In a recent interview with AL.com, Antonor Winston, father of Florida State starting quarterback Jameis Winston, said his son plans on staying in school until he graduates in December 2015, meaning two more seasons on the gridiron for the Seminoles.
“We want Jameis to succeed with one more year in baseball and two more years in football,” he said. “We've never strayed from our plan that he is going to be in college until he gets that degree.”
A redshirt sophomore, Winston will be three years removed from high school next spring and eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft. Since 1970, only four redshirt sophomore quarterbacks have left the college ranks early and landed in the draft's first round, including Cleveland Browns' quarterback Johnny Manziel last month, so it's an uncommon occurrence.
But like Manziel, Winston isn't exactly a common NFL prospect.
Currently working towards an Engineering degree, Winston might also be a high pick in the MLB Draft, giving the 20-year old options that could persuade him to stay in Tallahassee beyond this season. After all, what's the rush? The NFL isn't going anywhere and the Winston family wants education to come before the professional contract.
Winston's trophy case already includes a Heisman Trophy, Conference Player of the Year honors and a BCS National Championship after an unprecedented freshman season last year. But despite numerous accolades and impressive performances for a young player, Winston is far from a perfect NFL prospect. The 20-year old passer has an elongated delivery, needs to continue his mental development and the off-field red flags have been plentiful. The good outweighs the bad however, and if Winston shows consistent progression on the field, he'll likely be viewed as an early first round pick whenever he goes pro.
Regardless of prior plans, Winston's performance in 2014 will likely be the most substantial indicator to whether or not he enters the 2015 NFL Draft. He doesn't need to make a decision on his NFL future until next January, so for now, the comments of Winston's father should be received as nothing more than one of Winston's several options.