LAKE, BUENA VISTA FLORIDA – Jameis Winston walked away with another major award Thursday night, the latest national prize to put on his mantle.
He might want to save a spot for the Heisman Trophy.
The Florida State star headlined a big night for the Atlantic Coast Conference, winning the Davey O’Brien Award as the country’s top quarterback at the annual College Football Awards Show at Disney.
Winston also won the Walter Camp player of the year award in a separate announcement.
The redshirt freshman, who led the top-ranked Seminoles to a 13-0 record and a berth in the BCS national championship game against Auburn next month, said he continues to be humbled by every accolade he’s received in recent weeks.
“It feels good. It’s an honor just to be here,” Winston said. “I’m just glad to bring them back to Florida State.”
Winston hopes to become the fourth O’Brien Award winner in a row to take home the Heisman in the same year. He would join current NFL quarterbacks Cam Newton (2010) and Robert Griffin III (2011), as well as Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel in 2012.
Now that a sexual assault complaint against him in Tallahassee, Fla., has been closed without charges being filed, Winston is the overwhelming favorite to win college football’s highest honor Saturday night in New York.
Several players shared the hardware Thursday, though.
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron won the Maxwell Award for player of the year, and Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald took home two big prizes: the Chuck Bednarik Award for defensive player of the year and the Outland Trophy as most outstanding interior lineman.
The ACC led all conferences with four winners out of the nine awards that were presented — two for Donald, one for Winston, and the Doak Walker Award that went to Andre Williams of Boston College as the nation’s best running back.
Williams joins Winston, McCarron and Manziel among the six Heisman finalists.
Williams became the first Doak Walker winner from his school and from the ACC. He is also the sixth 2,000-yard rusher to claim the honor.
The Eagles’ senior actually missed graduation night Thursday to be at the announcement. When he mentioned that on stage, he received an ovation from the audience.
“It’s great. It feels like I was being honored as an athlete and a student at the same time,” he said. “That’s supposed to be the mission, so it felt great.”
Though he said this week that he believed he had a season deserving of his Heisman nomination, McCarron, a fifth-year senior with three national championship rings at Alabama, looked visibly taken aback when his name was called for the Maxwell Award.
“Super surprised,” McCarron said. “I don’t think I’m the best player out of those other two guys that were mentioned. But I can’t thank them enough. It’s an honor to be here.”