metro Championship 400 relay team. Smith played four NFL seasons.

Warrick Dunn—FSU's all-time leading rusher (3,959 yards), Dunn also holds the school record for most yards in a season (1,242 in 1995) and is second with 37 career rushing touchdowns from 1993-96. He was an All-American in track in 1996 as part of FSU's 4x100 relay team.

Phillip Riley—He was a national champion in the 55-meter hurdles, a four-time All-American and was the Atlantic Coast Conference MVP in 1994 in track. Riley had 38 career catches for 433 yards and five touchdowns from 1993-95.

Mike Stewart/Associated Press

Lee Corso—Known more as a college football analyst for ESPN, Corso was quite the versatile athlete in the 1950s. Corso had 1,267 rushing yards and 409 receiving yards from 1953-56. He also hit .297 with 49 runs and 53 RBI in 54 games for the baseball team, posting an on-base percentage of .418.

Bobby Butler—He had 101 tackles and 11 interceptions from 1977-80. Butler was also an All-American in 1980 as part of FSU's 4x100 relay team.

Ken Lanier—The offensive lineman was an All-American as a senior in 1980. He was also a standout in the shot put, and his mark of 60 feet, 4 inches is the fifth best throw in school history.

Bob Ferrante is the Florida State Lead Writer for Bleacher Report, all quotes obtained first-hand unless otherwise noted. All statistics and bio information are courtesy of FSU media guides, nolefan.org, pro-football-reference.com, baseballreference.com and basketball-reference.com. Follow Bob on Twitter.