Isaiah Land
2021 Football

Florida A&M edge Isaiah Land leading FCS in sacks

Isaiah Land came to Florida A&M as an under-sized but high-motor player. He’s now the FCS sack leader and getting pro interest.

Photo Courtesy: Vaughn Wilson

A lot of great players have put on a Florida A&M uniform. But none of them have done what Isaiah Land did last Saturday.

The linebacker from Buffalo, NY had a monster game in the team’s 30-7 win over South Carolina State on Saturday. He had five sacks — a career-high and a program record.

That sack total came on the heels of a three-sack performance against Alabama State the previous week. Land has had at least one sack in each of his last four games, giving him a total of 10 for the season. That’s the mosts in the FCS so far.

Land growing into talent

Not bad for a kid that Florida A&M head coach Willie Simmons said didn’t quite past the “eye test” when he saw him back in 2018. He remembers Land as “scrawny” at about 180 pounds. 

“But when I turned the film on, I saw a guy with a great motor and with, with lot of tenacity,” he said. “And I said to myself, if we can just get this guy to get into college and put some weight on man, and he can be a football player for us.”

Simmons says that Land is now up to 215, but hasn’t sacrificed speed for size. 

“He still has that same motor. He still has that same chip on his shoulders and what a phenomenal football player,” Simmons said. “I mean, he’s a guy that really just embodies what our defense has become. 

“I was going through film myself — just to make sure. There’s no way he had five sacks. I had to look at it myself. And as I’m clicking through, I’m like “holy” —  he’s not even in the game because we got the second-team D-line in. And so the kid had five sacks in limited action, but that just goes to speaks to the amount of talent that he has.”

FAMU HC Willie Simmons

Florida A&M D is deep

The team has embraced the moniker “The Dark Side Defense” according to Simmons. And as great as he is, Land is just one cog in the machine.

“They believe every time they take the field that they’re going to physically impose their will on the competition,” he said. “And I would hate to be a quarterback to look up and see Isaiah Land on one side, Savion Williams on the other side, Donald Hall at one D-Tackle, Gentle Hunt at the other D-Tackle. And then when, when those four go out, you have Deontay Williams and then Kyle Jackson and Stanley Mentor and Richard Summers. And we just keep rolling guys in there.”

With all that depth comes plenty of rotation. So much so that Simmons said he had to check the film to verify that Land’s sack total was legit. 

“I was going through film myself — just to make sure. There’s no way he had five sacks. I had to look at it myself. And as I’m clicking through, I’m like “holy” —  he’s not even in the game because we got the second-team D-line in. And so the kid had five sacks in limited action, but that just goes to speaks to the amount of talent that he has.”

Simmons says that NFL scouts are starting to take notice when they come in for visits. As a redshirt junior, however, he’s still got time to get even better.

“With continued weight gain and growth, he has a chance to fulfill his ultimate dreams of playing football at the next level too,” Simmons said. “But I’m excited to see what type of season he has as teams know who he is now and will start to gameplan for him.” 

Florida A&M edge Isaiah Land leading FCS in sacks
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