FSU's Winston tops list of Heisman finalists

6 players invited to Saturday's ceremony

POSTED: 04:27 PM PST Dec 24, 2013    UPDATED: 10:41 PM PST Dec 09, 2013 

Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston, the overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, was one of six players invited to Saturday's ceremony, the Heisman Trust announced Monday.

Three other quarterbacks -- Texas A&M sophomore Johnny Manziel, the reigning Heisman winner; Northern Illinois senior Jordan Lynch and Alabama senior AJ McCarron -- join Winston as finalists. Boston College senior running back Andre Williams and Auburn junior running back Tre Mason round out the list of invitees.

Mason and Winston will square off in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7 in Pasadena, Calif.

A victory by Winston would mark consecutive Heismans for redshirt freshmen, following Manziel's win. No freshman won the award prior to 2012.

While leading the top-ranked Seminoles to a 13-0 record, Winston completed 237 of 349 passes for 3,820 yards with 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The passing yardage and passing touchdown totals are freshman records. He also rushed 77 times for 193 yards and four scores.

The biggest obstacle to Winston's Heisman candidacy was off-field uncertainty, but last week a Florida prosecutor announced that the quarterback would not be charged with sexual assault despite accusations made against him by a Florida State student last December.

Manziel threw for 3,732 yards on 270-for-391 passing, tossing 33 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. Aside from the interception total, his passing stats were an improvement on 2012, but his rushing stats declined sharply. He ran for 686 yards and eight touchdowns on 133 carries this year after producing 1,410 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns on 201 carries last season.

Lynch's candidacy was built largely on his legs rather than his arm. He ran 274 times for 1,881 yards -- a record for a quarterback -- and scored 22 times on the ground. Lynch completed 233 of 369 passes for 2,676 yards with 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

McCarron went 207-for-306 for 2,676 yards, 26 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Mason gained 1,621 yards on 283 carries, including a 304-yard, 46-carry game Saturday in the SEC championship game against Missouri. He scored four of his 22 rushing touchdowns against Mizzou.

Williams ran 329 times for 2,102 yards and 17 touchdowns.