When the Seminoles secured Timmy Jernigan's commitment as a member of the program's 2011 recruiting class, it was apparent that the 6'2" defensive tackle had a chance to develop into a special player.
The Colombia High School product provided flashes of excellence as a true freshman, as he totaled two sacks and 29 tackles as a member of FSU's talented defensive interior. Jernigan continued to progress throughout his time in Tallahassee, and is now widely heralded as one of the nation's premier defensive tackles. It doesn't take long to notice Jernigan's impact on FSU's games, as his versatility allows him to be disruptive against the run and against the pass.
Based in part on his freshman season, Jernigan was pegged as a potential star early in his career and did not disappoint. Such a prophecy has come to fruition, as Jernigan is projected to be a first round pick in next year's NFL Draft if he decides to enter.
Against the Idaho Vandals, Jernigan recorded 2.5 sacks and added another two tackles for losses on what easily could have been considered Senior Day for him as well.
Jernigan's combination of speed and power is unique for a player his size, which makes him a tough matchup for collegiate offensive lineman. This was a lesson that the Idaho front learned the hard way, as Jernigan was virtually unblockable on every snap.
Even when double-teamed, Jernigan still found a way to make positive plays, even if that amounted to giving his teammates' opportunities in one-on-one rushing situations elsewhere. Much of what Jernigan does doesn't appear on the stat sheet, but that won't be overlooked by NFL scouts.
At this point, it's worth asking if Jerningan will return for his senior year. There is little left to prove, and the NFL and the fortune and fame that comes with it are on the horizon.
Although the NFL is on Jernigan's mind, he is still focused on finishing this season in Pasadena
"I mean at the end of the day of course it sits in the back of your head. I try not to focus on that. We have a big task at hand, trying to get to the National Championship and definitely trying to beat Florida. So that's what I'm focusing on and being the best teammate to my teammates. It wouldn't be fair to them if I had moved on."
If this was in fact Jernigan's final home game at Doak, then he can walk away with a smile on his face. He has lived up to his potential and played a key role in reasserting FSU's dominance nationally.