Prime Time redux? Winston dual threat

Heisman-winning quarterback still has baseball in sights

Jameis Winston started 32 baseball games for Florida State in 2013. (Steve Cannon/AP)

By Jake Seiner / | December 26, 2013 10:50 AM ET

What Bo knew, Jameis Winston is determined to find out.

Florida State's quarterback already has scratched a big mark off the Bo Jackson bucket list, earning a Heisman Trophy for his football talents in 2013. Winston, who hails from the same hometown as Jackson -- Bessemer, Ala. -- isn't done inking out check marks, though.

On Thursday, the New York Post ran a feature on Winston outlining his plans to become the next Jackson or Deion Sanders -- a multi-sport star in an age of increased specialization.

The sophomore also is a right-handed pitcher and outfielder on the Seminoles baseball team. As a freshman, Winston played in 41 games, hitting .235 with a .722 OPS. He also made 17 relief appearances and went 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA.

Winston was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 15th round of the 2012 Draft and would've gone much higher if not for signability concerns created by his football commitment to FSU.

According to the newspaper, the Rangers pushed hard to sign Winston, even drawing up a game plan that would've allowed the youngster to play both college football and pro baseball, similar to a plan adopted by, among others, Reds pitching prospect Amir Garrett, who also plays basketball at Cal State-Northridge.

Texas' plans would've included sending Minor League instructors to Tallahassee after signing Winston to work with him as he prepared for his freshman baseball season. The team would've flown him to its Minor League complex in Sunrise, Ariz., during spring break to get some reps, then invited him back in the summer to participate in the rookie-level Arizona League.

Winston was viewed as one of the better prospects in the 2012 Draft, and's Jonathan Mayo ranked him 62nd on his pre-Draft Top 100 list.

"Winston does bring a football mentality to the baseball field and he has some pretty good skills to go along with that aggressive demeanor," Mayo wrote. "A switch-hitter, he's a spray hitter who shows more power potential from the right side.

"Winston is an average runner who is better under way, though he has enough wheels to have above-average range as a defender. He has more than enough arm (he also pitches) in the outfield and can play any position out there."

The Rangers also, obviously, thought highly of Winston's talents. Assistant general manager A.J. Preller told the Post the team viewed Winston as having above-average tools, including power, arm strength and speed, as well as positive makeup. Rangers national cross-checker Clarence Johns said Winston had the "It" factor when it came to confidence and mentality.

"I've been in pro baseball for about 20 years, I've played along some guys and scouted some guys who played both sports," Johns said. "To a man, I don't know one who has been more determined than Jameis."

Baseball is still on Winston's mind, even though he didn't sign with Texas. During the down period between the end of the football regular season and Florida State's Jan. 6 showdown with Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game, Winston has been plotting his routines for the upcoming baseball season, the Post said.

"He felt he hit the field a little late last year," said Johns, who has been close with Winston since interacting with him prior to the Draft. "He talked about when the bowl game is over, how he can hit the ground running."

In his Heisman acceptance speech, Winston gave a nod to FSU's baseball staff, including coach Mike Martin Sr. and assistant coach Mike Martin Jr.

After he won the Heisman, Winston was asked about his plans for the upcoming baseball season.

"To keep playing, baby. That's what I do," he said, according to the Post. "That's part of my character because I don't feel like I can play football without baseball. I don't feel like I can play baseball without football."

Jake Seiner is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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