FSU football: 2023 linebacker outlook and possible depth issue

FSU football has a position of need at the linebacker position as we approach the 2023 season.

Depth will be an issue with only four players with real college game experience. Florida State will play mostly a 4-2-5 nickel defense that gives us a two-deep rotation.

Let’s take a look at the current depth chart.

  1. Kalen DeLoach (RS SR)
  2. D.J. Lundy (RS JR)
  1. Tatum Bethune (RS SR)
  2. Omar Graham (RS FR)

DeLoach and Bethune are a dynamic tandem in this defense, as both guys have the speed to the ball and are very athletic to cover. DJ Lundy has looked good this spring, continuing to change his body, dropping some weight, and looks ready to compete at a high level. Omar Graham is an intriguing prospect that redshirted last season, but I believe he will be a solid contributor this season.

  1. Emile Aime
  2. A.J. Cottrill

I don’t anticipate these guys doing much this season but you never know.

Incoming Freshman
  1. Blake Nichelson ☆★★★★
  2. Demarco Ward ☆☆★★★
  3. Dylan Brown-Turner ☆☆★★★

I like Blake Nichelson a lot, as he reminds me of Luke Keuchly, big and fast and plays with a nasty attitude. Demarco Ward enrolled early, and that should help him get some time this season. He has good vision to spot the ball carrier and loves contact. Dylan Brown-Turner is a sleeper guy for me. Once he adds some weight and adjusts to the college game, he is going to be a good player. He reminds me of DeLoach and is likely to redshirt this season.

Players Who Transferred Out
  1. Stephen Dix Jr. (Marshall)
  2. Brendan Gant (Colorado)
  3. Amari Gainer (North Carolina)

These three guys were solid depth players and they will be missed. I have always liked Dix’s ceiling and wanted to see him develop more. Gant and Gainer were good solid backups in this defense.


Although it appears we have a depth issue, I believe the freshman will step into that reserve role and help out, especially Nichelson and Ward.  I think Bethune will be the leader of this unit, and DeLoach is not too far behind. There is also a possibility of a transfer add here at linebacker if the staff feels they need more depth. Overall I think we will be fine here for this season, but DeLoach and Bethune will be gone after this season, so we need to add to Tribe ’24, with only Jayden Parrish as the lone linebacker commitment.