At 19 years and 342 days old, Winston became the youngest Heisman Trophy winner when he was named college football's most outstanding player Saturday night in New York.
"I cannot explain the feeling that I have inside right now," Winston said. "I'm so overwhelmed. It's awesome."
When his name was announced, he popped from his seat and quickly made his way to his mom and dad for hugs and kisses. He smiled and laughed through most of his acceptance speech.
He talked about trusting in the "process" on the field and in life and "after all the things I've been through this past month." He got choked up a bit when talking about his parents.
"When you see your mom and you see your dad and they've been struggling through this whole process and now you see a smile on their face, it comforted me," he said later.
The margin of victory was the seventh largest in Heisman history. Winston earned 668 first-place votes while McCarron was first on 79 ballots.
Winston was the overwhelming favorite to win the award after a sexual assault complaint against him in Tallahassee, Fla., was closed without charges being filed earlier this month. The controversy may have shown in the Heisman voting -- Winston was left off 115 of the 900 ballots entirely.
"Everyone has their own opinion," Winston said. "It's basically a numbers game, and I was blessed to have the majority vote."
The Heisman Trust mission statement says: "The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity."
"I really believe that people actually just trusted me. People obviously saw us play. But that comes from my team, too," Winston said.
Winston set freshman records by passing for 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns while leading No. 1 Florida State into the VIZIO BCS National Championship against Auburn.
In his 13 career games, Winston has thrown for 300 yards seven times and has accounted for at least four touchdowns six times. And he did it while playing every snap in just three of Florida State's games, thanks to a bevy of blowout wins.
The Alabama native is on pace to break the NCAA record for passer efficiency rating (190.1). He also leads the nation this season in adjusted QBR (90.9) and yards per attempt (10.9).
"I can't explain how truly intelligent he is," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "He always wanted to know why he had success or why he had failure so he could either repeat it or fix it."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.