Winston is rated as the second-best quarterback who will be available to teams in the draft, which starts on April 30, and he could even go as high as second pick behind likely No 1 selection Marcus Mariota.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a successful college career with the Seminoles, going 26-1 as a starter and leading them to the national championship last season – Winston was also named winner of the 2013 Heisman Trophy.
But his time at Florida State ended with a huge defeat as the Seminoles were thrashed 59-20 by the Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl, Mariota coming out well on top in the battle of the two top professional prospects.
Winston’s college career was dogged by off-field problems, which could still affect his draft stock, including a rape allegation which did not end in any charges and a half-game suspension for his ‘vulgar’ behaviour on campus.
“After weighing this decision with my family and friends, I have decided to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft and forgo my remaining eligibility at Florida State,” Winston said in a statement.
“I reached this very difficult decision after careful consideration and long thought, realizing how difficult it would be to say goodbye to my family at Florida State.
“I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to wear the garnet and gold and have greatly enjoyed my time as a Seminole, both as an athlete and a student in the classroom.”
Winston is also a talented baseball player and prior to the 2014 season was named a pre-season All American as a third-team utility player – he plays as an outfielder as well as a relief pitcher.