Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has decided to forgo his final two seasons of eligibility and enter the 2015 NFL draft.
The Legacy Agency, which will represent Winston, released a statement Wednesday on Winston's behalf regarding his decision to turn pro. Here is part of the statement:
"After weighing this decision with my family and friends, I have decided to declare for the 2015 NFL draft and forgo my remaining eligibility at Florida State," the statement reads. "I reached this very difficult decision after careful consideration and long thought, realizing how difficult it would be to say goodbye to my family at Florida State. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to wear the garnet and gold and have greatly enjoyed my time as a Seminole, both as an athlete and a student in the classroom."
Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, is expected to be one of the top picks in the draft, which will be held April 30 to May 2 in Chicago. Winston lost only one game as a starting quarterback, a 59-20 defeat to Oregon in the College Football Playoff semifinals on Jan. 1.
On Wednesday, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher released a statement on Winston's decision.
“I would like to wish Jameis nothing but success at the next level as I think he’ll be extremely successful," the statement reads. "It was a blessing to be able to coach him. He’s one of the unique players that I’ve ever had the privilege to coach. He embodies what you as a coach want as a person, a student and a player. He’s a genuine and honest guy. He’s one of the greatest players in Florida State history. I want to thank him for the way he represented himself and the organization in so many tough situations and the professionalism in which he handled the ability to be such a great teammate to his teammates and always put them and the program above himself. That’s a very unique ability to be able to do especially at his age. I’d like to thank his family. They’re great people and it was a blessing that they came into our lives. I have nothing but respect for everything Jameis stands for, what he is and what he will do in the future. He’s truly one of the most special guys that I’ve had the privilege to be able to coach and I can’t thank him enough for the contributions to our family at Florida State."
In his latest mock draft, SI.com's Chris Burke projected Winston would be selected with the No. 10 pick in the first round.
Though he excelled on the field, Winston's time at Florida State was plagued by off-the-field controversy.
Winston was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student in December 2012. Investigators looked into the case nearly a year later and decided not to charge Winston due to lack of evidence. He was then investigated for violating four sections of the school’s code of conduct and could have been expelled if he was found guilty. He was cleared in all cases.
Winston was suspended for one game this season for using vulgar language in the student union and was cited for shoplifting $32.72 worth of crab legs and crawfish from a Publix in Tallahassee in February.
In Winston's two seasons with Florida State, he threw for 7,964 yards with 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions.
- Scooby Axson