Jameis Winston, Florida State University quarterback, was awarded the 79th Heisman Trophy on Saturday, while allegations of rape still linger.
New York (CNN) — Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston was awarded the 79th Heisman Trophy on Saturday, an honor that comes amid lingering questions about a rape allegation that has cast a pall over his claim to the coveted bronze statue.
Winston, who was considered a frontrunner by many college analysts, led the top-ranked Seminoles as a freshman to an undefeated regular season and a chance to play for a national championship in January.
“It’s a blessing. I don’t even know what’s going on right now, honestly. I’m just so happy. I’m overwhelmed,” Winston told an audience during the presentation in New York.
But even as Winston became only the second redshirt freshman to win the Heisman, questions swirled about a rape allegation made against him more than a year ago but made public only last month.
Prosecutors declined this month to file a charge against Winston, but a news conference by his accuser’s lawyer the day before the Heisman presentation kept fueling the story.
Asked about the case on Friday, Winston — who has maintained the sexual activity was consensual — told reporters: “I knew I did nothing wrong.”