Florida State 2022 Position Preview: Linebackers

Photo courtesy of Florida State athletics

Throughout its history, Florida State has been notorious for producing quality collegiate linebackers such as Derrick Brooks, Paul McGowan, Sam Cowart, Ernie Sims, Marvin Jones, Lawrence Timmons, Nigel Bradham, Terrance Smith… The list goes on and on.

In recent years, the position has not been one of strength for the Seminoles. With every major contributor coming back and a major addition via the transfer portal, however, 2022 could be different.

Our position previews series continues with the FSU linebackers:

Linebackers on the Roster:

Kalen DeLoach, RS Jr.

Tatum Bethune, RS Jr.

Brendan Gant, RS Jr.

Amari Gainer, RS Jr.

Stephen Dix Jr., RS Soph.

DJ Lundy, RS Soph.

Chase Oliver, RS Soph. (walk-on)

Emile Aime, RS Fr. (walk-on)

Omar Graham Jr., Fr.

Jorden McCaslin, Fr. (walk-on)

AJ Cottrill, Fr. (walk-on)


One of the bright spots and perhaps a surprise at the linebacker position last season was first-time starter Kalen DeLoach. DeLoach emerged onto the scene, tied for third on the team in total tackles (69) and became FSU’s best coverage linebacker. Fellow returning linebackers DJ Lundy (69 total tackles) and Amari Gainer (59 total tackles) were productive as well.

Former linebackers coach Chris Marve left to become the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Virginia Tech. As a result, Florida State decided to hire internally, promoting Randy Shannon.

The internal hire of Shannon instantly paid dividends. FSU was able to add UCF linebacker Tatum Bethune via the transfer portal. Shannon previously coached Bethune at UCF. In 2021, the South Florida native finished with 108 total tackles for the Knights.

Linebacker play has been wildly inconsistent in Tallahassee for the last several years. This could be the best it has been since at least 2015.