The day after Florida A&M lost one it’s best defensive players to the NFL, the Rattlers are reportedly without another next season.
Isaiah Land, who is the reigning SWAC Defensive Player of the Year and the Buck Buchanan award winner, has entered the transfer portal, according to a report by the recruiting website Rivals.
Land demolished the stat sheet this past season recording 43 total tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss, 19 sacks, three pass breakups, and three forced fumbles.
The junior linebacker led the FCS in total tackles for loss and sacks for a Florida A&M team that ranked 10th in points allowed per game during the year.
In addition to winning the Buck Buchanan Award, Land was also named the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year.
Florida A&M head coach Willie Simmons said he spoke with Land on Sunday and was hopeful he would stay with the program.
“There are a lot of moving parts with the portal,” Simmons told the Tallahassee Democrat. “We as coaches don’t have a hand in it. Right now we are in a fact-finding stage ourselves. Obviously, I would love for him to stay.”
Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders also chimed in on the news of Land’s possible departure.
“I pray this kid comes back and be the difference that HBCU’s need & desire to build a program around and become high draft picks like they desire,” Sanders wrote on Instagram. Run to it not from it.”
Sanders went further in his assessment adding that Land leaving Florida A&M was “flat out wrong.”
“You go in the portal because you don’t think u can go pro from a HBCU? Well a few went yesterday and over 20 went from FCS schools,” Sanders said. “Be the change that we all desire. Don’t run from the challenge. Willie Simmons is a GREAT COACH and does a amazing job with exposing his kids and preparing them. I pray he changes his mind and goes back to Famu because ain’t no sure thang you’re gonna get the reps, exposure & recognition somewhere else. Just because it looks green don’t mean it’s grass.”
FAMU already will be looking to replace Markquese Bell, who signed a free-agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys following the NFL draft.