TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Defensive end Bjoern Werner felt like he had accomplished plenty in his time at Florida State. On Thursday, the consensus All-American announced he will enter the NFL Draft.
A native of Germany, Werner first started playing flag football in middle school before playing club football in Berlin and high school ball in Connecticut.
Werner had 42 tackles and led the Atlantic Coast Conference with 13 sacks in 2012, finishing up one of the most dominating pass-rushing seasons in school history.
He is projected as a top-five overall pick by ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay.
“I’m grateful to coach (Jimbo) Fisher and Florida State for giving me the opportunity to be a Seminole and play for one of the top college football programs in the country,” Werner said. “I’ve learned so much from the coaches, especially (defensive ends) coach (D.J.) Eliot, and have been able to play with some of the best players in the country.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at FSU and will cherish the time I spent as a Seminole.”
Werner’s departure means that Florida State will have four new starters on the defensive line in 2013. But while Werner moves on, safety Lamarcus Joyner decided to return for his senior season.
Joyner’s return solidifies a secondary that was already losing junior corner Xavier Rhodes, who announced his decision moments after Florida State’s Orange Bowl win over Northern Illinois on Tuesday night. Rhodes is projected as a first-round pick.
As a junior, Joyner had 51 tackles and was a first-team All-ACC pick. He has started 27 games. Joyner chose to attend Florida State just days after Jimbo Fisher replaced Bobby Bowden as the Seminoles’ coach in December 2009.
“Coach Fisher and I aren’t finished with what we started here,” Joyner said. “He said from Day 1 I was going to be one of those guys that was going to help turn this program around. We’ve started down the right path so far but we’re still not finished.”
Joyner will lead a deep Florida State defensive backfield in 2013 which includes Nick Waisome, Ronald Darby and Terrence Brooks.
Former Ridge Community standout Karlos Williams, a rising junior, could factor in as a safety or linebacker, depending on how new coordinator Jeremy Pruitt utilizes him.