LAKE BUENA VISTA — He’s expected to win the Heisman Trophy this weekend, perhaps in overwhelming fashion.
As a prelude, Florida State University freshman quarterback Jameis Winston earned the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award on Thursday night at the Home Depot College Football Awards. Winston, also Player of the Year on the Walter Camp All-American team, was picked over Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Alabama’s AJ McCarron.
Six of the last seven Davey O’Brien winners have captured the Heisman.
But for Winston, who will lead the No. 1-ranked Seminoles against Auburn in the BCS Championship Game on Jan. 6 — his 20th birthday — the night wasn’t a clean sweep.
The Maxwell Award, designed for college player of the year, went to McCarron (over Winston and Manziel). That wasn’t a huge shock, because the Maxwell has become the anti-Heisman, sometimes even a lifetime achievement award. Only two Heisman winners have also captured the Maxwell since 2000.
Meanwhile, the Lou Groza Award for the top college place-kicker went to FSU freshman Roberto Aguayo. University of South Florida junior Marvin Kloss was a finalist, along with Anthony Fera of Texas.
Also, FSU’s Bryan Stork won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center. FSU’s Lamarcus Joyner was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back), which went to Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard.
“It was a blast being part of this,’’ said Kloss, who led the nation with 11 successful field goals from 40 yards and beyond. “I hope I can come back next year.’’
Aguayo, a close friend, expects that. So does USF coach Willie Taggart, who attended Thursday night’s ceremony.
“Marvin is certainly deserving, and I hope we both can get a shot at this again,’’ said Aguayo, who converted 19 of 20 field goals and 90 of 90 extra points. Aguayo’s 147 points single-handedly outscored FSU’s opponents (139).
FSU, historically well-known for missed field goals in big games, became the first school with three Groza winners (along with Sebastian Janikowski and Graham Gano).
“Kicking University,’’ Aguayo said. “That’s what we are.’’
Heisman University also?
If Winston becomes the second straight freshman to win the Heisman — Manziel claimed the 2012 trophy — FSU would become only the 10th school with at least three Heisman winners (along with Charlie Ward in 1993 and Chris Weinke in 2000).
Winston, Ward and Weinke all have captured the Davey O’Brien Award, allowing FSU to join BYU as the only school with three winners.
Winston’s award-winning run was cast against a backdrop of recent legal issues. Last week, the Tallahassee State Attorney’s office said it wouldn’t charge Winston in a sexual-assault case from 2012. Today in Zephyrhills, the accuser’s attorney has planned a news conference to further address the case.
“I just want people to know how much my family took from this and how my team supported me through this whole thing,’’ Winston said. “I know I did nothing wrong.’’
Manziel, who met Winston for the first time, said he understands what it’s like to be scrutinized. Manziel served a half-game suspension this season for accepting impermissible benefits.
“I told him anything he ever needs, I’m here for him,’’ Manziel said. “I let him know that through all the stuff, hey man, you did a great job keeping your head down and grinding and helping your teammates.’’