Hueytown (AL) High School quarterback Jameis Winston turned down offers from Alabama and LSU and committed Wednesday to coach Jimbo Fisher and Florida State.
Florida State quarterbacks coach and recruiting guru Dameyune Craig may never be able to step foot in his home state of Alabama ever again, not after Jameis Winston of Hueytown High School committed Wednesday to the Seminoles.
A 6-4, 190-pound signal caller, Winston is now the crown jewel of what is certainly looking to be the top recruiting class in the nation for the Seminoles. He's nothing short of off the charts from a measurables perspective, possessing all the size, speed, strength, smarts and savvy necessary to be just an indefensible offensive threat once he gets his chance to play. While coach Jimbo Fisher has expressed all the confidence in the world in new starter E.J. Manuel for this coming season as he replaces graduated first-round pick Christian Ponder, the depth chart at the game's most important position was void of an obvious heir once Manuel's time in Tallahassee elapses.
For an even deeper breakdown of Winston and what kind of passer he could become eventually for the garnet and gold, NoleDigest.com traded more than a few messages with Chad Simmons, who is the national recruiting analyst for Scout.com:
Strengths: Sound decision-making with the football. Obvious poise and leadership in the huddle. Mobility and running ability to make something out of nothing when the play breaks down.
Weaknesses: Accuracy can be an issue here and there. A general lack of consistency means the term "streaky" gets thrown around a bit.
Simmons says: This means FSU is getting not only one of the best quarterbacks, but one of the best overall prospects in America. Winston is a very mature player, and he will give FSU an athletic quarterback that is a pass-first guy. But he is someone that could also hurt defenses with his legs. He is still a Major League Baseball prospect, so now that Winston is on board, coaches and fans have to turn their attention to June and see where he ends up in the draft. However, if Winston decides to play football in Tallahassee, he will bring a very live arm, good legs, a strong pocket presence and a lot of talent to Jimbo Fisher's offense.
JC's take: It was one thing for Craig to put together the trifecta of Chris Casher, Justin Shanks and Alphonse Taylor, but to complete the Alabama superfecta with Winston could lead to some serious unrest in the Yellowhammer State.
Winston is a grand slam on every level for Florida State, as he can learn under Manuel -- remember the two of them became fast friends at the recent Elite 11 camp in California -- during the 2012 campaign and then potentially be a three-year starter for Fisher and Co. It will be interesting to see if West Orange (NJ) Seton Hall Preparatory quarterback Sean Maguire now backs out of his commitment since he's only rated as a two-star prospect, although he did throw the ball quite well at Fisher's June camp. Neither Clint Trickett nor Will Secord appears to be anything more than a backup at a high-profile program like FSU, and even if incoming freshman Jacob Coker develops, he was originally just a three-star recruit himself.
Here's another thing to consider -- thanks to Scout.com recruiting analyst Mike Bakas -- with regard to, say, Jacksonville (FL) First Coast High School receiver Chris Black, who announces his commitment decision Friday: "Getting a QB of that caliber always results in increasing your chances with other top prospects, especially other offensive skill-position guys."
John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.