Top opposing defensive tackles

Timmy Jernigan

Up next in CUTigers' look at the best opposing players Clemson will see this season are the defensive tackles.

1-Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

2012

Here's how good Florida State's defensive line was last season: Jernigan started in just two games. There aren't many other teams in the country that would have had Jernigan second on their depth chart.

Jernigan was fourth among all Seminole defenders with eight tackles for loss. He also finished the season with 46 tackles and 1.5 sacks. In the ACC title game, Jernigan had nine tackles, a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.

What he's doing here

In addition to his stellar sophomore campaign, Jernigan had a quality freshman season, which saw him record 30 tackles, 2.5 sacks and six tackles for loss.

His junior year will probably be the only that he starts for Florida State. Jernigan could parlay another strong season into an NFL career, which could start next spring as a high-round draft pick.

2-Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina

2012

As a sophomore, the Greenwood product started all 11 games in which he appeared. Quarles finished the season with 38 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He missed two games to injury -- Florida and Tennessee.

What he's doing here

Quarles started 2013 off on the right foot. He was given the Everday Hustle Award for the defense after the spring game. That probably won't be the only award he'll receive this year.

Look for Quarles' name to be tossed around for first-team All-SEC honors during this month's media days. His name should remain in contention for the postseason All-SEC honors, too.

3-Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest

2012

Despite missing tow games with an ankle injury, Whitlock was still named second-team All-ACC by both the coaches and the media. He finished the season with 51 tackles, including [27 solo] and ranked 47th in the ACC with 5.1 tackles per game.

Also tied for fourth among Wake Forest defenders with 5.5 tackles for loss, Whitlock had three sacks.

What he's doing here

The Demon Deacons' version of Grady Jarrett, all Whitlock does is fill gaps. When healthy, he's one of the most difficult tackles to block, particularly against the run.

During his breakout sophomore campaign, Whitlock had 26 solo tackles and 14 tackles for loss.

In addition to his junior year awards, Whitlock was named second-team Freshman All-America, second-team Sophomore All-America and second-team All-ACC as a sophomore.

Honorable Mention-Eddie Goldman, Florida State

2012

Yet another example of how good Florida State's defensive front was a season ago. As a true freshman, Goldman played in 10 games, recorded eight tackles and one tackle for loss.

Though he probably wouldn't have had a starting job at Clemson, had Goldman picked the Tigers would have seen more playing time in 2012.

What he's doing here

With a couple of departures from last year's team, Goldman should see a significant increase in playing time this fall. We're expecting big things out of Goldman, who was a consensus five-star prospect coming out of high school.

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