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Jameis Winston’s dreams don’t stop at Florida State title win

FloridState quarterback Jameis Winsthas kept teammates motivated with ideas blowing out oppositievery time. | Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has kept teammates motivated with ideas of blowing out the opposition every time. | Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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Updated: January 4, 2014 12:39AM



NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — In the wide world of Jameis Winston, no dream is too big.

Florida State’s redshirt freshman quarterback wants to be an even bigger deal than fellow Heisman Trophy winners Johnny Manziel, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton.

‘‘I want to be better than those guys,’’ Winston said Friday before hitting the practice field in advance of the BCS national championship game Monday against Auburn. ‘‘I want to keep getting better so I can be the person that everyone is talking about.’’

Winston, who will turn 20 on Monday, hopes to be the next Bo Jackson. Famous Jameis, a pitcher on FSU’s baseball team who was drafted in 2012 by the Texas Rangers, hails from Hueytown, Ala. Bo Knows is from Bessemer, literally the next town over.

‘‘I’m never going to look at somebody and say, ‘Hey, I can’t do that,’ because that’s not the person that I am,’’ Winston said.

The leader of the No. 1-ranked Seminoles even longs to finish his career . . . at Texas? Well, sort of. Winston loved the Longhorns when they were quarterbacked by his favorite player, Vince Young. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher was rumored to be a candidate to replace Mack Brown in Austin. Which has gotten Winston to thinking, and perhaps oversharing.

‘‘Me and Coach Fisher, we’re not worried about that. We’re worried about winning the national championship,’’ he said. ‘‘Even if Coach Fisher leaves, I’m going to say, ‘Coach, can I go?’ ”

There isn’t a better player in college football than Winston, and there sure as heck isn’t a better quote. During the last month of the regular season, no player was more controversial, either. Winston was not charged after an investigation into allegations he sexually assaulted a female student in December 2012, and he has proclaimed his innocence. Still, a certain awkwardness surrounds him, though he does his best to whisk it away.

‘‘My teammates don’t look at me any differently because they know I didn’t do nothing wrong throughout the whole process,’’ he said. ‘‘At the end of the day, that brought us closer together as a team.”

Winston often has seen things a little differently than most.

His mother is a die-hard fan of — wouldn’t you know it? — Auburn. His football-crazy uncles root for Alabama.

‘‘I was getting pushed one way or the other,’’ he said, ‘‘because when you’re born in that state, you have to be either this or that. But I told myself, ‘I’m not going to be either one.’ ”

So he picked Oklahoma as his team. Until he switched over to Texas, that is.

He was in the stands that amazing day in 2010 when Newton led Auburn back from a 24-0 halftime deficit at Alabama. Winston felt like the only person there who believed a player as talented as Newton still could turn the whole thing around.

‘‘Come on, man, only Cam [could] do that,’’ he said before breaking into a half-hearted but perfectly timed ‘‘Yes, we Cam!’’ chant.

Winston has been a singular force of Newton-like proportions. Much of his best work is done behind closed doors. Early and often this season, he has asked: ‘‘Guys, where in the rulebook does it say we can’t blow out every team that we play?’’ FSU has done just that in building a preposterous average margin of victory of 42.3 points.

After arriving here earlier this week, the quarterback repeated that question to his teammates.

‘‘We can do anything we want to do,’’ he told them.

Not many would admit at a time like this that they’re thinking about one more win by blowout. Winston is a different animal. Bold and brash? You bet. And a real dreamer. It’s who this guy is. It’s a big reason FSU is on the doorstep of a title.

‘‘What’s wrong with dreaming?’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve dreamed of this my whole life, and I’m going to keep dreaming until the day I die.’’

Email: sgreenberg@suntimes.com

Twitter: @slgreenberg



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