The Florida State Seminoles are looking to defend their ACC championship in 2013. To get there, they’ll need to lean on their elite defense which lost several players to the 2013 NFL Draft. Luckily for them, they have plenty of other playmakers ready to step up next fall and carry the defense. Junior defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan may end up being the best player on the Seminoles’ defensive unit next season and emerge as one of the elite defensive linemen in college football.
Jernigan was a strong contributor to the FSU defense in 2012 as a sophomore. He finished seventh on the team with 45 tackles, including eight tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He’ll be asked to do even more in 2013 following the loss of both Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner along the defensive line to the NFL and FSU needs to get disruption from its front four to keep their defense among the best in the ACC.
The 6-foot-2, 298-pound Jernigan is a prototypical three-technique defensive tackles with a quick first step and the ability to consistently disrupt and penetrate. He’s got a great motor to pursue plays outside the tackle box and has the athleticism to change direction on a dime. He could develop into a first-round talent for the 2014 NFL Draft, though he hasn’t expressed whether or not he’s interested in leaving FSU early after next season.
Florida State faces plenty of turnover after a successful 2012 season, but they have a strong presence ready to step up in the interior of the defensive line with Jernigan. How high will he rise in 2013?