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CFB roundup: Winston was tossed from practice before title game

The SportsXchange

Quarterback Jameis Winston cemented his legacy when he guided Florida State on a game-winning touchdown drive in the last two minutes of Monday's BCS National Championship Game.

The irony is that Winston was booted out of the Seminoles' final practice in Tallahassee leading up to the battle with Auburn because of his inattentiveness regarding the two-minute drill.

Jimbo Fisher sent Winston to the locker room on Dec. 30, the coach acknowledged in a Tuesday press conference in Newport Beach, Calif.

"The mindset that you have to have, which he had all year, I just saw it drifting," Fisher said of the Tallahassee incident. "He waited for me to get off the field and we had a long discussion and we had it out. He's an unbelievable guy to be able to process and transition and go right back. ...

"He learned from it, he grew from it, and I grew from it. I grow from those situations how I handle it every time with those guys, too. Wish you didn't have to do it, but I think it just made our relationship that much stronger and we understand each other that much more."

Winston experienced no difficulties in the two-minute drill Monday night.

The Heisman Trophy-winning redshirt freshman completed six of seven passes for 77 yards on the Seminoles' 80-yard drive, capping it with a 2-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. The touchdown with 13 seconds remaining lifted Florida State to a 34-31 victory.

--Florida State running back James Wilder will forgo his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft, a source told ESPN.

Despite his limited workload, Wilder is the No. 4-rated junior running back and currently projected as a mid-round pick.

Wilder, 6-feet-2, 229 pounds, had 81 carries for 563 yards and eight touchdowns this seasons as one of two primary backups to starter Devonta Freeman. He also battled a shoulder injury and a concussion, and Wilder's decision to make the jump to the NFL isn't surprising with Karlos Williams earning additional snaps as the season went on.

Wilder, a native of Tampa, Fla., is the son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star James Wilder, Sr.

--Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson will enter the 2014 NFL Draft.

The ninth overall prospect available according to NFLDraftScout.com, Robinson said following Monday's national championship game loss that his decision became more difficult because of the defeat.

But Tuesday Robinson said he would make the jump and confirmed he received a first-round grade from the NFL draft advisory board. Texas A&M's Jake Matthews is the top-ranked player and offensive tackle according to NFLDraftScout.com.

--Perhaps Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco can find the complementary threat to Torrey Smith he desperately needs in his brother, Mike, who is entering the 2014 NFL Draft.

Mike Flacco, a 26-year-old tight end, will enter May's draft after catching 30 passes for 591 yards and nine touchdowns, according to ESPN. The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder played just one season of college football after spending four years pursuing a baseball career in the minor leagues with the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox.

Flacco has two years of eligibility remaining and is an extremely raw prospect from the 2016 class, but his athleticism will at least garner a look from NFL scouts. He is believed to run the 40-yard dash in the 4.8-second range, and NFL teams look high and low for seam-busting tight ends in the mold of Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham, who played just one season of football at the University of Miami after exhausing his basketball eligibility.

--Johnny Manziel passed on the bright lights of the ESPN stage before Monday's national title game to announce whether he will enter the 2014 NFL Draft, but Texas A&M's redshirt sophomore quarterback has selected his agents, according to ESPN.com.

Manziel has chosen Houston-based Select Sports Group to be his contract agency and LRMR to handle his marketing, according to the report. LRMR is the firm run by LeBron James' business partner, Maverick Carter.

Manziel attended a Miami Heat playoff game last season, and said he and the NBA superstar regularly traded text message last summer. He was reportedly seen sitting courtside with Carter at the Heat's game against the Golden State Warriors last week.

Manziel is currently the No. 8-rated overall player eligible this year, according to NFLDraftScout.com ratings. He is likely to be a top 10 selection should he indeed elect to leave school, but the quarterback class received a strong boost with juniors Teddy Bridgewater from Louisville and UCF's Blake Bortles announcing they will forgo their final years of eligibility.

--Missouri running back Henry Josey has decided not to risk suffering another major injury, and announced he will forgo his senior season to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.

It's a big gamble by Josey, the No. 19-rated junior running back by NFLDraftScout.com who may have been able to improve his draft stock by returning to school in 2014. Josey (5-10, 190) rushed for 1,168 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore in 2011 before suffering a gruesome season-ending knee injury that nearly proved to be career-ending as he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and patellar tendon.

After sitting out the 2012 season, Josey returned to rush for 1,166 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2013, and closed out his career by earning offensive MVP honors in the Tigers' Cotton Bowl victory.

--Ohio State All-Big Ten defensive lineman Noah Spence was suspended after testing positive for the street drug ecstacy, according to his father.

Spence, a sophomore, missed the Orange Bowl to serve a ban thought to be tied to use of a dietary supplement. Spence's father, Greg Spence, told ABC27 is Harrisburg, Penn., that his son unintentionally took "a small amount of ecstacy" when he consumed a drink given to him by strangers at a party.

Greg Spence said the Big Ten suspended his son for one year, but the NCAA overruled to reduce the suspension to three games following an appeal. He will serve the final two games of the suspension in the first two games of the 2014 season -- against Navy and Georgia Tech.

--Palpable drama and a 1 vs. 2 matchup between Florida State and Auburn produced a classic 34-31 outcome, but did not draw well with television viewers.

The 15.3 overnight rating of the ESPN broadcast tied the final BCS championship game for ninth in the 16-year history of the game. College football will introduce a version of the Final Four in January 2014.

The highest-rated BCS championship game was played in 2006, when Texas nipped Southern Cal at the Rose Bowl. USC and Oklahoma drew a BCS title game low 13.7 in 2005.

--Florida State received all 60 first-place votes and finished No. 1 in the final AP poll of the 2013 season.

The Seminoles (14-0), beat Auburn 34-31 for the program's third national title in 20 years (1993, 1999), ending a run of seven consecutive national titles for the Southeastern Conference.

Alabama, two-time defending champions, finished No. 7 among seven teams that finished in the top 14.

Auburn (12-2) was No. 2 ahead of Michigan State, the Big Ten champions who knocked off Stanford in Pasadena, Calif., in the Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1.

South Carolina, Missouri and Oklahoma came in ahead of the Crimson Tide. Clemson was eighth with Oregon and UCF rounding out the top 10.

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