Tim Jernigan heading to FSU

Originally Published: February 2, 2011
By ESPN Recruiting

Florida State has the nation's top class working right now, but that doesn't mean it can't get better -- and defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) helped do just that.

"I'm headed to FSU," said the 6-foot-2, 275-pounder. "It came down to Florida State and LSU. Opportunity is equal, but why go up to Louisiana when I can do it home?"

And for Jernigan, family was the key.

"I have my family here and my younger nieces and nephews that can watch me play, and hopefully I can be a role model for them," he said. "I want to set an example of hard work and determination for them to follow."

Jernigan gives FSU its 12th member of the ESPNU 150 and all but closes out an incredible effort by coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff that started with early commitments at the beginning of the cycle from ESPNU 150 prospects Karlos Williams (Davenport, Fla./Ridge Community) and Keelin Smith (Port St. Lucie, Fla./Treasure Coast).

"I'm jacked up right now. I want to be part of what's building in Tallahassee," Jernigan said. "I think about the guys signing like Williams and the guys there like [Nigel] Bradham and those guys and I'm excited to be on the same team with them."

Jernigan was long thought to be a lean to Florida. He grew up just 40 miles from the campus and developed a strong relationship with former Florida coach Urban Meyer and defensive line coach Dan McCarney, who is now the head coach at North Texas.

Another coach that had a great relationship with Jernigan was FSU defensive line coach Odell Haggins. When Meyer retired from coaching and McCarney left Florida, Jernigan's bond with Haggins grew stronger.

"The relationship with Coach Haggins was big, but I wasn't going to sign over one coach," Jernigan said. "However, he's been at FSU for most of his life, and I have trust in him and Coach Fisher because they will be there for a long time."

Jernigan's head coach at Columbia High, Craig Howard, had already experienced the recruiting craze when he was Tim Tebow's coach at Nease (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) and now he sends one of his pupils to Tallahassee.

"I've had two Timmys that were the best I've coached, and I'll just keep coaching those Timmys as long as they keep coming to me," Howard said. "But Jernigan he is the finest defensive lineman I've ever coached and he's a wonderful person. I'm going to miss him, but I couldn't be prouder."