Through the first five games of the season, it's clear that one area Florida State needs an influx of talent is at linebacker. There are still too many inconsistencies with the unit in pass coverage, filling the right gaps, and tackling angles. While the Seminoles currently have three-star Omar Graham committed, it would be nice to bring in an experienced veteran via the Transfer Portal.
It's already worked once for this coaching staff. The defensive ends were abysmal in 2020 and the staff took notice. They added Jermaine Johnson, Keir Thomas, and Marcus Cushnie through the Transfer Portal over the offseason. Johnson has been the best player on the entire defense while Thomas is making an impact off the edge as well.
On Wednesday, senior UCF linebacker Eriq Gilyard announced his intentions to enter the Transfer Portal. Gilyard is a proven talent at the college level who has ties to senior defensive analyst Randy Shannon.
During his three years in Orlando, Gilyard recorded 197 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, and 1 sack. That includes 23 tackles in four appearances in 2021. All in all, he has made 22 starts in 36 career games.
Interestingly enough, Shannon was amongst the new coaching staff at UCF that helped convince Gilyard to stay committed after former head coach Scott Frost was hired at Nebraska. At the time, Shannon himself had just been brought on to be the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in December 2017, a position he held through the 2020 season.
The Florida native blossomed under Shannon's tutelage as a sophomore, compiling a career-best 77 total tackles, 5 tackles for loss and a pick. He's listed as a senior but Gilyard only played in four games this season, meaning it should count as his redshirt. Add that to the COVID year and it's expected that he'll have two seasons of eligibility remaining at his next stop.
Gilyard will have a ton of schools lining up for his services. It's possible that an in-state school that can offer instant playing time under a familiar coach could be an appealing option.
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