NCF On The Trail: Jameis Winston

#AskLoogs: Questions of character

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
3:00
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

 
Absolutely, if we can confirm it or see it for ourselves. This is the challenge of player evaluation. Oftentimes the easy part is determining if the guy can play. The difficult part is finding out what kind of person he is. What are his red flags? Personality quirks? A player might be a four- or five-star player and two-star person. Quite honestly, we never saw any of this “foolishness” with Jameis Winston when he was a recruit. The way kids handle pressure, hype, exposure, success, failure, academics, social environment, etc. can often be impossible to project when a guy is 16 years old. You just don’t know what they are going to do until you have them in your program. You are always weighing risk and what you are willing to deal with in exchange for ability level, especially if you know going in there are some red flags. There is no crystal ball and too many unknown factors that are part of the equation with any recruit, but when coaches are on the hook is when they knowingly take a high-risk player. Coming out of high school, Winston was not in that category.
Some are can't-miss prospects, such as Jameis Winston. The Florida State quarterback was ESPN's No. 1 QB in the Class of 2012, won the Heisman Trophy in his first season as the Seminoles' starter and added a national championship to cap his redshirt freshman year.

Others are not so easy to find.

Andre Williams, who finished three spots behind Winston in the 2013 Heisman Trophy voting, was a two-star prospect in the Class of 2010. All the Boston College running back did this past fall was tally the fifth-highest rushing total in FBS history (2,177 yards).

[+] EnlargeJameis Winston, Andre Williams
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesAndre Williams and Jameis Winston came from opposite ends of the recruiting spectrum.
With national signing day coming Wednesday, we figured this is a good time to revisit where our All-ACC players stood when they signed with their schools. The results, as usual, offer some surprises.

Just one ESPN.com All-ACC player from this past season entered college as a five-star prospect. Williams was one of two two-star prospects. There were 11 four-star prospects and eight three-star prospects. Two players, both of whom are from the high school Class of 2009, don't have star ratings, as ESPN didn't start using star ratings until 2010. Kickers and punters have no ratings, rankings or grades.

(All rankings and information are from ESPN's Recruiting Nation.)

Offense

  • QB Jameis Winston, Florida State via Hueytown (Ala.) High: Four stars, No. 14 overall prospect, Class of 2012. Scout grade: 84
  • RB: Andre Williams, Boston College via Allentown (Pa.) Parkland High: Two stars, No. 152 RB, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 73
  • RB: Devonta Freeman, Florida State via Miami Central High: Four stars, No. 15 RB, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 80
  • WR: Sammy Watkins, Clemson via South Fort Myers (Fla.) High: Four stars, No. 39 overall prospect, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 82
  • WR: Rashad Greene, Florida State via Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Saint Thomas Aquinas High: Four stars, No. 125 overall prospect, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 80
  • WR: Jamison Crowder, Duke via Monroe (N.C.) High: Three stars, No. 65 WR, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 78
  • TE: Eric Ebron, North Carolina via Greensboro (N.C.) Smith High: Four stars, No. 8 TE, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 80
  • T: Cameron Erving, Florida State via Colquitt County (Ga.) High: Three stars, No. 83 DT, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 76
  • T: Brandon Thomas, Clemson via Dorman (S.C.) High: No. 60 OG, Class of 2009. Scout grade: 76*
  • G: Laken Tomlinson, Duke via Chicago Lane Tech High: Three stars, No. 65 OG, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 75
  • G: Tre’ Jackson, Florida State via Wayne County (Ga.) High: Three stars, No. 50 DT, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 78
  • C: Bryan Stork, Florida State via Vero Beach (Fla.) High: No. 45 TE, Class of 2009. Scout grade: 76*
Defense

