Although Jameis Winston has come under a barrage of criticism, with former Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker chiming in earlier this week, the quarterback has a faction of supporters: primarily Florida State fans and alums.
Many were on hand outside Doak Campbell Stadium for ESPN’s College GameDay show Saturday, holding signs critical of the sports networks’ coverage of Winston and, in particular, recent revelations that thousands of items bearing this signature could be found on an authentication website.
“Witch hunt,” read one of the signs.
At least one former Seminoles great, Derrick Brooks, said Saturday that he believes some of the criticism is “unfair.”
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“It’s unfair people feel that way about him in terms of what he should and should not do,” Brooks said. “But at the end of the day, I know at the core he’s a great young man that’s learning life lessons as he’s growing up.
“I’m here to support him.”
Meanwhile, in the wake of questions surrounding memorabilia bearing Winston’s signature, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said his program might have to take a closer look at policies that pertain to player autographs.
“It’s a practice that’s becoming a factor nationwide,” Fisher said of the lucrative sports memorabilia business and demand for athletes’ signatures. “I think it’s something everyone has to look at and how we do things. We’ll have to evaluate our policies in the future.”
FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox said Friday the university’s athletic compliance staff was reviewing the matter but had yet to find any evidence that Winston received payment for a reported 2,000 items found on the James Spence Authentication website.
“At this time, we have no information indicating that he accepted payment for items reported to bear his signature, thereby compromising his athletic eligibility,” Wilcox said. “The fact that items appear on an Internet site bearing the signature of a student-athlete does not singularly determine a violation of NCAA rules.”
Vote for Greene
None other than Fred Biletnikoff himself would like to see Rashad Greene win the Fred Biletnikoff Award, which is awarded annually to the nation’s best receiver.
Greene, a product of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, broke the school’s career receptions mark in the Seminoles’ win over Syracuse last week.
“The kid is fantastic,” said Biletnikoff, who in 1964 became Florida State’s first consensus All-American. “As long as he keeps that concentration going, the passion to catch the ball all the time, he’s a special talent. To be able to go out there and make big plays and impact plays… I love the guy. I think he’s terrific. We want him to win the award.”
Biletnikoff said he was on campus for the first time “in close to 40 years.”
This and that
▪ The Fighting Irish defeated the Noles in their only previous visit to Tallahassee, a 34-24 victory in 2002. The two gridiron powers had met seven times previously, with FSU owning a 5-2 record in the series.
The last previous meeting between the two schools — the Champ Sports Bowl in 2011 — resulted in a 18-14 win for FSU.
▪ Seminoles offensive line coach Rick Trickett missed Saturday’s game for health reasons.
David Spurlock, a 25-year-old graduate assistant who played with four members of the Noles current offensive line, filled in for Trickett.
Earlier in the day on Saturday, Trickett’s son — former Florida State quarterback Clint Trickett — helped lead West Virginia to an upset victory over No.4 Baylor.