NEW ORLEANS— Jameis Winston, fresh off leading his Florida State team to the BCS National Championship, has been selected as the 2013-14 winner of the Manning Award, presented by the Allstate Sugar Bowl to the top quarterback in the nation. The Manning Award, now in its 10th year, was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that takes into consideration the candidates’ bowl performances in its balloting. The award is voted on by a panel of local and national media, as well as each of the Mannings.
“On behalf of the Manning family and my sons Peyton and Eli, we want to thank the Allstate Sugar Bowl for creating this award,” said Archie Manning. “We like to think this award is a little unique because we wait until after the bowl games to recognize the best quarterback in the country for the entire year. We are truly honored to present this award to Jameis Winston after an outstanding year as a quarterback at Florida State. He had an undefeated team that climaxed with a great win in Pasadena on Monday night.”
“It means a lot to have my name next to ‘Manning,’” Winston said. “With the accolades that Peyton and Eli and Mr. Manning have had in college and in professional football, it makes me so happy to get announced as the winner of this award.”
This year’s Heisman Trophy winner following the regular season, Winston added to his accomplishments by being named the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the BCS National Championship on Monday evening. With the Seminoles trailing 31-27 with 1:11 to go in the game, Winston took charge from his own 20-yard line, completing 5-of-6 passes to get his team to the two-yard line before finding Kelvin Benjamin for a two-yard touchdown connection to clinch the title with 13 seconds remaining.
“I think Jameis is the total package,” Manning said. “I love his athleticism; I’m a little partial, I like baseball players too, a hundred years ago, I played baseball in college too. He has great command out there; he scans the field; he’s capable of tucking and running, but he doesn’t do it too quick; he goes through his options. Winning all of his games and the national championship sure speaks highly of him.”
Winston, who also plays baseball for Florida State, is the second freshman to earn the honor, joining last year’s honoree, Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M. He is also the second Atlantic Coast Conference player to be selected (joining Boston College’s Matt Ryan from 2007-08) and the fifth national champion to win the honor (joining Matt Leinart, 2004-05; Vince Young, 2005-06; Tim Tebow, 2008-09; and Cam Newton, 2010-11).
A product of Bessamer, Ala., Winston set the ACC and FBS freshman record for touchdown passes (40) and the freshman mark for passing yards (4,057), while leading the nation in total quarterback rating (85.8) and pass efficiency rating (184.8). In addition to becoming the first freshman to capture the ACC Player of the Year award in the 61-year history of the Atlantic Coast Conference, he was a consensus All-American, the Walter Camp National Player of the Year and the Davey O'Brien Quarterback of the Year.
Winston opened the 2013 season and his career by completing the first 11 passes he threw in a nationally televised Labor Day evening game at Pittsburgh and never slowed down. He tallied seven 300-yard passing games and threw three touchdowns in a game eight times. A seven-time ACC Rookie of the Week, Winston's signature performance came at No. 3 Clemson where he led FSU to a 51-14 victory over the Tigers by throwing for career-best 444 yards and three touchdowns and added a rushing score.
He vaulted FSU into the National Championship Game by throwing for 330 yards and accounting for four total touchdowns to earn ACC Championship Game MVP honors in a 45-7 win over Duke.
Winston is also the first freshman quarterback ever to lead his team to 13 wins, finishing with 14 including the national championship victory.
The other finalists for this year’s Manning Award were: Tajh Boyd (Sr., Clemson), Teddy Bridgewater (Jr., Louisville), Derek Carr (Sr., Fresno State), Jordan Lynch (Sr., Northern Illinois), Johnny Manziel (So., Texas A&M), Marcus Mariota (So., Oregon), AJ McCarron (Sr., Alabama), Aaron Murray (Sr., Georgia) and Bryce Petty (Jr., Baylor).
USC’s Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner of the Manning Award in 2005, followed by Texas’ Vince Young in 2006. Both went on to be top 10 NFL draft picks. In 2007, LSU’s JaMarcus Russell earned the award and was the NFL’s No. 1 draft pick. Boston College’s Matt Ryan claimed the award in 2008 and was drafted No. 3, quickly becoming the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. In 2009, Florida star Tim Tebow earned the honor – he also went on to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The 2010 winner was Texas signal-caller Colt McCoy, then the winningest quarterback in college football history, who was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the draft. McCoy was followed by top-two NFL Draft picks – Auburn’s Cameron Newton earned the award in 2011, prior to being selected No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers and then Robert Griffin, III, from Baylor, was the 2012 winner prior to being the No. 2 overall pick by the Washington Redskins. This past season’s winner was Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel, who was the first freshman to earn the honor.