Ever since he took the job at LSU, head coach Brian Kelly and his staff have done a great job of building the team through the transfer portal.
Last season, it was absolutely necessary for the program to build around the transfer portal because of the lack of scholarship players that were still left on the team at the end of the 2021 season.
In such a tough position to start, the LSU coaching staff did an incredible job in making sure the Tigers would be competitive in the SEC. In Kelly’s first season, transfers like Jayden Daniels, Joe Foucha, Miles Frazier, Mekhi Wingo, Jarrick Bernard-Converse, Greg Brooks, and Mekhi Garner were big time additions and helped the success of the program.
After a great first season in which the Tigers won ten games and the SEC West, Kelly and the staff are going through the transfer portal again to try and find the same success as last year in the portal.
With the first transfer portal window closing a couple of days ago, it is time to take a look how LSU did in the portal overall.
LSU can still pick up players that are already in the portal by the deadline, but no more players can add their name to the portal until the portal opens back up, which will be on May 1st.
For the second straight year, a lot of recruiting outlets have praised LSU’s efforts in the transfer portal as the Tigers are ranked near the top when it comes to the transfer portal rankings.
Now, let’s take a look at where the Tigers are at right now and how much closer LSU did get in becoming a national championship contender.
CB Darian “Duce” Chestnut – Sophomore – Syracuse
CB JK Johnson – Sophomore – Ohio State
CB Zy Alexander – Junior – Southeastern Louisiana
CB Denver Harris – Sophomore – Texas A&M
WR Aaron Anderson – Redshirt Freshman – Alabama
LB Omar Speights – Senior – Oregon State
DE Ovie Oghoufo – Senior – Texas
EDGE Bradyn Swinson – Junior – Oregon
DL Paris Shand – Junior – Arizona
DT Jalen Lee – Junior – Florida
DT Jordan Jefferson – Senior – West Virginia
Offensively, the Tigers got one addition, but that addition is a electrifying one in Aaron Anderson from Alabama. Anderson gives the Tigers a receiver that can blow over the top of a defense and is a threat to score on any given play. Most importantly, the former Edna Karr wide receiver and one time LSU commit can also give the Tigers a big lift on special teams as a kick returner and punt returner.
Defensively, LSU had its focus on that side of the football mostly on the defensive front and in the back end of the defense.
Up front, there are five defensive linemen that came to bring their talents to LSU. Three of those players are interior players like Paris Shand from Arizona, Jordan Jefferson from West Virginia, and Jalen Lee, who was once a LSU commitment, from Florida. On the edges, Texas transfer Ovie Oghoufo and Oregon transfer Bradyn Swinson would look to replace the production of BJ Ojulari and Ali Gaye.
In the secondary, the Tigers had to address their needs after picking up one year transfer guys at the position last season. Once a concern heading into next year, the secondary is now a position of strength because of what the recruiting staff did via the transfer portal. The four defensive backs that made the decision to transfer to LSU all come in with playing experience. Two of the cornerbacks in Darian “Duce” Chestnut (Syracuse) and Zy Alexander (Southeastern Louisiana) were All-Conference players while JK Johnson (Ohio State) and Denver Harris (Texas A&M) were both highly recruited players coming out of high school. Losing players like Jarrick Bernard-Converse, Jay Ward, and Mekhi Garner does hurt, but kudos goes to the coaching staff for picking up not only one, but four quality shutdown cornerbacks in the secondary.
Perhaps, the Tigers’ biggest get in the transfer portal is linebacker Omar Speights from Oregon State. Speights was a 1st Team All-Pac 12 selection for the Beavers and was one of the top linebackers to come out of the portal. Linebacker was another position of need, but that position has now become pretty top heavy pairing the four year starting Oregon State linebacker with freshman All-American Harold Perkins.
As it always is with the transfer portal, it not only gives, but it takes too and unfortunately, the Tigers lost some key players that were expected to be key contributors this season.
Walker Howard – Quarterback – Transferring to Ole Miss
DeMario Tolan – Linebacker – Transferring to Auburn
Jack Bech – Wide Receiver – Transferring to TCU
Cam Wire – Offensive Lineman – Transferring to Tulane
Kole Taylor – Tight End – Transferring to West Virginia
Marcus Dumervil – Offensive Line – Transferring to Maryland
Xavier Hill – Offensive Line – Transferring to Memphis
Raydarious Jones – Cornerback – Transferring to Mississippi State
Kolbe Fields – Linebacker – Transferring to Louisiana Tech
Derrick Davis Jr. – Safety/Running Back – Transferring to Pittsburgh
Jaelyn Davis-Robinson – Cornerback – Transferring to SMU
Damarius McGhee – Cornerback – Transferring to Kansas
Antoine Sampah – Linebacker – Transferring to Campbell
Philip Webb – EDGE – Transferring to Jackson State
Zavier Carter – Defensive Line – Remains in NCAA Transfer Portal
Desmond Little – EDGE – Remains in NCAA Transfer Portal
Kardell Thomas – Offensive Line – Remains in Portal
Still, LSU has done a great job of addressing their needs in the portal as the roster is continuing to get better and better after each season.
For a second straight season, the Tigers are taking the right steps needed to accomplish their ultimate goal of competing for national championships with another top transfer portal class.