NEW YORK – Jameis Winston will have plenty of company at the Heisman Trophy ceremony – though hes not expected to have much competition.
The Florida State quarterback was among a record-tying six Heisman finalists revealed Monday, along with Northern Illinois Jordan Lynch, Texas A&Ms Johnny Manziel, Alabamas AJ McCarron, Auburns Tre Mason and Boston Colleges Andre Williams.
Six finalists invited to New York for the presentation are the most since 1994. The winner will be announced Saturday night.
Winston is the overwhelming favorite to win the award now that a sexual assault complaint against him in Tallahassee, Fla., has been closed without charges being filed. He could also become the second freshman to win the award.
Manziel was the first last year. The Aggies quarterback is trying to join another exclusive Heisman club by becoming the second player to win the award twice. Ohio States Archie Griffin won the award in 1974 and 75.
Lynch led No. 24 Northern Illinois (12-1) to within a victory of a BCS bid and has set the major college record for yards rushing for a quarterback with 1,815. McCarron completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,676 yards and 26 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide (11-1).
Mason has made a late push into the Heisman conversation as No. 2 Auburn reached the BCS title game. He ran for 304 yards and four TDs in the SEC championship game, and is ninth in the country in rushing (124 ypg) with 22 touchdowns.
Williams is the nations leading rusher at 175 yards per game, the 16th player in FBS to run for 2,000 yards in a season and the first since 2008.
Winstons arrival as Florida States starting quarterback was being touted as a major event in the spring and he has surpassed the hype. The Alabama native is on pace to break the NCAA record for passer efficiency rating (190.1) and has already set records for yards passing (3,820) and TD passes (38) for a freshman.
Winstons only issues have come off the field. About a month ago, a year-old sexual assault complaint against him made by a female Florida State student was given by police to the state attorneys office for a full investigation.
A woman claimed Winston raped her. Winstons lawyer said the sex was consensual. Winston continued to play, and play well, during the investigation. Last week, the state attorney announced there would be no charges filed in the case, and two days later Winston threw three touchdowns and ran for a score as No. 1 Florida State won the ACC title game and wrapped up a spot in the BCS title game.
In the latest straw poll released Monday by HeismanPundit.com, which has correctly predicted the last seven winners, Winston received seven of the 10 first-place votes and 26 points to easily outdistance Lynch (eight points and two first-place votes).