  • DE: Vic Beasley, Clemson via Adairsville (Ga.) High: Four stars, No. 19 ATH, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 80
  • DE: Kareem Martin, North Carolina via Roanoke Rapids (N.C.) High: Three stars, No. 59 DE, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 80
  • DT: Aaron Donald, Pitt via Pittsburgh Penn Hills High: Four stars, No. 22 DT, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 79
  • DT: Timmy Jernigan, Florida State via Lake City (Fla.) Columbia High: Four stars, No. 17 overall prospect, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 84
  • LB: Telvin Smith, Florida State via Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes High: Four stars, No. 107 overall prospect, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 81
  • LB: Kelby Brown, Duke via Charlotte (N.C.) Christian High: Three stars, No. 88 OLB, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 75
  • LB: Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College via Stamford (Conn.) The King & Low Heywood Thomas School: Four stars, No. 20 OLB, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 79
  • CB: Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State via Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Saint Thomas Aquinas High: Five stars, No. 6 overall prospect, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 87
  • CB: Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech via Baltimore Mount St. Joseph High: Three stars, No. 43 CB, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 77
  • S: Terrence Brooks, Florida State via Dunnellon (Fla.) High: Three stars, No. 21 CB, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 70
  • S: Anthony Harris, Virginia via Cheesterfield (Va.) Lloyd C. Bird High: Two stars, No. 203 ATH, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 72
Special Teams

  • K: Nate Freese, Boston College via Strongsville (Ohio) High: Class of 2009
  • P: Pat O’Donnell, Miami via Palm Beach (Fla.) Central High: Class of 2009
  • SP: Ryan Switzer, North Carolina via Charleston (W.Va.) George Washington High: Four stars, No. 59 WR, Class of 2013. Scout grade: 80

Manziel or Winston? Prospects weigh in

December, 29, 2013
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- There are many topics of conversation among prospects playing in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game. One of them centers around the past two Heisman Trophy winners.

On Saturday, upon checking in for the prestigious game, a number of prospects weighed in on a hot topic involving Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Florida State's Jameis Winston.

If they had to choose between the two, who would the players take as their college quarterback? Here are their responses:

[+] EnlargeMarlon Humphrey
Courtesy of IntersportNo. 9 overall prospect Marlon Humphrey likes how Johnny Manziel makes others around him better.
Five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Al./Hoover High): Ah man, I think I’m going to have to go with Johnny Manziel. I just feel like he kind of made a team out of nothing. Jameis Winston is a great quarterback too, but he doesn’t have the scrambling skills that Manziel has. This year, you could tell that his teams defense wasn’t that good, the players around him weren’t as good, but he kept making his team better. He’s has the fight in him I would want on my team.

Florida commit and No. 20-ranked Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central High): I would say Jameis Winston. He’s really a pure quarterback, and I think he sets up things more for a running back than Johnny Manziel does.

Auburn running back commit Racean Thomas (Oxford, Al./Oxford High): I would probably pick Jameis Winston. The reason behind that is because he is more of a leader for a young quarterback, and I think he can make his team a more mature team. I really think he would be a great quarterback to play with.

Florida wide receiver commit and No. 28 Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead Senior High): Whew, I don’t know. I think Jameis Winston. I look at how both of them played as a freshman, and I like how Jameis Winston leads his team. He is also more pro-ready than Manziel.

Texas defensive end commit and No. 78-overall Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas/William J. Brennan High): I guess I would say Johnny Manziel. I like how he plays with his swagger and confidence the most, so I would probably say him.

Notre Dame commit and No. 76-ranked Tyler Luatua (la Mirada, Calif./La Mirada High): I would take Manziel just because of the way he plays. If he doesn’t have a wide receiver open, he can make plays himself. He can get the ball to his players if and when he wants to, but can also do it on his own when he needs to.

No. 38 overall John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Polytechnic High School): That’s a hard one. As of right now, I would go with Jameis Winston. Overall, he’s a great player. I think Winston has an awesome football IQ. Johnny had his year too, but I think Winston is just a great player. Outstanding.

Dylan Sumner-Gardner: Jameis Winston, man. I feel comfortable with Jameis Winston as my quarterback because he’s smart and accurate. Johnny is accurate too, but Johnny is Johnny. How he runs around, people may get nervous. I would just feel more comfortable with Jameis as my quarterback.

No. 22 overall Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville High): That’s a hard one right there. Let me think ... maybe Johnny Manziel because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a white boy get down like that. It would have to be Johnny Manziel.

Penn State wide receiver commit Chris Godwin (Middletown, De./Middletown High): I think Jameis Winston. I think overall he’s a better passer. I want a quarterback back there that can get me the ball on a consistent basis, but Johnny Manziel is a great player, too. I’m actually a big fan of both of them.

