Winston Plans to Stay a Seminole for Two More Years
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Or at least, this is what he's saying right now.
Jameis Winston, the freshman phenom who led his Florida State Seminoles to the Divison I national championship, clearly likes his options in Tallahassee.
I'll bet Jimbo Fisher and anyone who religiously follows the Noles were ecstatic to hear this news. Jimbo did say earlier that Winston would stay in Tallahassee for another two years, even though the 20-year-old is NFL-draft eligible after next season. With his success as a freshman and his refined skill set, most NFL analysts considered him a first-round pick this year. That stock should rise following next year's performance if Winston can improve on his unbelievable rookie campaign.
Baseball most definitely was a major influence on Winston's decision to stay. He was a pre-season third team All-American selection as a utility player for this upcoming college baseball year. The Seminoles are ranked in the Top 10 in pre-season polls, and is expected to be the Seminoles closer. Winston takes baseball equally as serious as football and has high expectations for not only his skillset but for the Seminoles baseball program.
There have been other top college football players who eschewed the NFL draft for baseball. It's not tough to understand why; of the four major sports, baseball's minimum salary -- $520,000 for 2014, which is up $20,000 from last year -- trails only the NHL, and baseball careers are usually much longer than those in pro football. Remember also that MLB contracts are 100% guaranteed; NFL contracts aren't.
Two examples of college gridiron stars who opted for baseball and came up trumps are Jeff Samardzija (Nôtre Dame and now the Cubs) and Todd Helton (Peyton Manning's backup at Tennessee and now about to get his number retired in Colorado).
There have been headlines about the Texas Rangers picking up the rights to Russell Wilson, but his minor-league stats from a few years ago are a strong indicator he'll stick with his day job.
Florida State's recent recruiting class includes two Top Ten receivers, according to the recruiting rankers, so the Seminoles are reloading at the position, and Winston will be just as pleased with his targets as he was last year.
Then again, he's a 20-year-old human who has the right to switch his career path because it's his perogative to do so. If the NFL is right at his fingertips next season -- and odds are it will be -- no one could blame him if he jumps ship.
But, face it, he's in a cozy cocoon at Tallahassee. May as well enjoy it a while longer.