Florida State Football: What You Need to Know About Timmy Jernigan
At a school ripe with tradition at the defensive tackle position, rising sophomore Timmy Jernigan wasted little time in announcing his intention to add his name to the list of dominant Florida State defensive linemen.
Despite returning both starters last season in the middle of the Seminoles' defensive front four, Jernigan proved to be too talented to keep off the field as a true freshman. The 6’3”, 303-pounder led all Seminoles interior linemen with 30 tackles in 2011 (six behind the line of scrimmage) to go along with two-and-a-half sacks and a fumble recovery en route to Freshman All-American honors.
So what can Jimbo Fisher and Seminoles fan expect for an encore from the Lake City (Fla.) native?
Here is everything you need to know about Florida State sophomore defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.
Journey to Florida State
Growing up less than an hour from the campus of the University of Florida, most observers familiar with his recruitment expected Jernigan to select the Gators.
However, Fisher and FSU defensive line coach Odell Haggins were relentless in their pursuit of the nation’s top defensive tackle, according to 247 Sports.
Jernigan selected the Seminoles on National Signing Day in February of 2011—with his commitment boosting Fisher’s 2011 class to the top spot.
Jernigan selected Florida State over Florida, LSU, Alabama and Tennessee.
Jernigan has the ability the get off the snap quickly and use his hands to effectively shed blockers at the point of attack.
When he is playing at a high level, Jernigan is a disruptive force in the middle of the Seminoles' defensive front that is capable of demanding double teams.
His versatility and effectiveness also makes him a rare candidate to be a three-down defensive tackle—with his pass-rushing skills putting extra pressure on offenses in third-down situations.
Jernigan’s immense physical gifts have been duly noted, but to reach his full potential, he will still need to develop and refine his skills to become more consistent at getting off blocks.
Playing with a high motor and improving his conditioning—the latter of which may be more difficult early in the season since he missed a portion of spring drills recovering from a MCL injury as well as a slight meniscus tear—should be his main concerns heading into the season. (h/t Chip Patterson, CBSsports.com)
Outlook for 2012
Assuming Jernigan is fully recovered from his injury, most expect him to bump senior Anthony McCloud from the starting lineup.
Regardless of who starts, Jernigan is expected to make the jump from impact newcomer to one of the ACC’s (and perhaps the nation’s) most dominant defensive tackles.
The Seminoles are expected to claim the ACC for the first time since 2005, and potentially emerge as contenders in the national title race. Their stud sophomore defensive tackle is expected to play a huge role in making sure those expectations come to fruition this fall.