Auburn assistant Dameyune Craig responsible for Jameis Winston a - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Auburn assistant Dameyune Craig responsible for Jameis Winston at FSU

Posted: Updated:
FSU quarterback Jameis Winston credits the relationship with Auburn assistant coach Dameyune Craig as the reason he chose to become a Seminole. (abc3340.com) FSU quarterback Jameis Winston credits the relationship with Auburn assistant coach Dameyune Craig as the reason he chose to become a Seminole. (abc3340.com)

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Dameyune Craig had an idea five years ago, while on the Florida State staff, that his fellow coaches didn't share. He wanted to recruit a star high school quarterback out of Alabama and away from both Auburn and Nick Saban.

That player was Heisman winner Jameis Winston, who credits the relationship with Craig as the reason he chose to become a Seminole.

Now the Auburn co-offensive coordinator gets to face Winston from the opposite sideline Monday with the BCS championship on the line.

"I was the only one in that room that felt like we could get him," Craig said. "We actually had a couple meetings about Jameis and Coach (Jimbo) Fisher was really concerned about whether to go full bore on him because he didn't think, first of all, that we could get him. Second of all, that he would go play baseball.

"But if we get him we got the best quarterback in the country who could possibly be the first player taken and win the Heisman Trophy."

Today, Winston considers Craig a father figure and the two remain close despite Craig's change of teams. The two normally talk regularly, but this week has been different. Winston said he deleted Craig from his phone to avoid the temptation to call. The two are so tight that Craig got a shout-out during Winston's Heisman speech.

"It wasn't a surprise," Craig said. "That was part of the plan. I laid out the plan for him when I recruited him. I told him he would win, not only one, but two Heisman trophies.

"It was all about appreciation, the love. That makes me feel good."

Everything started with the bold idea to recruit the two-sport star in the first place. Then Craig had to gain the trust of the family. He had the built-in advantage of being a former elite quarterback from Alabama who played at Auburn. Mom was an Auburn fan and Craig could relate to Winston's experiences.

Craig thought he lost the recruit to Stanford when Winston didn't sign on signing day, but three years of trying paid off — even though Craig lost some fans in his home state. He caught heat from Alabama fans and Auburn fans unhappy that Winston was leaving the state.

"Just talking to him, meeting his family and everything, I see him as me," Winston said. "When I grow up, I want to be like him. Obviously, I want to be in the NFL longer.

"When I grow up I have to have somebody in my life. He's a funny guy. I love his family. I call him Uncle Craig."

Craig had grand plans for Winston and that included him growing up faster than a normal freshman.

"I've never, ever treated a redshirt freshman like I treated him," Craig said. "At some point I felt like I was being too hard on him."

Craig was already at Auburn when the sexual assault investigation of Winston became public. The state attorney did not charge Winston, but the investigation was a national story in the middle of the season. Craig stayed in touch with Winston by phone.

"He handled it a lot better than you would imagine," Craig said. "It didn't bother him. It bothered him, but it didn't bother him. Like he said, he knew he didn't do anything wrong, so he didn't have anything to worry about.

"I didn't get into great details with him about it, but I wanted him to have my support and know that if he needed anything I was there for him."

  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Burned body found in Fairfield identified as 22-year-old Pinson woman

    Burned body found in Fairfield identified as 22-year-old Pinson woman

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 1:18 PM EDT2014-04-23 17:18:15 GMT
     The body of 22-year-old Megan Elizabeth Monroe, of Pinson, was found outside this home in Fairfield, Saturday, April 19, 2014. (abc3340.com) The body of 22-year-old Megan Elizabeth Monroe, of Pinson, was found outside this home in Fairfield, Saturday, April 19, 2014. (abc3340.com)
    Police have identified the burned body found last weekend behind a vacant home in Fairfield as a 22-year-old Pinson woman.More >>
    Police have identified the burned body found last weekend behind a vacant home in Fairfield as a 22-year-old Pinson woman.More >>
  • Household Hazardous Waste Day in Hoover

    Household Hazardous Waste Day in Hoover

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:50 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:50:49 GMT
    A special event will help residents get rid of hazardous waste this weekend.More >>
    A special event will help residents get rid of hazardous waste this weekend.More >>
  • National Take-Back Day scheduled for Saturday

