The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner takes on an Auburn team Monday in which he has several personal connections, including the fact that the Tigers are from his home state and that his former mentor, Dameyune Craig, left FSU last year to take the co-offensive coordinator position on The Plains.
Winston has said that he was extremely close to the former Florida State quarterbacks coach and he even joked recently about deleting his number so that he wouldn’t call Craig before the game.
Without Craig, Winston has flourished, though, and has benefitted from the teaching of Jimbo Fisher and Craigss replacement, Randy Sanders.
That Sanders-Winston relationship has been a key factor in the latter’s incredible redshirt freshman year.
“The trust and respect, you try to give it but you don’t have it until it’s earned,” Sanders said. “To earn it takes time. So it was a process through the spring and summer and then through the fall to build that type of relationship.”
That relationship, and Winston’s pure ability and football IQ have made him difficult to defeat.
“[Winston is] a heady guy,” Auburn defensive end Nosa Eguae said. “He’s a great quarterback. He makes great decisions.”