BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston's improbable redshirt freshman season ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds left to defeat Auburn for the 2013 BCS national championship. It capped a debut that saw him join former Texas A&M standout Johnny Manziel as the only freshmen to ever win a Heisman Trophy.
The Alabama native will pick up another prize for his on-field exploits this weekend from the Alabama Sports Writers Association. Winston will be named the 2013 Alabama Amateur Athlete of the Year by the state's media Sunday night in Troy during the group's annual awards banquet and convention.
He will not be able to attend the event as it was just his second weekend off from practice or competition since the Seminoles returned from their BCS victory. Winston is also a pitcher, outfielder and designated hitter on Florida State's baseball team. Florida State athletic officials said he had a prior commitment.
Antonor Winston, his father, expressed the family's sentiment for the honor nonetheless.
"An honor like that coming to Jameis from his home state while he's off playing in Florida means something to us," his father said. "That's special. Any award from the people of the state of Alabama is special to our family."
The two-sport standout led the nation in passing efficiency (184.8) in 2013 and set new Florida State and national freshman records for single-season passing yards (4,057) and touchdown passes (40). Winston threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns in that 34-31 comeback win at the Rose Bowl to earn offensive MVP honors in the national championship game. He became the first freshman quarterback to lead his team to a 14-win season. He also became the youngest player to win the Heisman at 19 years and 342 days.
"I knew he was going to be successful," his father said. "I knew he was a smart kid. Jameis is an intelligent kid and a competitive player. The dude got himself accepted into Stanford, but a Heisman Trophy? Nobody in our family expected anything like that after his first season."
The ASWA honor finishes a grocery list of awards for his freshman season that included The Davey O'Brien and Manning Awards. Winston is recognized by the Florida State website as the first freshman to earn Player of the Year honors in the 61-year history of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC also honored Winston with its Offensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year awards.
What moment of the 2013 season stands out to the father of the Heisman winner? The answer might come as a surprise.
"I think the moment that was most surreal was the Clemson game," Antonor Winston said. "That was the game where he and his team surprised everybody. Nobody really expected them to win and he took to that game the way he would a big game in high school. He acted like a kid again in the middle of all that pressure. I was proud of the way he handled the hype around his first real big college game."
Winston threw for 2,641 yards and 26 touchdowns in just the first half of those 14 games where many of them featured big halftime leads for the Seminoles. Florida State set the national record for total points (723), while averaging 51.6 points per game.
The nation's top-rated quarterback recruit coming out of Hueytown in 2011 got off to a fast start on national television at Pitt by completing the first 11 passes of his career along the way to a 25-for-27 debut passing performance that led to 356 yards and four touchdowns. The ASWA named Winston an all-state player three times in baseball and twice in football during his prep days at Hueytown.
Winston joins recent Heisman Trophy winners Mark Ingram of Alabama and Cam Newton from Auburn to also receive the ASWA's top amateur athletic honor the year after they won the Heisman Trophy.