February 15, 2011

Winston discusses dual-sport role with Tide

Hueytown (AL) quarterback Jameis Winston has established himself as one of the most talked-about athletes in the state of Alabama for the Class of 2012 both as a football player and as a baseball player. Winston holds well over a dozen offers from college football programs around the country for his abilities as a speedy and strong-armed quarterback but he's also considered to be a strong professional baseball prospect as well where he stars as a pitcher, shortstop and center fielder for Hueytown. Winston recently took another trip to the University of Alabama but this time it was to speak with the Crimson Tide baseball staff rather than head football coach Nick Saban.

"I came down to watch the intrasquad game and to talk to the coaches a little bit," Winston said. "I talked to Coach (Mitch) Gaspard, the head baseball coach, and some of the other baseball coaches as well and I also sat down with some of the football coaches as well. We talked about what the schedule would be like if I was to play baseball and football at Alabama and how they would be able to create a plan for me to manage playing both sports. I will probably discuss it a little more this weekend when I come down for the Junior Day."

"At this point, playing both sports is something I'm looking for in the recruiting process. I really feel that I want to give myself a chance to succeed at both sports and any program that is recruiting me to play football is going to have to also talk to me about playing baseball as well. That rules out some of the schools that have offered me but it's just something I feel strongly about and something I am committed to at this point."

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound star said that he plans to take several more visits this spring when his baseball schedule allows it in hopes of learning enough to make an informed decision sometime this summer.

"I still have plenty of time to think about it but I definitely want to have my decision made before football season starts back up. I'm a quarterback and I feel like it's important to me that I not only have a chance to be there for my team this fall but also that I can start to help whichever school I choose to recruit other players."

As for the recent national media attention the state of Alabama gained on National Signing Day, Winston said he enjoyed watching his home state garner so much attention and that he expects the fierce recruiting battles between Alabama and Auburn to continue, though he doesn't expect to be the focus of one of those battles.

"This state just had two teams win the national championship in back to back years so it doesn't surprise me at all that recruiting was intense between Alabama and Auburn last year. I'm sure it will continue to be that way for both programs as long as they continue to win and I think it's great for this state. It brings a lot of attention to all the great high school talent in this state as well."

"I really haven't been in touch with Auburn for a while now. I would say they are not a part of my recruitment at this point."

As a junior, Winston led his team to an 11-2 record and a deep run in the 5A state playoffs.

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