The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

December 24, 2013

Jameis Winston named AP player of the year

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —

The Winter of Winston continues for Florida State's redshirt freshman quarterback.

Jameis Winston is The Associated Press national player of the year, adding to his cadre of postseason accolades. He's this year's Heisman Trophy winner, the Walter Camp national player of the year, the Davey O'Brien quarterback of the year and the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year.

Seminole football fans should send a thank you note to Florida State's baseball program.

If not for coach Mike Martin Sr. and one of his assistants, Mike Martin Jr., Winston — a two-sport athlete — might not be preparing to lead the No.1-ranked Seminoles against No. 2 Auburn in the BCS championship game Jan. 6 with the opportunity to bring a third national title back to the Florida State campus.

When Winston won the Heisman he thanked the usual cast of family, coaches and teammates. Then there was the thanks to "Eleven" and "Meat." Most of the country ignored the peculiar names, but Winston wouldn't have attended Florida State without the warm relationship between football coach Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State baseball coaching staff. "Eleven" — otherwise known as baseball coach Martin Sr., who has led the program for 34 years, and "Meat" — Martin Jr.

Martin Jr. was on a recruiting trip to watch Winston during his junior year of high school when he called to let Fisher know. Fisher actually had tape of Winston on his desk at the time and decided to put it in. About 30 minutes later, Fisher called Martin Jr. back and said, "Don't let him get away."

Winston hit a game-winning home run that day.

"Jimbo Fisher deserves the credit for giving the young man the opportunity to display his talents in another sport," Martin Sr. said.

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