Florida State’s Jernigan leaving for NFL draft

Updated: January 9, 2014, 12:19 PM ET

By David Hale | ESPN.com

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

Jernigan led Florida State with 11 tackles for loss in 2013, his first year as a full-time starter, and he was regarded as a strong run stuffer up the middle. Jernigan is widely projected as a first-round selection in this year’s NFL draft and is rated as the No. 7 overall player by ESPN’s Scouts, Inc.

“I feel I am the most versatile defensive lineman in the draft,” Jernigan told ESPN’s Joe Schad. “Some team will get an athletic, hard-working lineman who attacks, plays smart and doesn’t come off the field.”

Jernigan was essential in quieting Auburn’s up-tempo running game during the middle of Monday’s VIZIO BCS Championship Game, allowing Florida State to chip away at a 21-3 deficit. When he was sidelined late in the fourth quarter, the Tigers quickly marched down the field for a score.

Jernigan started just two games in his first two seasons with Florida State but was a regular contributor off the bench. As a freshman in 2011, he recorded 30 tackles, including six for a loss, then added to those totals in 2012 with 46 tackles and eight for a loss.

Jernigan finished this season with 63 tackles, including 4½ sacks and was a second-team AP All-American.

Junior running back James Wilder Jr. has also declared for the draft, while receiver Rashad Greene and offensive linemen Tre Jackson and Cameron Erving announced they would return for 2014.

Information from ESPN’s Joe Schad was used in this report.

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