A player whose interest in the Tigers has been on the rise since he took a visit to the Auburn campus in March, Auburn's status in his eyes is continuing to increase after he arrived on campus at 9 a.m. and left more than eight hours later.
"They are working their way up to the top," the Hueytown High School star said of Auburn, which is offering him the opportunity to play quarterback in football as well as play baseball, too, something one of the most famous athletes in American history, Bo Jackson, did as a star at Auburn. A variety of other athletes managed to excel in football and baseball for the Tigers.
"I was very impressed today and I know my parents were," Winston said of his second visit to the Auburn campus. "This is the first time both of my parents have been with me on a visit."
The 6-4, 200-pound quarterback is a talented passer and runner on the football field who is rated a four-star recruit by Scout.com. On the baseball diamond he is an outfielder and pitcher who pro scouts are watching as a potential selection for the June 2012 Major League Baseball Draft.
"I love both sports," he said. "In baseball I play center field and shortstop, but I really like playing center field. I am like a deer out there tracking everything down."
Growing up a fan of the New York Yankees, Winston would love to have an opportunity to play center field for the Bronx Bombers. However, playing big-time college football has major appeal, too.
"I really like them both," he said. "My passion is in football, but I love both. I don't play any other sports now. I played basketball when I was a kid, but I decided to just take on football and baseball."
In football he is a dangerous passer with a strong arm and excellent height to throw the ball from the pocket. He also throws the ball well on the run and can move the chains with his legs.
"I am a pass-first quarterback, but God blessed me with some legs so I ain't going to just sit back there and get sacked," the class of 2012 prospect said.
"I like to run like Cam (Auburn Heisman Trophy winner Cameron Newton) did. They had a balanced offense and threw a lot. He threw for 2,500 yards and he rushed for a lot of yardage, too. He is a great player.
"I just want to be a passer first because that is what most quarterbacks get critiqued on--‘he runs too much.' You never hear ‘he passes too much.'"
As a junior Winston showed that he would become one of the top football prospects in the South for the 2012 signee class.
The quarterback, who was invited to play in the Under Armour All-American Game that will be held in January of 2012, had not mentioned Auburn as one of his favorites until recently.
He was on the Auburn campus on March 21st to meet with the football and baseball coaches and liked it enough to schedule a return visit. He points out the Tigers are moving up his interest list which includes teams such as Alabama, LSU, Vanderbilt and Clemson as well as some teams outside the Southeast such as Ohio State and Stanford.
Winston finished his junior year with 2,342 passing yards and 17 touchdowns. He rushed for 870 yards and 11 more scores. Off the field he is an honor student at Hueytown High School with a 4.1 grade point average. He said that he wants to narrow his list of colleges to five sometime in April or May and then have a decision this summer so he can help recruit other players for his signee class.
Alabama was his strong early leader and the Tide looks to still be the team to beat with Florida State also strongly in the picture and Auburn making a move. On Sunday he said, "It is really not a one and a two, it is more like a 1A, a 1B a 1C and a 1D. It's like I have got a lot of number ones."
Commenting on his second visit to Auburn, he noted that he spent a lot of time with Gus Malzahn, AU's offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.
"Coach Malzhan gave my parents a little quarterback setup, how everything works," Winston noted. "They just showed my family a good time. We went to eat and then we took a tour of the student-athlete thing (academic center). My mother is an Auburn fan so I know she loved it. My dad enjoyed it. He and Coach Chizik got to talk a lot and go into detail about different things about my recruitment."
Asked if he learned more about the university than he did on his first visit, he replied, "I did because it was a longer day. My family got involved so there were more questions brought up. It was actually my parents' first time for both of them coming to a school."
Winston and his family arrived at Plainsman Park with Chizik, Malzahn and wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor to watch the last half of Auburn's SEC baseball game vs. Vandy before meeting with the head baseball coach.
"I took a trip over to the baseball game and everything went real good," he said. "I talked to Coach Chizik and Coach Pawlowski together. We worked out a few things."
The prospect noted the coaches showed him a calendar with a plan for his entire time in college from his first semester on campus as a freshman through to graduation that would allow him to play both sports. He said that both he and his parents liked the plan.
Winston said he felt comfortable at Auburn on his visit and pointed out that he knows a pair of AU football players, LaDarius Owens and Chris Davis, as well as several other AU students who he grew up with in the Hueytown area. "We always played together and stuff like that," he said of Davis and Owens, who signed football scholarships with Auburn in February of 2010.
Winston is currently heavily involved in his baseball season and noted that Hueytown is 21-5 now. "The season is going really well," he said.
Winston said he doesn't have any visits to other colleges lined up at the moment. He noted that his short-term focus is on school, baseball and retaking the ACT. He was disappointed with his first result, an 18 composite score, and is shooting for a 26 or 27 on the second time around.
"I went to sleep on the reading part," he said. "I got a 13 on that. I did pretty good on everything else."
Academically, he looks to be in good shape with his perfect grade point average and he is on track to be a co-valedictorian of the class of 2012 at Hueytown High.