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Florida State University is no stranger to success, with three illustrious alumni having earned the coveted Heisman Trophy. Jameis Winston in 2013, Chris Weinke in 2000, and Charlie Ward in 1993 were all celebrated as Florida State's distinguished Heisman Trophy winners. With such a winning legacy of star players, Florida State has one of the strongest college football programs in the nation - no wonder their players continue to achieve such impressive feats!
Jameis Winston - 2013 Heisman Trophy Winner
Jameis Winston burst onto the scene at Florida State University as a redshirt freshman. After the Seminoles had lost quarterback E.J. Manuel to the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Winston quickly displayed top talent with four touchdown passes in FSU's season-opening win over Pittsburgh. By the end of his rookie campaign, he had amassed 4,057 passing yards and 40 touchdowns versus only 10 interceptions and rushed for an additional 219 yards and four more scores. Let’s take a look back at his record-breaking 2013 season!
Winston made history in 2013 when he won the coveted Heisman Trophy, becoming the youngest player ever to win it at just 19 years of age. Not only that, but Winston also took home an impressive haul of awards throughout the season, from the ACC Player and Offensive Player of the Year to various accolades such as the AP Player of the Year Award and Davey O'Brien Award. He beat out strong contenders such as AJ McCarron, Jordan Lynch and Andre Williams for this honor, truly solidifying Jameis Winston's spectacular 2013 season as one for the ages.
Winston followed up his Heisman season in 2014 with another 3,907 yards passing. Although FSU made won the ACC championship with a 13-0 record, Winston's penchant for interceptions (18) derailed his Heisman repeat hopes. Following his redshirt sophomore season in Tallahassee, Winston declared for the 2014 NFL Draft, where Tampa Bay selected him with the first overall pick.
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Chris Weinke - 2000 Heisman Trophy Winner
The Story of Chris Weinke, the Oldest Heisman Trophy Winner
Blog Introduction: Chris Weinke is a name that every college football fan should know. In 2000, this 28-year-old quarterback set the passing standard for college football and won the Heisman trophy. But his journey to success was anything but typical. Before joining Florida State University, Weinke spent six seasons in the minor league system of the Toronto Blue Jays, eventually making it up to AAA. Read on to learn more about the FSU award-winner's remarkable story and how it inspired him to become the oldest Heisman Trophy winner in history.
The Minor League Years
Chris Weinke's baseball career began when he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1990 out of high school. He spent six years working his way through their minor league system until he made it up to Triple-A with the Syracuse Chiefs in 1996. Despite having some success at this level, he decided to walk away from baseball and pursue a career in football instead.
Returning to College Football
In 1997, at age 25, Weinke decided to return to school at Florida State University and play college football again after taking a seven-year break from sports. He immediately made an impact on FSU’s offense and led them to an 11-1 regular season record his senior year while winning several awards including ACC Player of The Year and ACC Offensive Player of The Year. His most impressive feat came when he narrowly passed Oklahoma QB Josh Heupel for college football’s top award—the Heisman Trophy—which made him not only one of FSU’s greatest quarterbacks but also its oldest-ever recipient of this prestigious award at 28 years old.
2000 Heisman Trophy Voting Results
NFL Draft and Beyond Following his Heisman Trophy-winning season, Weinke was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers where he went on to have a successful four-year career as a backup quarterback before retiring after the 2004 season. Although he never achieved quite as much success in professional football as he did during his collegiate days, there is no denying that Chris Weinke left a lasting legacy on both college and pro football alike through his inspiring story and remarkable accomplishments despite being older than most other players at both levels.
Charlie Ward - 1993 Heisman Trophy Winner
Charlie Ward, a small-town boy from Thomasville, Georgia, used his faith and determination to achieve the seemingly unimaginable— winning the Heisman Trophy. Despite being overlooked by many of the so-called 'powerhouse' schools, Charlie proved them wrong by landing at Florida State University in 1989. He steadily increased his stats during each game and shocked the nation when he earned college football’s highest individual honor. As a testament to Charlie’s roots and unwavering faith, this remarkable Heisman Trophy now resides at the very same location Charlie spent countless teenage years — Thomasville's public library! It is on full display in this living proof that anything can happen if we just stay humble and put our trust in something greater than ourselves.
Charlie Ward accepted Coach Bobby Bowden's offer to attend Florida State University and play for two sports. Ward became a multi-dimensional athlete, switching back and forth between basketball and football for the Seminoles. His prowess as an athlete was undeniable; in addition to earning FSU's starting quarterback in the fall of 1992, Charlie Ward had also led his basketball team to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament that same spring. Charlie Ward was certainly one of a kind - an incredible multiple-sport athlete who earned respect everywhere he went.
Charlie Ward truly showcased his skills on the basketball court as a Seminole, but it was on the football field where he made even greater strides. At peak efficiency, Charlie engineered FSU's "Fast Break" offense and helped propel the university to peak performance for one season. Charlie surpassed all expectations, setting the college's individual season mark with 27 touchdown passes, and becoming FSU's all-time offensive leader.
The moment Charlie became a true force in college football was when FSU buried their rival Miami Hurricanes 28-10. A touchdown bomb from Charlie followed by a scoring run prevented any potential scalping of title hopes at the hand of mismanaged field goal attempts. Charlie Ward established himself as a true champion for FSU both on and off the field that season.
Charlie Ward solidified his Heisman stance late in the season with some heroic plays, throwing four touchdown passes against Florida to break their 23-game home winning streak and then leading FSU to an Orange Bowl win over No. 1 powerhouse Nebraska.
This made Charlie Ward the first Heisman Trophy winner to play for a national champion since 1976 when Tony Dorsett suited up for Pittsburgh, cementing his position as one of the top players in college football at the time. Despite Charlie's large Heisman voting victory margin at that time over Tennessee's Heath Shuler, many doubted Charlie's NFL potential leading up to his professional career.
Charlie Ward was a highly recruited high school athlete in the early 90s, but pro scouts were wary of his 6-2, 190-pound frame being able to fare well in the NFL. Ward had made it known that if he did get drafted in the first round, he would then pursue football as a career, but no such luck. But Ward’s fastbreak dreams didn’t stop there, as he was chosen in the first round of the NBA's 1994 draft by none other than the Knicks - and basketball fans across the world continued to thank their lucky stars.