- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Karlos Williams is 6-foot-1 and, conservatively, weighs about 225 pounds. He’s played safety and linebacker at Florida State before flipping to running back. So, he doesn’t shy from contact and enjoys delivering a shoulder.
Unless it is in practice, and he sees No. 90 flash in front of his eyes. If Eddie Goldman, the No. 1 Seminoles’ top defensive tackle, is coming toward him, Williams cringes.
“I’ve asked him several times ‘Please don’t hit me during team run, please calm down’” Williams said. “He’s a ticking time bomb.”
Goldman is the Seminoles’ under-the-radar talent who is now being asked to lead a defense that is still finding its bearings. Gone are Lamarcus Joyner, Telvin Smith and former defensive tackle mate Timmy Jernigan.
The interior of the defensive line has been criticized early in the season, though. Goldman hears it, even if he does his best to brush it off. And then he allowed his performance against then-No. 22 Clemson last weekend to answer any questions about his level of play. Statistically, Goldman said, it is the best he’s ever played as he registered a sack and forced a fumble.
Late in the fourth quarter just as the Tigers were setting up for the game-winning score, the 6-foot-4, 320-pound Goldman forced a fumble. In overtime, he blew through the offensive line and stopped a fourth-and-inches rush. His biggest play, however, was maybe one he didn’t make. He crushed the Clemson center from inside the 1-yard line in the third quarter but was a touch offside.
“Don’t think that wasn’t on [the center’s] mind the next snap,” Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said.
That next snap was one that sailed over Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson’s head. The Tigers wouldn’t score.
“Goldman is probably the best defensive tackle in college football,” said NC State coach Dave Doeren, tasked with game-planning for Goldman this Saturday. “Right now nobody can block their defensive tackle. That guy is killing people.”
It reminded Fisher of “an old guy we had around here a year ago.”
Fisher is referring to Jernigan, who was second-team AP All-American and then a second-round pick in May’s NFL draft. While Goldman is bigger than Jernigan, he still fit under Jernigan’s wing in Tallahassee.
On and off the field, Jernigan was pivotal in Goldman’s development. Jernigan showed Goldman how to play aggressively, despite the insistence from his teammates to the contrast.
“His intensity and attitude towards the game, he has a certain type of aggressive, mean demeanor about himself,” Goldman said of Jernigan. “And he studied film a lot. … We’ll watch TV copies of games to hear the snap count or watch offensive linemen’s mannerisms to indicate where he’ll step and when he’ll snap the ball.”
And then Goldman will run them over. Ask Clemson.
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