Bo knew baseball and football. "Famous Jameis" wants to continue to know both sports, too.
Asked Friday about his goals as a two-sport star, Winston answered: "I want to be better than Bo Jackson, hopefully."
Jameis Winston through the yearsCheck out Florida State's new quarterback, "Famous" Jameis Winston, as he emerges as one of college football's new stars.
Winston, who plays football and baseball at Florida State, is in New York this weekend to attend the Heisman Trophy ceremony. He is considered a heavy favorite to win the award.
Jackson was the first pick in the 1986 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay, but did not want to play for the Bucs and instead signed a baseball contract with the Kansas City Royals. After one season as strictly a baseball player, Jackson signed with the Oakland Raiders in 1987 and played both sports for four seasons. His football career ended after the 1990 season, but he played baseball for four more years.
Winston was a pitcher/outfielder for FSU's baseball team this past spring. He started 20 games in right field and 10 at designated hitter. Winston hit .235 with nine RBIs. He also made 17 relief appearances, going 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA. He struck out 21 in 27 innings.
While Winston has not yet definitively said whether he will play college baseball in 2014, it's a strong possibility; if he does, it would interfere with FSU's spring football practice.
A few days before Florida State played Miami in football Nov. 2, Miami baseball coach Jim Morris was in a scheduled meeting with the media about the Hurricanes' fall baseball practices and Winston's name came up.
"I think he's a first-rounder in both sports," Morris told reporters. "It's really, really hard in baseball to be able to pitch and to hit, and he might be their best pitcher and their best hitter. And by the way, he's playing football, too, which is amazing."
Earlier in the season, FSU baseball coach Mike Martin told the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer that Winston spends about seven weeks a year on baseball.
"I don't think anyone knows how good he can be as an everyday player," Martin said.
Coming out of Hueytown (Ala.) High, Winston was ranked among the top 50 prep players nationally by two respected baseball services: PerfectGame.org and Baseball America. And though he had made it clear he wanted to play both sports in college, he still was a 15th-round pick by the Texas Rangers in the 2012 baseball draft.
Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson is another quarterback who also played baseball. But Wilson's baseball ceiling was nowhere near Winston's. Wilson played in the infield for three seasons at North Carolina State and also played two seasons (2010 and '11) of minor-league ball in the Colorado Rockies' system. His desire to play two sports, in fact, caused a bit of a rift between him and then-North Carolina State football coach Tom O'Brien.
While Wilson hasn't played baseball since 2011, he still was taken in the Rule 5 draft Thursday by the Texas Rangers. Players taken in the draft must remain on the 25-man major-league roster all of next season or be offered back to their original teams for $25,000. Wilson obviously will not be on the Rangers' MLB roster and it's extremely doubtful the Rockies will want him back; that means he remains Rangers property.
Morris' idea that Winston could be a first-round pick in both sports probably won't come true. But there's no question his baseball talent will give him contract leverage.
Hey, just ask Bo.
And by the way: Jackson grew up in Bessemer, Ala., which is about 5 miles from Hueytown.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.