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Jameis Winston snubbed as ACC Player of the Year


Last season, Jameis Winston won just about every award imaginable on his way to a national championship and sky-high expectations for his redshirt sophomore season in 2014.

Things haven't quite worked out as he and the Seminoles had hoped this year, and that has become quite evident as the signal-caller missed out on just about every major honor a college football player could earn. Winston's numbers are down in most major categories and even the media covering his league -- who the signal-caller is undefeated against -- snubbed him as ACC Player of the Year on Wednesday in favor of Pitt running back James Conner.

"I'm greatly honored and humbled to receive this honor," Conner said in a release. "I want to thank my coaches, teammates and especially my offensive linemen who did such a great job blocking this year. I also want to thank the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association for selecting me for this award. Finally, I want to thank all of our great Pitt fans for their support. They share in this honor, too."

Conner, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound downhill runner, racked up 1,675 yards to rank fourth in the country in rushing while scoring 24 touchdowns to lead the ACC in both those categories. He managed to break ACC single-season records for rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns in a season, despite being limited down the stretch with a hip injury.

Perhaps most impressively, Conner broke three Pitt season records held by Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett.

The sophomore back edged Winston by three votes for league Player of the Year and had a 23 to 16 advantage in the top offensive player balloting.

Winston, of course, won both awards in 2013 on his way to capturing the Heisman Trophy. The quarterback has kept his team undefeated and in the College Football Playoff discussion, but things haven't gone quite as well as he would have hoped after posting a remarkable 40-to-10 touchdown-interception ratio last year while throwing for 4,057 yards. With just the ACC Championship game left before the bowl season, the quarterback has thrown a whopping 17 interceptions against 21 touchdowns in 2014.

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks recently noted the drop-off in Winston's play but still called the oft-debated Seminole one of the top NFL prospects at his position, even if he might not look quite as polished as he did a season ago.

"Although he remains the top quarterback prospect in college football with valuable experience running a pro-style system, he is not a plug-and-play prospect who can step in and lead a team from Day 1," Brooks wrote. "In time, I believe Winston will be a franchise player, but his 2014 struggles suggest a patient approach might be best for the team that selects him if he comes out following his sophomore season."

Perhaps Winston can use the latest snub on the awards circuit to up his play over the next month to prove the doubters wrong.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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