Five-star and Virginia defensive tackle commit Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, VA
Oscar Frommel Smith High)
: Dang, that’s a good question, man. I would go with Jameis Winston. His leadership qualities, coming in as a freshman and doing the things he is doing is definitely uncommon. It just foreshadows what he is going to do in the future, too. He’s already established a great foundation for himself, and I would definitely take him in the future.

Maryland commit Will Ulmer (Washington, D.C./Saint John’s High): I’m going with Johnny Manziel. I think he’s more dynamic, and more of a game-changer. Jameis Winston is a great quarterback too, but you have to think about all the dudes he has around him at FSU -- all the great receivers and good running backs. I would go with Manziel because if you put him on the Florida State team, or a stacked team like that, it would be a scary sight.

ACC recruiting mailbag 

October, 11, 2013
10/11/13
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ACC recruiting reporters Corey Dowlar and Jared Shanker answer your questions in their weekly mailbag. You can send questions to them on Twitter with the #AskACC hashtag and mention @cdowlar and @JShankerESPN. Or reach them via email at cdowlar@gmail.com and JShankerESPN@gmail.com.

This week's mailbag covers questions on whether Clemson can sustain its on-field success, how Jameis Winston can help FSU down the line, and will Virginia Tech add another four-star defensive tackle among a few other questions.

@retaildropout asks: Is Clemson recruiting well enough to keep them at this elite level? Can they reload, or is this "their year?"
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Malachi Dupre is the nation’s most coveted receiver, and Florida State is going out of its way to make sure he knows he’s wanted; Washington will use Seattle as a big lure with recruits visiting this weekend for the Oregon game; South Carolina is expected to add one of the nation’s top guards on Friday.


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Early Offer: More success for O'Brien 

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
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The Early Offer is a RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: The news that Penn State is having scholarships restored by the NCAA will give Nittany Lion coach Bill O’Brien even more opportunities to showcase recruiting skills; Highland CC DE Joe Keels is quickly climbing the charts, just like his team; and FSU addressed a need at TE thanks in part to star quarterback Jameis Winston.

Big opportunity for O’Brien
Penn State coach Bill O’Brien had already proven he was one of the nation’s best recruiters when the Nittany Lions’ 2013 class finished at No. 24 in the class rankings and followed it up this year with a class that ranks at No. 25. The ability to attract talent like he has with all of the restrictions placed on his staff was impressive. But when the news broke Tuesday that the NCAA will reduce its sanctions against Penn State by gradually restoring scholarships starting next season, Happy Valley certainly became a lot happier. The news gives O’Brien an immediate opportunity to build an even better 2014 class, and I fully expect him to make the most out of it. One Big Ten assistant told me that this “makes Penn State relevant again with some of the Midwest’s top uncommitted players.”

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#AskLoogs: Winston's recruiting impact

September, 12, 2013
9/12/13
12:30
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



In my opinion, it’s not so much what Jameis Winston can do personally to help pull recruits into the FSU program, it’s what he could mean to the program over the next three years to enhance the program with increased wins, increased positive exposure and elevating the “cool” factor of the program much like RGIII did for Baylor. Let’s also keep this all in fair perspective. He is very talented, always has been, but he will have some bumps in the road, there will be hiccups, but he obviously has captured the college football world’s attention. Florida State has clout, but what brings recruits in more than anything else? Winning the conference, playing in BCS bowls and competing for national titles. That is why Winston is important. If he can be their new Charlie Ward, look out. The better Winston does, the more they are on Gameday, SportsCenter, CFB Live, CFB Daily…you get the picture. Those are all recruiting positives that will be directly tied to him.

ACC recruiting mailbag

August, 23, 2013
8/23/13
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Another week and we’re answering questions about the recruiting happenings in the ACC.

@sleep_trick asks: What are the odds Elijah Hood commits to UNC after decommitting from Notre Dame?

Corey Dowlar: Well, they are pretty good, actually. And I wouldn't be surprised if it is done sooner rather than later. According to reports, Hood has been in steady contact with the North Carolina coaches before, and after, his decommitment from the Irish.

Being from North Carolina, his family would be able to see him play. Working in Coach Fedora's offense has its own appeal as well. It would be pretty surprising if Hood doesn't end up in Chapel Hill.

