(Reuters) - Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston won the Heisman Trophy as the top player in college football on Saturday, at 19 and 342 days becoming the youngest ever recipient of the award.
The award came despite the cloud of a sexual assault case hanging over his season. State Attorney Willie Meggs announced on December 5 he would not file charges against Winston due to insufficient evidence.
Winston beat out five other finalists for the prestigious award, including last year’s recipient Johnny Manziel.
“This Heisman isn’t just for Jameis Winston, this is for Florida State,” Winston said in his acceptance speech.
“I’m so blessed right now, it means so much to me.
“I got one thing to say. At Florida State if we are going to do it, we do it big.”
The talented quarterback is only the second freshman to win the award after Texas A&M signalcaller Manziel’s win last season.
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (2nd), Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch (3rd), Boston College running back Andre Williams (4th), Manziel (5th) and Auburn running back Tre Mason (6th) were the other finalists.
Winston led his team to the number one ranking heading to the BCS national championship game against Auburn and ended up with 2,205 points in the voting process, a clear winner over McCarron with 704 points.
Manziel was hoping to become the second player to repeat after Archie Griffin but could only manage enough points to finish fifth.
Winston threw a school record 38 touchdown passes over the season, added four more on the ground and finished with a 68 percent completion rating.
He led the nation in adjusted Quarterback Rating (90.9), yards per attempt (10.9) and rating (190.06). Winston threw for over 300 yards seven times in just 13 games.
Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford