December 15, 2012

From German club football to consensus All-American

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In case you were wondering, the irony that Bjoern Werner was born in Germany and has spent the last week being named to several different All-American lists, is not lost on the defensive end.

Werner is both humored and honored to become the 29th consensus All-American in Florida State history.

"Getting these honors is just amazing," he said. "Especially where I come from. I'm a German All-American, how awesome is that?"

The 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive end was born in Berlin, Germany and as a junior was named by first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, Walter Camp Football Foundation, the Associated Press, the AFCA and Sporting News among others to make him an NCAA consensus All-American.

Werner finished the season with 40 tackles, with 18 for loss and 13 sacks. He also deflected seven passes, recovered a fumble and forced another. With just three seasons at FSU, head coach Jimbo Fisher thinks Werner could be in the discussion as one of the Seminoles' top defenders of all time.

"I wasn't around all of them, but you're talking about a complete player," Fisher said. "He can play the run, play the pass, can stand up. I would imagine he would be one of the tops. There's been some phenomenal players here, so to say he's the best? I don't know. But he belongs in the conversation I know that."

Just the fact that Werner is in the conversation is an astonishing feat. Werner played just three years of club football in Germany before deciding to go to America for high school. He was rated a three-star prospect playing both ways for Connecticut Salisbury High School.

When Werner fell in love with the game, there had never been a German-born player in the NFL. Now as he approaches what likely will be his final collegiate game, he is hoping to become the third active German in the NFL, joining Sebastian Vollmer of the New England Patriots and Markus Kuhn on the New York Giants.

Kuhn was a seventh-round selection, while Vollmer when 58th overall in the second round of the draft. Werner is projected to be selected much higher than both. In the latest mock draft from ESPN/Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay, Werner is projected to be the third pick overall in the 2013 NFL draft should he declare.

Werner said the praise of the mock drafts is nice and he has made up his mind about whether or not he'll enter the draft or not, he's just not ready to share it publicly yet.

"That's my main goal to reach the NFL, since I started playing football in Germany," he said. "But there's still time to make a decision. I'm going to have a bowl game to play and I don't want to focus on that right now too much. I made up my mind but I'm going to tell (the media) after the bowl game because I want to focus on the stuff for the game. Because a lot of stuff can happen in the bowl game, I can change my mind last day, you never want to tell stuff too early.

"You know Brandon Jenkins, I was positive he was going and the last day Coach Fisher talked to his family- talked about the positives and negatives- and he changed his mind. So I'm going to wait until I really know I can make the decision. It's probably going to be after the bowl game."

Whenever Werner does enter the draft, he hopes that he will become an inspiration other kids in Germany and be able to help them realize the dream of playing professional football (American football that is).

"You need opportunities, you need people who give you opportunities and on my way to this point right here there is so many people in my life who opened doors for me and created opportunity and I took it," Werner said. "Hopefully I have a nice NFL career where my name is so big that I can start opening the pipeline, where I can give back."

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