This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.
PLAYERS WHO COULD KEEP JOHNNY MANZIEL FROM ANOTHER HEISMAN
NO. 4, JAMEIS WINSTON
Before you get too worked up ...
The last six Heisman Trophy winners have come out of the blue to win. Some were entirely off the radar (Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton). Others were coming off solid seasons but weren't considered Heisman contenders. HeismanPundit.com does a very good preseason watch list every year, and none of the last six winners were in the preseason top 10 (here are the lists if you're interested: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012).
The last Heisman winner who appeared in HeismanPundit's preseason top 10 was Troy Smith, and he was considered a darkhorse at No. 3 behind clear favorites Brady Quinn and Adrian Peterson. The last player to enter a season as one of the clear favorites and actually win the award might be Matt Leinart in 2004.
All that is to say, maybe you haven't heard of Jameis Winston, who will start at quarterback as a redshirt freshman for Florida State this season. Maybe you have heard of him and you think it's ridiculous to think he could win the Heisman. But there's a pretty good chance someone is going to come out of nowhere to either win the award or come very close, so why not the dynamic Seminoles quarterback?
Lack of experience didn't bother Manziel, who was a freshman last season, or Newton, who had 12 career FBS passing attempts coming into his Heisman campaign. And by all accounts, Winston has the talent to have a huge impact right away for the Seminoles. He was the top dual-threat quarterback in Rivals' rankings of the class of 2012, and a top 10 overall recruit. There has been a growing buzz about Winston, and that was before his great spring game.
On Winston's first throw of the spring game he hit walk-on David Tyrell for a 58-yard touchdown, beating defensive back Lamarcus Joyner, a first-team all-ACC pick last season. He completed 12-of-15 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns. After the game Clint Trickett, a pretty good quarterback himself, decided to transfer. He was honest with himself. Everyone could see Winston isn't the future, he's the present.
Oh, and did you know Winston plays baseball? He has a 1.99 earned-run average and opponents are hitting just .174 off him, and he helped the 44-12 Seminoles to an ACC Atlantic Division title. He plays the field once in a while too, and had this amazing throw from right field:
So we know he has an arm.
There are plenty of reasons to think Winston can have a special season and wind up in the Heisman conversation. He's already getting a lot of hype before he even plays a game. His baseball exploits make him interesting, and that generates additional publicity. He has the talent to put up big numbers passing and running, which has been the formula for each of the last three Heisman winners. He plays in an offense that produced pretty good numbers for E.J. Manuel, and for a team that is consistently in contention for a BCS bid.
You can't dismiss the idea of someone who is not considered a Heisman candidate now emerging to win the award, considering how many times it has happened recently. Given his talent and circumstances, Winston is as good of a pick as any to be the next one.