April 1, 2010

2012 QB talks UA

As one of the top prospects for the Class of 2012, Hueytown quarterback Jameis Winston is used to getting plenty of attention from his high school classmates but wasn't prepared to start getting the kind attention he's receiving now from some of the top college programs in the country.

"I'm really kind of amazed at how things have gone so far," said Winston. "I've already got six offers and they are all from great programs. Alabama, Auburn, Miami, Ole MIss, Mississippi State and Ohio State are the offers I've gotten so far and I'd really still be happy if those were the only offers I get. Those are some of the best programs in the country. It has motivated me to want to work even harder so I can take advantage of this opportunity I have in front of me."

"All six schools have told me they want me as a pure quarterback and that's really all I'm interested in playing at the college level. My arm strength is pretty good but I think what most of the coaches like about me most is my understanding of offense."

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound signal caller showed himself to be a quick study when he was forced to learn a completely new offense in just under a month prior to last season. Winston went on to have one of the best seasons of any quarterback in the state as a sophomore.

"We got a new head coach at the end of last July and in one month we had to learn an entire new offense. We went from a Wing-T to a Pistol formation offense and the offense really started to depend a lot more on my passing abilities. I still need to work on my decision-making when it comes to making the right throws but I can make the throws when need to. I like to run but it's not going to be the strength of my game. If I have to run, it's good to know I can pull it down and take off but that's not what I'm about."

Winston caught the attention of both Alabama and Auburn after stellar performances at their summer camps last year.

"I've been around Alabama football my whole life because we live just 45 minutes away from Tuscaloosa. I love the tradition of the program and the coaches are amazing. Nick Saban is one of the best coaching minds in the game. Tuscaloosa has always felt like home to me."

"I'm not really as familiar with Auburn but I like their offense. It's a fun offense for a quarterback to play in."

While playing far from home wouldn't be a deterrent for Winston, it's clear that certain members of his family would like to see him play nearby.

"Playing close to home is one of those things that I think I would enjoy but it's not what I can base my decision on. My grandmother is always taking about how she wants me to stay near home to play but I know she'll be cool with wherever I decide to go. She's a big Nick Saban fan. She's been following him ever since he was at Kent State."

One of the most important factors Winston said he'll be looking at when deciding on a school is their academic offerings, particularly their pre-med programs as Winston is planning to enter medical school following his college career if the NFL doesn't come calling.

"One really important thing I want to look at when I'm learning about these schools is what they have to offer academically. I know Alabama and Miami have strong academic programs but I want to make sure I learn about all the other schools too when it comes to the academic side. My plan is to become a podiatrist if I don't end up playing pro football so I want to make sure I'm in a good position to get into medical school when I graduate. I sat down with the head trainer at Alabama last time I visited and we talked about what Alabama has to offer in terms of pre-med programs and getting you prepared for a medical career."

While it's still early in the process for Winston, he hopes to have a better idea of how his recruiting schedule will go by the end of his junior season.

"I really don't have any idea about when I want to think about making a decision. I want to keep trying to learn as much as possible over the next year about all these schools and try and keep things as calm as possible when it comes to recruiting. I don't want to let it get crazy. I guess when I've visited a few more schools, things will probably start to get clearer for me."

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