On Campus: Father knows best?
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Last week, Altonor Winston announced that his son, Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston would remain in school beyond the 2014 season.
"We want Jameis to succeed with one more year in baseball and two more years in football, said the elder Winston in an interview with AL.com. "We've never strayed from our plan that he is going to be in college until he gets that degree."
With that, Jameis' dad squashed the notion of his talented son leaving Florida State earlier than expected to cash in with the NFL.
Poet Robert Burns' carefully worded line - "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men," comes to mind.
Being the father of four, I can certainly see where Jameis' dad is coming from. Getting an education will aid in one's quest for a successful career, but that isn't always the causal link.
In Winston's case, his path to a successful career, financially speaking, started in Tallahassee last season, where as a redshirt freshman, he took the college football world by storm, completing 66.9 percent of his passes, for a whopping 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns, earning First-Team All-America honors, being tabbed the ACC Player of the Year and winning the Heisman Trophy and Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award. He capped all that off by leading the Seminoles to their first national title since 1999 with a late drive to cap off a thrilling, 34-31 win over Auburn.
By the way, he also starred on Florida State's baseball team as a closer, finishing the season with a 1.08 ERA and amassing 31 strikeouts, as FSU was ranked No. 1 in the nation for a period of time.
Putting the flirtation with a possible baseball career aside, being a top 10 pick and an NFL franchise quarterback is a dream come true.
Is there anything left for Winston to prove in the college ranks? Probably not. Despite a couple of well-publicized off-the-field incidents, that at the very least could point to some serious character flaws, Winston is still considered one of the top players eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft.
There is a very good chance of another productive season with the Seminoles this year if he remains healthy, so his stock should remain high.
Still, it is the unknown that could be Jameis' downfall. All the talent in the world can be nullified by questionable decisions off the field. The inability to stay on the right path has crippled many a career before ever getting started.
While NFL teams may be able to overlook such things with other positions, the face of a franchise must be above board.
Therein lies the rub.
Winston's decision at the end of the season could be to stay the course and earn his degree from FSU and no one can fault him for that.
In a perfect world, everything goes right (on and off the field) and the talented gun slinger will wait until 2016 to join the professional ranks, with his degree in hand.
How often does everything go exactly right?
Additional time in college also gives prospective employers extra time to evaluate and that isn't always a good thing. Picking apart things like technique, mechanics, football I.Q. and desire can cause a downward spiral for even the top prospects. Just ask Teddy Bridgewater.
It would surprise absolutely no one if the Winston brain trust does a complete 180 come season's end.
In the immortal words of Steve Miller ... "Take the money and run."
06/26 11:17:30 ET