Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jameis Winston speaks at Griffin Heights Projects

The sports world has heard a lot about Jameis Winston since he burst onto the college football landscape last season. Some of the discussion has been glowing praise; some of it, due to off-field incidents, has been quite harsh.

Winston spoke back recently– but it wasn’t to reporters. He had a  more important audience in mind: a group of children in Tallahassee’s Griffin Heights Projects. The youngest Heisman Trophy winner in the award’s history recently tweeted a series of short video clips capturing his talk with some of the kids, which include his advice for facing a difficult situation.

The publicized portion of the Academic All-American’s speech is transcribed below, and Winston’s tweets linking to video follow.

Said Winston:

Hey Guys,

Listen. Don’t let nobody, you’re gonna have people telling you what you can not do, you gonna have people saying that you’ve got limitations to your life. Listen: you do not have no limitations to your life, okay? Let me tell you something: I learned, when I grew up, I learned the three rules of life. The first rule is God. If you’ve got God in your life, then you’re good.

The second rule is school, because let me tell you something: you can be the prettiest cheerleader on the cheerleading squad, but you won’t make the team if you got no grades, okay? And you can do anything you want, you can be the best player in the whole country, but if you don’t got the grades, you ain’t gonna get no scholarship. Now when I was raised, when I was coming up, I made straight As in school, I did all I had to do, but let me tell you something: I still was the kid that got more whoopins — I got more whoopins than all y’all in here. How many of y’all in here like whoopins? [silence, followed by laughter]. Okay then, so if you don’t like whoopins, and you believe in God, then you will fly to the moon, okay?

Hey, if y’all think you can’t do something, “can’t” should not be in your vocabulary. How many of y’all ever said “I can’t do this” before? [Hands raise]. Everybody’s said “I can’t do this.” From now on, let me tell y’all something: stop saying “I can’t.” Okay? Start saying “I can.” And start saying “I will.” And start saying “I am.”

You gotta listen to your parents. Listen, I grew up with both parents, if you don’t got no mom or no daddy, that don’t matter, okay, because you got yourself. You living, ain’t you? How many of y’all living? How many of y’all living? [Hands raise]. Everybody in here. Everybody in here living, okay? And as long as we living, then we control everything we want to do. You hear me princess? [To a young girl] You control everything you want to do, okay?

Alright, I’m Jameis Winson, y’all.

Winston visited with fellow Seminoles Rashad Greene and P.J. Williams.

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