Jameis Winston is good at this college football thing, in case you hadn’t noticed. With a Heisman trophy to his name and now a BCS Championship, the Florida State quarterback is at the summit of the collegiate game.
Turns out, Winston also has a promising career with the Seminoles on the baseball diamond. Winston was drafted by the Texas Rangers out of high school in the 15th round of the 2012 MLB draft. As you can see from some of the highlights below, he does seem to have some potential. His arm strength gunning down runners is impressive, although he only hit .235 at Florida State in 119 at bats as a freshman. Winston added a couple saves at pitcher, too, finishing with a 3.00 ERA over 27 innings in relief.
Last month Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson made a few small headlines when he was selected by the Rangers in the Rule 5 draft. It’s highly unlikely Wilson follows in the footsteps of Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders (another two-sport Seminole star), however here’s a quote from Winston that makes a two-sport career seem vaguely possible, via the Dallas Morning News:
"“I want to be better than Bo Jackson,” Winston told reporters in New York before receiving the Heisman last month. “Of course, I want to keep doing both. That’s my dream.”"
Winston brought up Jackson, the famous two-sport star from Auburn, again during the build-up to the BCS Championship. Winston, like Jackson, is an Alabama native. This time Winston wasn’t quite as bullish, telling Alabama.com:
"“No one can be Bo Jackson,” Winston said. “I mean, the guy if he wouldn’t have gotten hurt probably would have been in the Hall of Fame in both baseball and football. So that’s something that’s unrealistic. But I’m not going to tell myself I can’t do that.”"
The biggest stumbling block for Winston’s two-sport dream is his position: quarterback. It’s difficult to envision an NFL team will let their top asset — one that could be drafted No. 1 overall — moonlight in Double-A hotspots like Binghamton, N.Y. and Chattanooga, Tenn. in the summer. Beyond that, looking at Winston’s baseball career it would likely be a couple years before he even came close to a Major League diamond — if at all.
That said, it’s a safe guess Winston has heard all the arguments about trying to do both sports plenty of times. You figure a high-level athlete like Winston only uses that negatively as a motivating tool. Plus, were Winston ever able to crack into the Majors and stick around there’s the potential to earn more money than he would playing in the NFL, without even close to the same injury risk.
Odds are this never happens, but it’s still fun to think about. You never know, perhaps Winston proves everyone wrong.