Thoughts on Linebacker Depth and Recruiting

This is the second in a series on filling needs.  Defensive line was discussed last Friday.  

What is the need at linebacker?  Why does FSU have that need?  Is FSU addressing those needs? 

As discussed in the defensive roster review, as a 4-3 team FSU should look to carry 11-13 linebackers in any given year.  And those linebackers should be spread between all levels of eligibility. 

FSU graduated two linebackers in Dekoda Watson and Recardo WrightAaron Gresham and Maurice Harriss are basically locks to receive medical hardship scholarships, meaning they will no longer play due to injury but will finish their education.

Kendall Smith (sr)
Mister Alexander (Rs) (sr)
Nigel Bradham (jr)
Nigel Carr (jr)
Vince Williams (rs) (so)

FSU returns only 5 scholarship linebackers.  That is not a good situation.  How did FSU get into this mess?  The two medical hardships don't help, but losing two guys should not kill a unit.  The major problem here is that FSU failed to bring in a single linebacker in last year's class.  Yes, they did bring in C.J. Mizell, but he had huge character and academic issues.  Predictably, Mizell failed to qualify.  The failure wasn't in relying on the long-shot Mizell, but in failing to bring in two other linebacker recruits.  That was a huge mistake.  I don't want to dwell on the past, but there are reasons why some coaches are no longer with the program.  FSU played the 2009 season with only 9 scholarship linebackers.  The situation is dire. There is a chance that safety Nick Moody (6'1" 235 lbs) might switch back to linebacker.

What is FSU doing anything to remedy the situation?  I asked the Tomahawk Nation recruiting team.

Like defensive line recruiting, the dearth of linebackers is unlikely to be remedied in one recruiting class.  But here is FSU's current crop of FSU linebacker recruits:

Jeff Luc (EE)
Nigel Terrell
Holmes Onwukaife
Telvin Smith

Note that Luc graduated high school early and enrolled at FSU in early January.  That is a tremendous help to recruits looking to play early.  FSU has one of the best groups of linebacker recruits in the country.  And it could get better by adding Christian Jones or Shaydon Akuna, two highly regarded backers.  

Assuming FSU adds one more linebacker to the class, that would put FSU at 10 scholarship backers.  That's just outside the acceptable range.  FSU graduates two players after the 2010 season and assuming maximum attrition of 1, the 'Noles look to be in good shape as long as they bring in 4-6 linebackers in the next recruiting cycle.

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