@jameshall616 asks: Do you think FSU has a legitimate chance to be in the national championship this year?

Dowlar: James, no, honestly I do not. I am of the opinion that there is too much to do with all the turnover, in coaches and personnel, for FSU to handle all these transitions.

QB Jameis Winston, as talented and hyped as he is, has proved nothing yet other than that he is articulate, funny and a good quote. You've seen him in the spring game, probably, so you know he has the ability, but he still has a lot to prove. How quickly he progresses and how quickly he establishes himself will have a huge impact on the season.

I think this Florida State team ends up dropping two games along the way in the regular season with a solid bowl win to end it. Are they in contention for the ACC? Yeah, absolutely.
Jimbo Fisher's recruitment of quarterbacks has nearly reached a point where they come to him and not the other way around.

If you look at, it makes sense. Just during his time at Florida State, he has produced back-to-back first-round selections in the NFL draft in Christian Ponder (Vikings, 2011) and EJ Manuel (Bills, 2013).

But it didn't start there. And it probably won't end there, either.


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Jameis Winston signs LOI with FSU 

February, 3, 2012
2/03/12
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The nation's No. 1 quarterback, Jameis Winston of Hueytown, Ala., has signed his letter of intent with Florida State and faxed it in.

Winston, 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, verbally committed to FSU and Jimbo Fisher in early August but didn't sign on Wednesday (national signing day), the first day recruits could sign with Division I schools, because he was in Austin, Texas, at a high school all-star game. He returned home Thursday and put ink to paper on Friday.

Winston never wavered on his pledge to the Seminoles but still made official visits to Alabama, LSU and Stanford. There was much speculation that Alabama could turn him to Tuscaloosa but that all ended after Winston made his official visit to Florida State in the middle of January.

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ESPNU Signing Day Times

January, 31, 2012
1/31/12
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ESPNU's national signing day coverage kicks off at 9 a.m. ET. Here's the list of the announcements and time for some of the top prospects.

NOTE: Bold names are announcements, all others are interviews.

ESPNU Signing Day Times

January, 30, 2012
1/30/12
12:11
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ESPNU's national signing day coverage kicks off at 9 a.m. ET. Here's the list of the announcements and time for some of the top prospects.

NOTE: Bold names are announcements, all others are interviews.

Thursday's episode of RecruitingNation

January, 19, 2012
1/19/12
2:51
PM ET
Tune in to ESPNU at 5:30 p.m. ET today for RecruitingNation. Tom Luginbill, Craig Haubert and national and local writers from RecruitingNation break down the latest recruiting news from across the country.

Thursday's show will look at the impact on Gunner Kiel’s decision to attend Notre Dame, what the pledge does for the Irish and where does LSU go now at quarterback? There will also be analysis on Mario Edwards’ decision to eliminate Texas from consideration on Thursday, what Jameis Winston is going to do and how Oklahoma is going do to recover from losing one of its best recruiters.

Luginbill and Haubert will also review the new ESPNU 150 rankings that were released on Thursday and highlight some of the big risers and fallers.

The broadcast can also be seen on WatchESPN.

The latest on Jameis Winston 

January, 19, 2012
1/19/12
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With signing day rapidly approaching there are certainly plenty of storylines out there. One of the big questions is regarding Jameis Winston (Hueytown, Ala./Hueytown), the nation’s top ranked quarterback.

Will he stick with his commitment and sign with Florida State or will he stay home and play for Alabama?

“I don’t ask Jameis much about what’s going on but I did the other day,” said Matt Scott, Hueytown’s coach. “I don’t think he’s feeling it 100 percent with either team. He’s says he’s committed to Florida State, but I also know he’s strongly considering Alabama.”

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Meyer feeling 'Ok' about 2012 class 

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Two ESPNU 150 defensive linemen and the No. 4 player in the country in a one-week span apparently is not enough for Urban Meyer. The new Ohio State coach, regarded as one of the two or three best recruiters in the country, wants more.

“I feel Ok,” Meyer said Thursday about his feelings on the Buckeyes’ 2012 class with 20 days until signing day Feb. 1. “I’ve recruited long enough to know it’s not official until it’s official. If we walk away right now I’d feel good but not great. The next four or five are going to be key.

“We had that nice run in December, but these couple weeks are big.”

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