FSU loses DT Timmy Jernigan to draft, but keeps three offensive players

Timmy Jernigan had 63 tackles for the Seminoles in 2013.

Matthew Emmons/Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State lost a defensive star to the NFL but is keeping three offensive standouts.

Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan has opted to pass up his senior season and enter the NFL draft early. Jernigan had 63 tackles in 2013, including nine in a victory over Auburn in the BCS championship game.

"It’s really hard to walk away from a place like Florida State," said Jernigan, who thanked his coaches and teammates in a statement released by the school. "We accomplished so much this season, and I’m glad I was a part of it. It’s been a good three years, but it’s rare to get an opportunity like I have and I’d like to take advantage of that opportunity right now."

Jernigan is considered one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the 2014 draft. He is projected by many analysts as a first-round pick.

Tight end Nick O’Leary, tailback Karlos Williams and guard Josue Matias are returning for their senior seasons.

"I’m very excited that Karlos, Josue and Nick have decided to stay and continue their careers at Florida State," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "They’re more pieces to the puzzle of our success. They’ve all contributed to helping the program get to where we are today. We believe another season will help them continue to develop and expand on their NFL potential."

O’Leary had 33 catches for 557 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013. He has 11 career touchdowns, the most ever by a Florida State tight end.

Williams ran for 730 yards and 11 touchdowns, showing his potential after moving over from safety after the season opener.

Matias helped lead a Florida State offensive line that protected Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and also paved the way for 2,844 rushing yards.

Wide receiver Rashad Greene, left tackle Cameron Erving and guard Tre Jackson announced Wednesday night that they would return in 2014. Tailback James Wilder is leaving for the NFL.

A handful of Florida State players are still weighing their decisions, including junior Devonta Freeman and redshirt sophomore receiver Kelvin Benjamin. Both crossed the 1,000-yard mark in the win over Auburn.

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