Comparing Jameis Winston's Debut to Notable Freshman Quarterbacks

Athlon ranks Winston's performance against debuts of other hyped QBs

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

PlayerResult, YearCmp-AttPctYardsTD-INTRushing YardsRushing TDs
Matthew Stafford, GeorgiaW vs. UAB, 200610-1758.81070-0141
Jimmy Clausen, Notre DameL @ Georgia Tech, 200717-3253.11440-1-250
Matt Barkley, USCW vs. San Jose State, 200915-1978.92331-0-50
Andrew Luck, StanfordW @ Wash State, 200911-2347.81931-0530
Christian Hackenburg, Penn StateW vs. Syracuse, 201322-31602782-2-120
Jameis Winston, FSUW vs. Pitt, 201325-2792.53564-0251
Braxton Miller, Ohio StateW vs. Colorado, 20115-1338.5832-0830
Michael Vick, Virginia TechW vs. Clemson, 19997-1766.7880-3410
Terrelle Pryor, Ohio StateW vs. Troy, 200810-1662.51394-1660

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.



More Stories: