Florida State defensive tackle Tim Jernigan has opted to forego his senior season and will enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
Frankly, of all the players on the draft bubble, Jernigan's decision to turn pro was the most predictable. Since arriving on campus Jernigan has been one of the best defensive tackles on the Florida State roster. He got significant playing time as a freshman, was a vital cog as a sophomore and then proceeded to turn in an absolutely dominant 2013 season as a junior. Jernigan capped that effort with a tremendous BCS Championship game -- playing with the flu -- that saw him impose his will on a very good Auburn rushing attack.
Most scouting services have Jernigan pegged as a first round pick with many listing him as high as the top 15 players. Jernigan's statline is impressive on its own -- he finished third on the team with 63 tackles and added 4.5 sacks -- but it's not indictative of the impact he had on the Florida State defense this year. It all started with the defensive front and Jernigan was the anchor of that front. Whether it was eating up blockers, collapsing the pocket from the middle or just clogging a gap, Jernigan wasn't always the guy making the play but he was almost always affecting it.
Jimbo Fisher has called Jernigan one of the best defensive linemen he's ever been around.
As for Florida State, they still have a fairly deep group of defensive linemen but will also be losing Jacobbi McDaniel and Demonta McAllister. Eddie Goldman, Justin Shanks, Keith Bryant and Nile Lawrence-Stample will all be back next season and FSU will look to them to replace Jernigan.
Easier said than done.
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