Florida State QB Winston entering NFL draft

Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston will forgo his remaining two years of eligibility and enter the NFL draft. Winston confirmed the decision in a statement issued Wednesday by The Legacy Agency, which will represent him. Winston's...

Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) during the post-game press conference after the 2015 Rose Bowl college football game at Rose Bowl. Oregon Ducks defeated Florida State Seminoles 59-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston will forgo his remaining two years of eligibility and enter the NFL draft.

Winston confirmed the decision in a statement issued Wednesday by The Legacy Agency, which will represent him.

Winston's father, Antonor Winston, had told ESPN earlier Wednesday that his son had decided to enter the draft after initially planning to announce the decision after Monday night's College Football Playoff National Championship game.

"After weighing this decision with my family and friends, I have decided to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft and forgo my remaining eligibility at Florida State," Winston said in the statement. "I reached this very difficult decision after careful consideration and long thought, realizing how difficult it would be to say goodbye to my family at Florida State. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to wear the garnet and gold and have greatly enjoyed my time as a Seminole, both as an athlete and a student in the classroom.

"I will always take pride in leading our team back to national prominence and am confident that my returning teammates will continue the success for many years to come."

ADVERTISEMENT ranks Winston as the No. 2 quarterback in the class of 2015 behind Oregon's Marcus Mariota and the No. 3 overall prospect behind Southern California defensive tackle Leonard Williams.

After Winston sat out as a true freshman in 2012, he took the starting job in 2013 and led Florida State to the BCS national championship as a redshirt freshman and won the Heisman Trophy.

In 2014, the Seminoles again posted an undefeated record during the regular season before losing 59-20 to Oregon in the Rose Bowl last week, denying them a chance to play in the first CFP national championship game on Monday night.

Winston was 26-1 as a starter. He ranks fourth in touchdown passes (65), fourth in passing yards (7,964) and second in passes of 20 yards or more (124) since the start of the 2013 season.

This past season, Winston's statistics fell off as he threw for 3,907 yards, 25 touchdowns and had 18 interceptions. He also rushed for 65 yards and three TDs.

Winston had a number of off-the-field scandals since arriving at Florida State, including a rape allegation for which he was not charged. Other incidents included a theft of crab legs from a local grocery store, a one-game suspension for yelling a vulgar phrase in an on-campus dining area and allegations that he received money for his signature although nothing ever was proven.

"To the fans, I can't thank you enough for the support you showed me and the team over the last three seasons; it was a humbling experience to bring the Championship back to Tallahassee for you all to enjoy," Winston's statement continued.

"To my teammates, it's been an incredible opportunity to play with the most impressive collection of talent and people the game has seen; you all have been there for me through the highs and lows and the relationships we have formed extend well beyond the field. For this, I thank you.


"To the coaching staff and especially Coach (Jimbo) Fisher, I am forever grateful for the ways you developed me as a player and a person as I have grown over the years. I knew I made the right decision to come to Florida State four years ago and couldn't be happier with this choice as I write this today.

"As I embark in the next challenge of playing in the NFL, I look forward to contributing to a long line of successful alumni at the next level. I want you all to know that I will make Seminole Nation proud and continue to bring the passion and love for the game you all have seen in Doak Campbell since my first day as a 'Nole. Thank you for making my time in Tallahassee the of the best years of my life."

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