Updated: Dec 19, 2022
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Since the transfer portal opened its Alien: Resurrection-looking doors on Monday, there has been plenty of movement surrounding departures, returns, and possible arrivals.
We've witnessed Jack Bech, Damarius McGhee, Desmond Little, Kolbe Fields, Kole Taylor, and Raydarious Jones enter the portal, 2019 National Champion veteran Jay Ward and senior transfer Mekhi Garner both declare for the NFL Draft, and most stunning of all, LSU Tigers fans received an early Christmas gift through the return of All-American level WR Kayshon Boutte, coming back for his senior season.
The Bech departure is the one that hurts LSU's offense the most, while Taylor's exit also weakens an already depleted tight end spot;
With Jaray Jenkins' graduation and likely NFL Draft entry, Tiger fans should consider Boutte's decision to return extremely fortunate: if Kayshon had declared as expected, Cortez Hankton's receiving corps would already be down three key pieces within 24 hours of the portal opening.
Defensively, Ward and Garner stood out as strong veteran presences within a young, wafer-thin defensive backfield.
However, we expected Garner to declare after his strong maiden voyage at LSU, (8 PBUs, 48 tackles, 71.2 coverage grade).
Playing in 424 coverage snaps, Garner allowed a team high 416 yards (2 direct touchdowns). Garner surrendered 24 catches (2nd most on team) from a defense-first 54 targets (12 more than any other LSU defender).
The stats don't totally paint a full picture, though his 8 pass break ups and 71.2 coverage grade speak volumes of his durability and fight.
Ward leaves after a senior year that started strong before unfortunately fading late as his effectiveness wained on assignment at nickel, doing a job for the team.
Starting off the campaign as the lead man in comeback wins over Mississippi State and Auburn, including a game changing scoop and score on the road in Jordan-Hare, Ward appeared on pace for an All-American season.
He followed those showstoppers with solid to elite outings vs Ole Miss, Alabama and Arkansas, though I feel Ward would've definitely been best served by another season at LSU after a few coverage mishaps at the backend of 2022.
As far as other Tigers considering the NFL, I'm told BJ Ojulari is having a tougher time with his decision, a move we all expected to be straight for the NFL, though he is under pressure to make his move quickly.
I'm expecting Ojulari to go to the NFL, though he is being recruited heavily and is giving it much thought.
Could he might just be coming back for one more ride??
(12/10 11:43 PM Eastern time) UPDATE: Ojulari has declared for the Draft.
Jaquelin Roy should also come back for another season, his 4th as a Tiger. Enduring injury for much of the year, he is being advised his best course of action is to return for one more season, although he'd still be a high round pick in my eyes.
I'm told Jayden Daniels is being advised to come back for one more season, specifically to polish and work on his passing game, which straight up struggled over 2022.
Scouts were alarmed by his showings at the start and end of 2022, however there is no doubting an alarming interest from scouts and GMs in his breakneck speed in tight situations or his next level poise.
Desmond Little may have put up respectable numbers during limited snaps in his time at LSU, but he was never receiving the reps he was looking for, just 125 in 3 seasons as a Tiger (43 snaps & just 3 appearances in 2022).
Little was undersized at the defensive end spot, and among a rotation featuring Ojulari, Gaye, Jones and others, he was always 4th best on the depth chart, with DT Mekhi Wingo even playing quality reps off the edge.
Who will transfer next?
Who may be transferring to Baton Rouge?
Which Tigers still have NFL decisions to make?
Let's go through the names.
Brian Thomas Jr
Derrick Davis Jr (TRANSFERRED)
Marcus Dumervil (TRANSFERRED)
Jaelyn Davis-Robinson (TRANSFERRED)
Xavier Hill (TRANSFERRED)
Cam Wire (TRANSFERRED)
Mike Jones Jr
TRANSFERS OUT (last Update: 12/16 6:04 pm Eastern)
Derrick Davis Jr
Phillip Webb Kolbe Fields
POTENTIAL TRANSFERS IN
Domenic Lovett (MIZZ)
Denver Harris (A&M)
Josaiah Stewart (Coastal Carolina)
Bradyn Swinson (Oregon)
Aaron Anderson (Alabama) IN
Jo Jo Earle (Alabama)
Jalen Lee (Florida)
NFL DECISIONS LEFT
Mike Jones Jr
I'm leaving these lists a little spare because names will be added in the coming days, and I'll leave it to you to add them in the comments, bring them to our attention, while we continue to post our own updates to the list....hell, you're probably reading this now wondering why I've forgotten a name who you believe is thinking about transferring to or away from LSU and which Tigers still have decisions left to be made.
LET'S BEGIN THE TRANSFER MADNESS.
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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