NEW YORK – Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston won the 79th Heisman Trophy in a landslide Saturday night, becoming the second consecutive freshman to take home the award.
"I can't explain the feeling that I have inside right now," Winston said. "I'm so overwhelmed; it's just awesome."
Winston took college football by storm this season, lifting No. 1-ranked Florida State to its first BCS National Championship Game appearance since 2000. He put himself on the radar with a stunning performance in the Seminoles' opening victory at Pittsburgh and never stopped, finishing the season with 3,820 passing yards and 38 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Winston completed 67.9 percent of his passes and led the nation in passing efficiency.
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Winston won by the seventh-largest margin of any Heisman winner with 2,205 points, but 13 percent of voters left him off their ballots completely.
Alabama's AJ McCarron (704) was second, Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch (558) was third and Boston College's Andre Williams (470) was fourth. Johnny Manziel (421) was fifth in the voting and Auburn's Tre Mason (404) finished sixth.
"That last commercial break was rough because there's so many great players around you and you always have that feel of doubt in your mind because you know anything can happen," Winston said of the anticipation leading up the announcement despite being considered the favorite.
A native of Hueytown, Ala., Winston was rated by several scouting services as nation's the No. 1 quarterback prospect, choosing Florida State over Alabama and Auburn. He sat out last season as a redshirt while E.J. Manuel quarterbacked the Seminoles to an ACC title and Orange Bowl victory.
"E.J. taught Jameis a lot, and he followed his footsteps a lot in how he prepared," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "I think that's the thing about Jameis, he didn't wait to play last year, he prepared to play last year and he learned how to watch film, what he's looking at.
"I can't explain and say enough how truly intelligent he is, how instinctive he is. The game makes sense to him. He wants to know why he's having success. If he throws a touchdown, he has to understand it so he can repeat it."
Winston is also an elite baseball prospect who played for Florida State last spring and plans to play again this year.
On Friday, he said he wanted to be better than Bo Jackson, the last legitimate two-sport star.
"I want to do both the rest of my life," Winston said. "That's my dream."
Fisher said he believes Winston playing baseball again this spring will help Winston deal with the Heisman aftermath and bubble of fame that Manziel often struggled with last year.
Winston's path to the Heisman Trophy was nearly derailed on Nov. 14 when a sexual battery complaint from last December resurfaced publicly. That prompted the State Attorney in Florida's 2nd judicial circuit to conduct an investigation, concluding Dec. 7 with the announcement that there was not enough evidence to file charges.
During his acceptance speech, Winston became emotional when talking about his parents, who had to watch the controversy unfold from afar.
"When I looked down, I saw my mom's and dad's eyes and they felt so proud," Winston said. "I haven't seen that look in their eye for a long time. It's not that I feel complete because we still have a national championship (to play for), but when you see your mom and dad and they've been struggling through this whole process, to see a smile on their face comforted me."
Winston is Florida State's third Heisman winner, joining fellow quarterbacks Charlie Ward in 1993 and Chris Weinke in 2000.
"When you watch someone work so hard for something and be so team-oriented it reinforces good things happen to the good guys," Fisher said. "The trials and tribulations and things he went through, he had to stay strong. It's the true mark of a man when you have your own individual issues and you never let them get in the way of us reaching our goals as a team."
PHOTOS: HEISMAN WINNERS DATING BACK TO 1982