Post-spring breakout players for '13 

May, 2, 2013
5/02/13
12:05
PM ET

Jameis WinstonStacy Revere/Getty ImagesFreshman quarterback Jameis Winston is the likely replacement for E.J. Manuel at Florida State.
College football just entered its quietest month of the year, but that means we are just that much closer to the start of the season. Just four more months. You can make it.

In the meantime, let's project the breakout players for the 2013 season that began to show signs of stepping forward this spring.

1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State Seminoles

I wrote last month about quarterback battles that could produce stars, this year's version of Johnny Manziel and Marcus Mariota. Not long after I focused on Winston, the race was called. Sort of.

Clint Trickett, at one point considered the favorite to win the job, is transferring to West Virginia. Winston was that good in the spring, despite the fact that he moonlights as a Seminoles relief pitcher.

Coach Jimbo Fisher swears the competition is not closed, insisting Jacob Coker is still in the mix. But one Florida newspaper columnist has already compared Winston to Charlie Ward.

Is Winston ready?

"He saw what just happened to E.J.," one person close to the FSU program told me, referring to E.J. Manuel's first-round selection last week. "That got him fired up even more. He had a nice, solid spring. He's an impressive guy."



But Ward? He was a Heisman winner and national champion. Winston is bigger and likely has a bigger arm, but does he have the intangible qualities, and unique running ability, that made Ward a star? With all due apologies to Coker, we're about to find out.