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Comparing Jameis Winston's Debut to Notable Freshman Quarterbacks

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston

Monday night provided the football world its first look at Florida State's highly touted redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston. To say that Winston - known in Tallahassee as Famous Jameis - was impressive in his debut is an understatement. The Hueytown, Alabama product was a nearly perfect 25 of 27, shredding Pittsburgh for 356 and 4 touchdowns.

The garnet and gold appears to fit Winston well, as he broke the Florida State record for passing yards in a debut. Additionally, his four passing scores were one short of the five touchdown passes former Seminoles quarterback Danny Kanell threw in his debut in 1993. In fact, when compared historically with other super-hyped freshman quarterbacks, Winston’s performance is head-and-shoulders above the rest. Jameis Winston became the only quarterback over the last 10 seasons with three passing touchdowns and a rushing score in the first half of his first career game. In the last 10 years, Winston is just 1 of 8 players to complete at least 25 passes with a completion percentage above 85% against a BCS team.

Comparing College Football's Freshman Debuts

Player

Result, Year

Cmp-Att

Pct

Yards

TD-INT

Rushing Yards

Rushing TDs

Matthew Stafford, Georgia

W vs. UAB, 2006

10-17

58.8

107

0-0

14

1

Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame

L @ Georgia Tech, 2007

17-32

53.1

144

0-1

-25

0

Matt Barkley, USC

W vs. San Jose State, 2009

15-19

78.9

233

1-0

-5

0

Andrew Luck, Stanford

W @ Wash State, 2009

11-23

47.8

193

1-0

53

0

Christian Hackenburg, Penn State

W vs. Syracuse, 2013

22-31

60

278

2-2

-12

0

Jameis Winston, FSU

W vs. Pitt, 2013

25-27

92.5

356

4-0

25

1

Braxton Miller, Ohio State

W vs. Colorado, 2011

5-13

38.5

83

2-0

83

0

Michael Vick, Virginia Tech

W vs. Clemson, 1999

7-17

66.7

88

0-3

41

0

Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State

W vs. Troy, 2008

10-16

62.5

139

4-1

66

0

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The young signal caller shined under the glow of the national spotlight on Monday night. The 6’4” 227-pounder proved his dual-threat abilities in the first half, running over a Panthers defender to score on the ground for five yards out. Winston was 17 of 18 in the first half for 240 yards and three touchdowns. The only incompletion Winston had in the first 30 minutes was a disputed play on the sidelines where senior receiver Kenny Shaw argued he got his foot down inbounds. The two-sport athlete led the Seminoles to touchdowns on their last four drives of the half.

At a school with two former Heisman trophy winners at quarterback (Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke) and two first round picks (Christian Ponder and EJ Manuel), Winston was praised by former ‘Noles quarterback Danny Kanell as the “most talented person” to ever play quarterback in Tallahassee. With play like this Winston could be headed to capture the school's third Heisman Trophy in the near future.

The Seminoles and their new leader take on Nevada next Saturday. Expect big numbers once again from the freshman phenom as the Wolf Pack gave up 58 points and 647 yards to UCLA.