Taking Stock of the Jameis Winston Breakout.

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By: Vaughan Sheffey (@Vizzle311)

(Image by Joel Auerbach of Getty Images)

“Famous Jameis”…

That nickname is almost too easy to come up with so I guess we all should have seen it coming.  The hype was palpable going into the game vs. Pitt on September 2, both in Tallahassee and nationally.  However, Jameis still was an unknown to the casual college football observer. Obviously, he exceeded even the most optimistic projections in his debut and EXPLODED onto the national scene. However, not only can you define the performance as explosive, but also extremely efficient: 25 of 27 passing (which easily could have been 26 of 27) for 356 yds, and 4 TDs. Oh and for good measure he added a rushing TD as well.  His debut game was already being compared to Johnny Manziel’s first start by the time midnight struck on Sept. 3.  

As an FSU diehard, it’s not hard at all to get completely wrapped up in this hype train and declare Jameis as the next great dual threat quarterback. Anyone who endured the Chris Rix years can remember longing for some kind of excitement.  Rix was emblematic of the Seminole QB’s that started for Bowden in his later years: excellent overall athlete, high expectations, a few great games but overall could not quite deliver the Noles back to the elite tier in college football. What made this time even more frustrating was the up and down nature of the ACC as a football conference. Many fans will also remember Xavier Lee, who came in with expectations of being the next great one but never achieved that level. Don’t get me wrong either, I was a huge E.J. Manuel fan and loved what he did last year. However, he still did not become what we all hoped when he took over for Christian Ponder.

I am getting to my point and that is this: Don’t get caught up and crown him, at least not yet. Trust me, I want to just as much as the next FSU fan.  I’m almost ready to build a shrine to him in my living room (much to the chagrin of my roommates). The real test is of course when the team travels to Clemson on October 19. If Famous Jameis can deliver in that game, then it’s really time to get excited, this I promise. If he can go into Death Valley and deliver another performance with star QB numbers but most importantly star QB EFFICIENCY, then he is the real deal and no one can dispute that.

What’s the ceiling for Jameis? The bar was and still is the great Charlie Ward (’91 – ’93), the most decorated player in the history of the football program. But let’s take a look at Charlie’s Heisman season in 1993 (per sports-reference.com):

Passing

Comp

Att

Comp %

Yds

Yds per att

TD

Int

Rating

264

380

69.5

3032

8.0

27

4

157.8

Rushing

Att.

Yards

Avg.

TD

65

339

5.2

4

When looking at those stats stacked up against today’s standards, the yards and touchdowns are not all that impressive. Especially when compared to Gator great Tim Tebow who dwarfed those numbers in his Heisman and championship runs, at least as far as combined rushing and passing. What stands out is the efficiency numbers i.e. completion percentage, yards per attempt, and TD-Interception ratio. Ward’s numbers still stand out as elite level by the standards in which today’s college QB’s are judged. By the way for those who were not fortunate (or old) enough to have experienced it, Charlie’s level of domination in Bill Walsh College Football ’94 (Sega Genesis) was easily the equal of Michael Vick in Madden 2004 but I digress.

Long story short, anyone who witnessed his debut has to admit that he possesses the potential to far surpass these stats. Another huge factor is consistent support from a coaching staff that recruited him and is completely focused on maximizing his talent. On top of all this, I haven’t even touched on his charisma and personality but that is another post for another day.

Know this for sure, I will be not be missing a second of Jameis Winston this season.

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