Both because of the level of success he has had and the decision to take out a substantial insurance policy, most people expect Jameis Winston to leave Florida State for the NFL this year. His father has been adamant about him staying two more years. The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback was at the Manning Passing Academy on Friday where he echoed the same sentiment as his father.
Winston as reported by John Taylor of CollegeFootballTalk:
“It’s very important to me. I was always raised as a student first and an athlete second,” Winston said to NFL.com in regards to earning his degree before moving on to the NFL.
“I think that’s the main purpose in college. Some athletes lose that perspective. It’s about being a student-athlete, and not just getting that easy money and going to the league. Even if kids leave early, I would want them to come back and get that degree.”
The degree part of this whole thing makes sense but the other issue that many seem to discount with Winston is the fact he does play two sports. Winston may have every intention of pursuing an NFL career, but he is also a pitcher for the Seminoles baseball team. He may love being able to play both sports and the day he makes a decision on which sport to play professionally, he will have to stop playing the other. While he may not be getting paid to do it, his time in Tallahassee gives him an opportunity he simply will not have after he leaves.
And while it may be unlikely, there is no guarantee that Winston would choose football. Jeff Samardzija was projected as a first round pick as a wide receiver at Notre Dame, but chose baseball, where he was not as highly regarded. He has been extremely successful as a pitcher there and made more money than he could have at this point in his career in football, now a member of the Oakland Athletics.
Even in Florida State’s history, Charlie Ward also won a Heisman Trophy and was extremely successful at Florida State as a quarterback, but chose to pursue a professional basketball career in the NBA, playing much of his 12 year career with the New York Knicks.
It remains to be seen what Jameis Winston ultimately wants to do and it is possible he is not even sure at this point, but between being able to play two sports as well as achieve his goal of his degree, there is no hurry for him to make that decision. He can continue to enjoy the ride.