SAN JOSE -- Tyler Winston's first career catch at San Jose State made ESPN "SportsCenter's" Top 10 plays. In his first start, the true freshman caught six passes for 159 yards and a touchdown.
Could he be the Spartans' next star in the making? He sounds ready.
"I don't shy away from the spotlight," Winston said. "I just try to go out and make the big plays that I can every game."
The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder from Antelope was one of the jewels of February's recruiting class and has quickly shown why. Coach Ron Caragher originally planned to redshirt Winston because of the team's depth at wide receiver, but when senior star Noel Grigsby was injured, plans changed.
Winston was activated for the game at Minnesota and saw a little action but didn't make a catch. That first reception was saved for the Utah State game, when he made a diving 25-yard grab in the third quarter that earned him some airtime on ESPN.
"It was very surreal," Winston said. "You watch it growing up. Everybody waits for Top 10 on "SportsCenter." All my friends, family, everybody was happy. I got a lot of tweets, text messages and all that."
Winston earned the start Saturday at Hawaii and was SJSU's leading receiver. Even in practice, you can tell Winston is becoming a go-to target for quarterback David Fales.
"The plays he's making, it's hard to watch film and say that's a true freshman with the stuff he's doing," Fales said. "He's going to be really good."
Winston said the veteran receiving corps, with players such as Grigsby, Chandler Jones and Jabari Carr, is one of the reasons he came to SJSU.
"I knew they had a lot of veteran guys, and not everyone gets to learn from these great players," Winston said.
Caragher likes that Winston is getting to learn from Fales and those receivers while on the field, rather than by just watching.
"It's not just getting reps, it's getting good quality reps," Caragher said. "I've always believed a young player is a better player in his second year in the program having played some, rather than just redshirting. I think that experience carries over. This is really good for his growth as a young receiver to gain confidence, and it's nice to start on the front end with an experienced player like David."
Benwikere took all the first-team reps and was out of the black noncontact jersey he wore Tuesday. He hasn't been cleared to play in a game, but Caragher indicated he was on track barring any setbacks.
Carr (dislocated shoulder) also practiced without any restrictions Wednesday and could be available this week after sitting out the Hawaii game.
Freshman backup safety Brandon Monroe (sprained ankle), who has missed the past three games, also fully participated in practice and could return this week. Monroe is eligible for a redshirt, but Caragher said he believes Monroe could help the team enough that he wants him to play once he is cleared.
San Jose State (2-3, 1-1 MWC) at Colorado State (2-3, 0-0), 12:30 p.m. CBSSN