Jameis Winston, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, set NCAA freshman records with 40 TD passes and 4,057 passing yards last season, when he led Florida State to the national title. He had 13 games with at least two TD passes and eight with at least three. He also had seven 300-yard games. Winston has some mechanical issues to fix, and must clean up his off-field act. But he has a strong arm, is mobile and plays with a discernible swagger. He also seems to ramp up his production in big games.
Pulling back the curtain on the vote
Winston garnered four first-place and two second-place votes from our panel of seven. His lowest ranking was sixth. No player among our 20 best in college football had across-the-board rankings with as much consensus.
What some of our analysts are saying about Winston
"He has excellent arm strength and sneaky athleticism." - Daniel Jeremiah
"He has only scratched the surface of his immense potential. Winston could be the first back-to-back Heisman winner since Archie Griffin." - Bucky Brooks
"National title, Heisman winner, unquestioned team leader ... as a freshman." - Charles Davis
"Rare athletic ability, very good decision-maker." - Gil Brandt
"On the field, Winston has few peers. He can run when he needs to, but his accuracy in the passing game and knack for making plays are the reasons why he's at the top of the list." - Bryan Fischer
"The defending Heisman winner and national champion has plenty of weapons for another huge season." - Chase Goodbread
"Yes, FSU was loaded with talent, but if Winston isn't there last year, and instead FSU was quarterbacked by recent first-round alums Christian Ponder or EJ Manuel, the Seminoles don't win the national title." - Mike Huguenin
Where do fans rank Winston?
We asked Twitter and Facebook users who they considered the best player in college football. Winston finished tied for first (with Georgia RB Todd Gurley), garnering 20 percent of the fan vote. Perhaps the only surprising thing about this is that he wasn't a runaway winner. Off-the-field issues likely tainted the vote.