Tallahassee, FL - Florida State stars Josue Matias, Nick O’Leary and Karlos Williams will return to school for the 2014 football season.
Matias, a junior left guard, and O’Leary, a junior tight end, were each All-ACC Second Team selections in 2013, while Williams, a junior running back, scored 11 touchdowns after moving to the backfield from safety during the second week of the season.
“I’m very excited that Karlos, Josue and Nick have decided to stay and continue their careers at Florida State,” head 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.”
Matias, a 6-6, 322-pound Union City, N.J. native, started every game the past two seasons and has made 29 consecutive starts dating back to the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl. Matias was a key figure on Florida State’s standout offensive line that protected Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and paved the way for a record-breaking FSU offense en route to the Seminoles’ undefeated (14-0) BCS National Championship season.
O’Leary was one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end. He tallied 33 receptions for 557 yards and seven touchdowns, and his 16.9 yard per catch average led all tight ends in the nation. The three-year starter from Palm Beach, Fla., already holds the FSU career record for touchdowns by a tight end (11) and ranks second in receptions (66) and yards (873). He will enter the 2014 season with Gary Parris’ tight end school-records of 82 receptions and 1,125 yards in his sights.
Williams rushed 91 times for 730 yards and 11 scores in a backup role in 2013 after spending his first two seasons at safety. The Davenport, Fla., native is expected to see an increased role following his first full offseason at running back. Williams moved to running back during the week of the Nevada game in 2013 and promptly took his first career offensive touch 65 yards for a touchdown against the Wolf Pack. He rushed five times for 25 yards in the BCS National Championship and his seven-yard fake punt conversion with the Seminoles trailing 21-3 late in the second quarter swung momentum back Florida State’s way and propelled the Seminoles to their first touchdown of the game.
Jernigan Will Enter NFL Draft
Fisher confirmed that junior nose guard Timmy Jernigan will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
“Timmy was one of the leaders on our defense and a big part of our success these past three seasons,” Fisher said. “He was one of the most dominant defensive lineman I’ve been around in all my years coaching. Not only was he a dynamic football player, but he was also a great person. We expect Timmy to be very successful at the next level and we wish him the best.”
Jernigan started all 14 games in 2013, leading the Seminoles with 11.0 tackles for loss and finishing third with 63 total tackles. An ESPN.com First Team All-American, Jernigan helped FSU lead the nation in scoring defense (12.1 ppg). He had nine tackles in the BCS National Championship.
“I’ve decided to enter the NFL Draft,” Jernigan said. “I’d like to thank my coaches – Coach Fisher, Coach (Odell) Haggins and Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt – on guiding me and developing me into the player I am today. I’d like to thank my teammates. I couldn’t have had the success I had without them. I wouldn’t have wanted to play with any other group of guys. It’s really hard to walk away from a place like Florida State. 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.”