How FAMU linebacker Isaiah Land can position himself to be selected in the 2023 NFL Draft

As expected, Florida A&M linebacker and edge rusher Isaiah Land has declared for the 2023 NFL Draft.

The former Buck Buchanan Award winner announced his decision on Twitter, officially forgoing his final year of eligibility of college football.

“From an early age, I’ve had dreams of playing in the NFL and I thank God that I have the opportunity to make my dreams a reality,” Land said in his post. “With that being said, I will be declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft.

“Thank you, Rattler Nation.”

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Land, a native of Buffalo, New York, has been one of the subjects of NFL scouts attending FAMU football practices this season.

His best season was in 2021, when he led Division I with 19.5 sacks while gaining national attention and being recognized as the FCS’ Defensive Player of the Year.

Land totaled 23 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and eight sacks in nine games this season while battling a MCL sprain sustained in Week 6 at South Carolina State.

"We went into this season knowing that this would be his last," FAMU coach Willie Simmons, who led his team to a 9-2 record this season, said during his coaches' show.

"It's not a surprise that he's declaring since he's the highest rated HBCU draft player this year and is on a lot of radars.

"To see his growth and maturation over the last five years makes us proud and excited for where he's going to be. We saw Isaiah as an 18-year old kid that needed to grow up and we've sent him off as a better man than when he came in.

"I think he has a chance to have a very bright future at the next level because he has a unique gift to rush the passer and that's something teams pay high dollar for."


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Florida A&M University linebacker Isaiah Land (31) looks on during pregame of Orange Blossom Classic at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Sept. 4, 2022
Florida A&M University linebacker Isaiah Land (31) looks on during pregame of Orange Blossom Classic at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Sept. 4, 2022

The next steps in Isaiah Land’s NFL Draft journey

Land, a 6-foot-4, 225-pounds, has been graded as a sixth round selection by Sports Illustrated.

He officially accepted an East-West Shrine Bowl invitation and also holds a Reese’s Senior Bowl offer.

The Shrine Bowl will take place on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023 at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium.

FAMU will hold its annual Pro Day in the spring which helped former Rattler safety Markquese Bell earn a contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

A quartet of former Rattler players were also drafted in last week’s 2023 XFL Draft.

The 2023 NFL Draft will take place from April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri

Gerald Thomas III covers FAMU athletics for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at or on Twitter @3peatgee.

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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: FAMU football: Defensive Player of Year Isaiah Land enters NFL Draft