Ex-Tiger Jernigan turning town green
As if Lake City needed another reason to root against the Patriots.
Community members are cheering for Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Timmy Jernigan, a former Columbia High School defensive lineman, to take Super Bowl LII by storm.
“I don’t know how someone from this town couldn’t be excited,” said CHS football coach Brian Allen. “This is something that’s viewed by millions and we have someone right here from little Lake City.”
Jernigan will be the second CHS graduate to play in the Super Bowl — behind Allen, who participated in two for the Carolina Panthers and the St. Louis Rams — but he can still be the first Tiger to win one.
“He can make history,” Allen said.
Jernigan was a dominant force at CHS and continued to excel after he signed on to play for Florida State University, where he won a national championship in 2014, and into his professional career.
“As a person that’s a native of Lake City, that’s from this community, I’m definitely proud of him,” Allen said. “I’ve become the biggest fan of Philly right now.”
Since Jernigan comes from a large family, many local residents have a personal connection with him, Allen said.
“He’s a part of this community,” Allen said.
Jernigan’s performance at the Super Bowl could inspire the next great athlete from Lake City, Allen said.
“Hopefully there’s a kid somewhere in this community who will say ‘I can do that some day,’” Allen said.
Ron Williams Jr., a friend of Jernigan’s mother since childhood, said Jernigan continues to impress him.
“That kid — man — has truly been a superior player,” Williams said. “It’s encouraging to see a young man go to the Super Bowl like that.”
Williams was in the U.S. Marines when Jernigan played for CHS, so he never got to see him on the field in person, but he managed to catch a few highlights.
“He was just unblockable,” Williams said.
This will be the second time that someone Williams knows personally faces off against the Patriots. His brother-in-law, David Tyree, played for the New York Giants in 2012.
It’s satisfying to have yet another reason to root against New England, he said.
“So of course I’m cheering against the Patriots,” Williams said.
On social media, the community is expressing overwhelming support for Jernigan.
A Facebook post from Glenel Bowden reads:
“I DON’T PERSONALLY KNOW TIMMY. HOWEVER HE IS FROM LAKE CITY AND THAT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME. #TURNLAKECITYGREEN”
Another post from Patricia Wyche reads:
“For the love of #93 Timmy Jernigan,
Lake City and CHS Tiger Pride 4 Life I will shine green on my porch.”
Cynthia Taylor commented:
“Turn green for Timmy.”