    National Take-Back Day scheduled for Saturday

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:27 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:27:03 GMT
    Do you have any unused medication you would like to discard? You will have an opportunity on Saturday, April 26, 2014.More >>
    Do you have any unused medication you would like to discard? You will have an opportunity on Saturday, April 26, 2014.
    More >>
  • New home sales down even in the South

    New home sales down even in the South

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:17 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:17:30 GMT
    Spring often is the best time of year to buy or sell a house. Families ready to relocate begin the hunt for a home.The winter weather is past and builders are increasing inventory. This Spring is atypical: the housing market now is fighting off a difficult, long winter, mortgage rates are climbing, and there is a shortage of properties.The Commerce Department's March figures show sales of new U.S. single-family houses fell to their lowest level in eight months. Compared to March last year, sa...More >>
    Spring often is the best time of year to buy or sell a house. Families ready to relocate begin the hunt for a home.The winter weather is past and builders are increasing inventory. This Spring is atypical: the housing market now is fighting off a difficult, long winter, mortgage rates are climbing, and there is a shortage of properties.The Commerce Department's March figures show sales of new U.S. single-family houses fell to their lowest level in eight months. Compared to March last year, sa...More >>
  • Tuscaloosa police make arrest in kidnapping and robbery

    Tuscaloosa police make arrest in kidnapping and robbery

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:11 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:11:43 GMT
    Tuscaloosa police arrest one man and they are still searching for another.More >>
    Tuscaloosa police arrest one man and they are still searching for another.More >>
  • More guilty pleas expected in multi-state dog fighting probe

    More guilty pleas expected in multi-state dog fighting probe

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:08 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:08:05 GMT
    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Seven of the 14 people arrested in a multi-state dog fighting investigation have filed court papers saying they want to plead guilty. Jennifer McDonald of Fairburn, Ga.; Michael Martin of Auburn, Ala.; and Ricky Van Le of Biloxi, Miss., are the latest to file papers in federal court in Montgomery. Four others previously sent paperwork saying that they want to change their pleas to guilty. They are Lawrence Watford of Adel, Ga.; William Oneil Edwards of Elba, Ala.; DeMo...More >>
    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Seven of the 14 people arrested in a multi-state dog fighting investigation have filed court papers saying they want to plead guilty. Jennifer McDonald of Fairburn, Ga.; Michael Martin of Auburn, Ala.; and Ricky Van Le of Biloxi, Miss., are the latest to file papers in federal court in Montgomery. Four others previously sent paperwork saying that they want to change their pleas to guilty. They are Lawrence Watford of Adel, Ga.; William Oneil Edwards of Elba, Ala.; DeMo...More >>
  • Birmingham Public Library reducing hours due to AC damage caused by extreme cold earlier this year

    Birmingham Public Library reducing hours due to AC damage caused by extreme cold earlier this year

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:50:59 GMT
    The mercury is rising, but the air conditioner at the main Birmingham Public Library is broken. That led the library to reduce hours for at least the next six to eight weeks. The needed repairs are the result of a January cold snap that ruptured the air conditioner coil in the library's main air handler. Parts have been ordered, and repairs will be scheduled once the parts arrive. Starting Monday, April 28, the downtown location at 2100 Park Place will open at 8 a.m. and close at 5 p.m., Mond...More >>
    The mercury is rising, but the air conditioner at the main Birmingham Public Library is broken. That led the library to reduce hours for at least the next six to eight weeks. The needed repairs are the result of a January cold snap that ruptured the air conditioner coil in the library's main air handler. Parts have been ordered, and repairs will be scheduled once the parts arrive. Starting Monday, April 28, the downtown location at 2100 Park Place will open at 8 a.m. and close at 5 p.m., Mond...More >>
  • Search for Riverside man in Logan Martin Lake enters day 3

    Search for Riverside man in Logan Martin Lake enters day 3

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:31 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:31:06 GMT
    Various law enforcement agencies are assisting in the search for a Riverside man who went missing in Logan Martin Lake. (abc3340.com)Various law enforcement agencies are assisting in the search for a Riverside man who went missing in Logan Martin Lake. (abc3340.com)
    The search continues for a Riverside man who fell from a fishing boat in Logan Martin Lake on Sunday.More >>
    The search continues for a Riverside man who fell from a fishing boat in Logan Martin Lake on Sunday.
    More >>