TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston is not a finalist for this year’s award.
When the Heisman trust announced the finalists Monday the Florida State quarterback’s name was not called. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and Alabama receiver Amari Cooper are the candidates heading to New York.
So Winston will not join former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only players to win the Heisman Trophy twice.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher and Winston were not made available for comment after the announcement.
Winston’s omission from group of finalists wasn’t a total surprise as voters may have been put off by his off-field distractions.
“If you’re talking about the best player in college football, he should be in the conversation,” NFL Media Analyst and former scout Bucky Brooks said before the finalists were announced. “The thing that hurts Jameis’ Heisman (consideration) is the off-the-field stuff. The number of turnovers that he’s had this year compared to last year, it’s hard to say he’s playing better than he did the previous year, which makes it hard to throw him in the conversation.”
The Heisman Trust mission statement says, “The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.”
Winston’s “off-field stuff” includes completing a university hearing last week to determine whether he violated any or all of four sections of the student code of conduct — two for sexual misconduct and two for endangerment — stemming from a sexual assault allegation.
He was not arrested following an investigation of the allegation and a prosecutor declined to file charges last December, citing a lack of evidence — and that was before he was named the 2013 Heisman winner.
Winston’s off-field reputation, however, has resulted in him being linked to several reports of wrongdoing, though many haven’t been proven. There were reports indicating Winston may have been involved in a point-shaving scheme and or selling autographs during the season, though no legal action was taken against Winston. He was also criticized after he pushed an official during a game, but was not flagged or reprimanded by the ACC.
On the field, Winston has done nothing but win.
The redshirt sophomore has won a national championship and every single college game he’s played. The Seminoles have won 27 consecutive games since Winston was named the starter before the 2013 season. He led them through a season of close games this year, and a spot in the first college football playoffs.
Winston’s numbers dropped after setting national freshman records for passing yards and touchdowns, but Winston lost a NFL rookie of the year candidate receiver, a center starting for the New England Patriots and a running back now playing for the Atlanta Falcons.
While Winston missed the cut as a finalist, he could participate in the ceremony as a former winner though his plans are unclear.