Fair or not, Texas has developed a reputation for passing up
many of the nation’s best quarterbacks, including each of the last two Heisman
Trophy winners – Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel.
Florida State freshman Jameis Winston has a long way to go
before being thought of as a legitimate Heisman contender but he made a
spectacular debut in the Seminoles’ win over Pitt on Monday night. Winston
completed 25 of 27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns while running for a
fifth score against the Panthers.
As Winston was torching Pitt’s defense, reports resurfaced of
Winston’s interest in Texas when he was still in high school. Matt Scott,
Winston’s coach at Hueyton (Ala.), told CBSSports.com this week that Winston
was seriously interested in Texas but the Longhorns never offered him a
Texas head coach Mack Brown had a different story.
“We didn’t have contact with him until [former offensive
coordinator] Bryan Harsin got here in January and it was one phone call,” Brown
told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “I was told by very close people that we
had no chance and ‘he may go No. 1 in baseball but if not he’s going to Florida
State because he’s been committed to them since the summer. If not, then
Alabama might slip in late but you’re out.’ I trusted my source.”
Winston was drafted in the 15th round by the
Rangers, who understood he would honor his commitment to Florida State when
they drafted him. The nation’s top quarterback prospect coming out of high
school two years ago, Winston redshirted and watched E.J. Manuel lead Florida
State to an ACC title before taking over at quarterback this year.
The Longhorns offered Griffin a scholarship, but not as a
quarterback, and did not offer Manziel a scholarship at any position. They have
since hired Patrick Suddes away from Alabama to help in their recruiting
“I’m all over social media,” Brown said. “Sunday morning was
the first night we could reach out to [high school] juniors and [Suddes] and I
are all over it until about three in the morning with me tweeting all those
kids. So that stuff we probably wouldn’t have done as readily in the past. He
is really good at what he does and I’m glad he is here.”
Texas fared just fine without Winston this past weekend,
overcoming a slow start to blow out New Mexico State, 56-7, as David Ash racked
up a career-high 434 yards and scored five touchdowns. The Longhorns face BYU
in Provo on Saturday.