Jameis Winston named preseason All-American in baseball


Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has said he wants to be like Bo Jackson and play two pro sports, and if Baseball America is correct, Winston is in line for a big sophomore season on the diamond.

Baseball America, which asks for input from pro scouts when it picks its All-America teams, named Winston a third-team preseason All-American on Monday.

Winston should be the Seminoles' fulltime closer this year and also is expected to contribute in the outfield and at designated hitter. Winston started 20 games in right field and 10 at designated hitter for FSU last season as a true freshman (he redshirted for football as a true freshman). He 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.

His status as a baseball player will interfere with his status as FSU's starting quarterback during spring football practice. But FSU worked around it last spring and will do so again. Indeed, Winston's performance last spring was impressive enough to make him the favorite to win the job heading into fall practice.

Long-time FSU baseball coach Mike Martin told the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer last fall 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.

And Miami baseball coach Jim Morris told reporters in November that he thought Winston could be a first-rounder in football and baseball. That seems a bit outlandish. But there's no question Winston's baseball talent will give him contract leverage, as it did for Jackson and John Elway in the 1980s. Both were overall No. 1 picks in the NFL draft, but neither ever played a down for the team that drafted them.

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.

Winston is the third Heisman winner from Florida State, and all three have played two sports. Charlie Ward, who won the award in 1993, also played basketball at FSU and later enjoyed a solid career in the NBA. Chris Weinke, who won the award in 2000, played minor-league baseball for six years before enrolling at FSU at the age of 25.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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