ORLANDO, Fla. — Jameis Winston is normally calm and poised, both on and off the field.
But the unflappable Florida State quarterback is admittedly feeling some anxiety as the Heisman Trophy ceremony approaches.
“Having fun, smiling, enjoy it. You’ve got to enjoy the moment because these are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities,” Winston said Wednesday at a media session for the Home Depot College Football Awards. “You never know if this comes around next year. Obviously we want that to happen, but you’ve just got to enjoy the moment.”
Winston is one of six finalists for the Heisman, which will be awarded in New York on Saturday. The ceremony begins at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Auburn tailback Tre Mason, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron and Boston College tailback Andre Williams are the other finalists.
Manziel won the award last year, making him the first redshirt freshman in NCAA history to take home the prestigious trophy. Winston is expected to be the second and cannot wait to meet Manziel in New York.
The two barely missed each other Wednesday night during the awards show media event.
“I mean, I want to talk to him and ask him how was it and everything. But what he did was phenomenal. And hopefully I do get to do what he did,” Winston said. “But what he did, you can never forget that because he was the first. And that just shows everybody that anything can happen. It doesn’t matter what age.”
Winston has completed 237 of 349 passes for 3,820 yards, 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Winston set Football Bowl Subdivision records for passing yards and passing touchdowns by a freshman.
Winston has also helped guide No. 1 Florida State (13-0) to the BCS National Championship Game. The Seminoles take on No. 2 Auburn (12-1) on Jan. 6, Winston’s birthday.
“He’s definitely the top player that I’ve seen play quarterback, and I’ve been around a great quarterback too – Tajh Boyd,” Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins said. “But he’s definitely one of the top guys I’ve seen in college. Throw the ball, control the game... and the poise he’s got in the pocket and the things he does when he audibles. He’s definitely a complete player.”
The first time Winston ever heard of the Heisman Trophy was when he was playing the NCAA Football video game in 2006. A certain game feature allows users to create a player and try to win the Heisman throughout their career.
“I did create myself,” Winston said. “And I made sure I won one.”
Winston, who has jokingly apologized to media for his unkempt hair during the season, sported a new, tight haircut Wednesday.
Clean cut, he is ready to journey to New York.
And if he happens to win the Heisman while he’s up there?
“It will be an honor,” Winston said. “If that happens, just to look in the stands and see my family and my coach. Just to see ... ‘Hey, I made you happy. I made you proud.’ It’s not really for me, it’s for my teammates. My teammates, they’re going to like that because my teammates want me to get it.
“My family, of course they want me to get it. It’s more about them than me.”