Heisman win helps Winston mature

NEW YORK -- The accolades began arriving for Jameis Winston long before Saturday night, when the 19-year-old became the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy in the 79 seasons that it has been awarded.

Winston began his career at Florida State last year as the highest-rated quarterback recruit in the country. That honor isn't necessarily a nonstop ticket to stardom. For every Matt Barkley (2009), there's a Phillip Sims (2010). But the recruiting gurus got this one right. This year, Winston led the nation in passing efficiency and quarterback rating, the metrics du jour. He threw for 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns and completed more than two of every three passes (.679).

Winston became the first freshman to be named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year. He won the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award and the Walter Camp Award. On Saturday night, he won the most prestigious trophy in American sport by the fifth-largest margin in modern history over quarterbacks AJ McCarron of Alabama and Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois.

"I am so overwhelmed right now," Winston said. "It feels great. ... I cannot explain the feeling that I have inside right now."

Winston won the Heisman and everything else despite the elephant in his room for the last month of the season. A Florida State student accused Winston of sexual assault after the two had sex last December. The state attorney, saying he didn't have the evidence to convict Winston, declined to charge him earlier this month.

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