FSU football coaches are looking for ways to improve the roster as quickly as possible. They have done a solid job addressing needs in its 2024 recruiting class, and one position FSU fans have shared some disappointment with is at linebacker.
FSU has one 2024 linebacker committed after taking three in the 2023 recruiting cycle. It appears FSU wasn’t in love with many 2024 linebackers since they didn’t seem to pushing hard for many to visit campus, and I pointed out how only a handful of blue-chip linebackers resided in Florida and Georgia.
However, an opportunity to reconnect with a player they recruited last year presented itself when Northwestern fired their coach last week.
Three-star Justin Cryer entered his name in the transfer portal and committed to FSU Monday, which is typical for guys FSU likes. FSU was the first big-time school to offer Cryer.
Cryer lists at 6’1″ and 230 pounds with excellent production at his high school in Texas. I know some fans have voiced displeasure on the lack of blue-chip linebacker targets.
I addressed the bust-rate of former blue-chip linebackers at FSU in the past decade here. Stars matter for sure, but linebacker recruiting rankings seem more on par with offensive linemen rankings, meaning they are not terribly accurate.
What is FSU getting with Justin Cryer?
- A guy that’s physically ready to play
- Essentially somewhat of an early enrollee for the 2024 recruiting cycle
- Smart with good instincts
- Sure tackler and early special teams contributor
- Father is an HS defensive coach
At 6’1″ and 230 pounds, he’s already the same size as current FSU linebackers. FSU may look to have him shed a few pounds as he gets into its S&C program.
Cryer will likely enroll this fall, meaning he’ll get to practice and could potentially start contributing next year. Whereas, if FSU took another 2024 linebacker, he’d have to wait until January at the earlier to enroll early. Cryer enrolling now speeds up that clock.
Cryer getting into Northwestern means he’s no slouch academically. I know folks want guys with crazy athleticism, but that doesn’t do much good if the player struggles to know what gap to fill or how to analyze film, etc. We’ve seen former blue-chip linebackers struggle with these things in recent years.
They’ve taken bad angles, filled the wrong gap, and proved ineffective. Cryer exhibits good instincts in his film and does well coming downhill with a physical presence while tackling. Cryer is the son of a high school football defensive coach.
His father was the defensive coordinator at his high school. That’s a tidbit of information that escapes the casual fan but could be a large factor in his eventual success in college. It’s not the sexy take everyone wants, but similar to Tatum Bethune, could morph into an insanely productive college linebacker.