FSU football had a productive 2022 season from its linebacking core, where redshirt juniors Tatum Bethune (84 tackles) and Kalen DeLoach (63 tackles) were second and third in total tackles, respectively.
Redshirt sophomore DJ Lundy also had a solid statistical performance with 48 tackles.
The Seminoles received wonderful news this offseason, where Bethune and DeLoach announced that they would return to Tallahassee for a final season.
However, position depth will get tested as FSU lost veteran contributors Brendan Gant, Stephen Dix Jr., and Amari Gainer to the transfer portal this offseason. As a result, the Seminoles moved former tight end, Brian Courtney, to the position to help with the issue.
This action means that other younger linebackers must step up in elevated roles. One particular player that I will be watching for is redshirt sophomore Omar Graham Jr.
The former Class of 2022 linebacker from Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale (FL) was a three-star prospect. FSU fans immediately began to look at star rankings instead of turning on the film and evaluating the prospect.
Graham Jr. was a underrated find by the coaching staff as he went on to have 102 tackles (40 tackles for loss) with 23.5 sacks and two forced fumbles during his senior season. He also appeared at the running back position, where he rushed for 551 yards and 12 touchdowns.
During his freshman season, he only recorded eight tackles in three games. He was virtually the fifth linebacker in the rotation behind DeLoach, Bethune, Lundy, and Gant.
However, now that the latter has transferred to Colorado, it opens the door of opportunity for Graham Jr. to prove that he deserves a bigger role in 2023 and could potentially earn him a starting gig in 2024.
Linebackers coach Randy Shannon had a tremendous haul in the 2023 recruiting cycle, where he obtained the services of four-star Blake Nichelson, three-star DeMarco Ward, and three-star Dylan Brown-Turner.
Who will be the linebacker FSU football coaches pair alongside veteran DJ Lundy in 2024?