The Tigers have added 10 players during the first portal window, which closed to players entering on Wednesday. Last season, they brought in 16 players, as coach Brian Kelly took over a roster that only had 39 scholarship players.
The concentration for LSU in the portal since the season ended has been on defense. Alabama wide receiver Aaron Anderson has been the only non-defensive player the Tigers added in this cycle, instead loading up at cornerback and on the defensive line.
LSU has brought in four cornerbacks (Zy Alexander, JK Johnson, Darian Chestnut and Denver Harris), three defensive tackles (Paris Shand, Jordan Jefferson and Jalen Lee) and two Jack defensive ends (Ovie Oghoufo and Bradyn Swinson). And the Tigers may not be done with adding more pieces to their defense.
Here’s our ranking of LSU’s additions from the transfer portal so far.
10. Bradyn Swinson, DE/OLB
Swinson adds much-needed depth to LSU’s Jack position. But the Oregon transfer had a limited impact in Eugene, only recording 21 quarterback pressures in three seasons, per Pro Football Focus. With freshmen Da’Shawn Womack and Jaxon Howard and Oghoufo in the fold, getting on the field consistently could be difficult for Swinson.
9. Zy Alexander, CB
Alexander is a wild card. He was a star at Southeastern, earning FCS All-America honors and recording three interceptions and four pass breakups in 2022. But he’s also an unproven commodity in the FBS, let alone in the SEC. And playing time could be an uphill battle given how many cornerbacks LSU has added.
8. Jalen Lee, DT
Lee adds more depth to LSU’s interior defensive line and has two years of eligibility. However, the odds of him starting – with Maason Smith and Mekhi Wingo returning – are almost zero (barring injury) and he wasn’t as productive as Jefferson or Shand, only garnering four total tackles for Florida.
7. Jordan Jefferson, DT
Like Lee, Jefferson brings extra depth to LSU’s interior defensive line. He was a key contributor at West Virginia, recording 18 total tackles and 12 quarterback pressures. The problem is, like Lee, the chances of him becoming more than a role player are low and he only has one year of eligibility remaining.
6. Paris Shand, DT
Among LSU’s additions at defensive tackle, Shand probably has the highest ceiling. 247Sports values him as a four-star transfer despite being a three-star recruit out of high school. At Arizona, he played in a career-high 354 snaps and had 11 quarterback pressures in 2022.
5. JK Johnson, CB
Johnson, a former top-50 national recruit, started five games for Ohio State in 2022 and is very familiar with LSU cornerbacks coach Robert Steeples – his former high school coach. But even after LSU’s shakeup at cornerback, there’s a decent chance that he won’t be starting in 2023.
4. Aaron Anderson, WR
Anderson has a high ceiling as the top recruit from Louisiana’s 2022 class and should fill an immediate need as a punt/kick returner. With that said, consistent snaps and targets on offense could be difficult for the Alabama transfer given how deep LSU’s wide receiver room is.
3. Ovie Oghoufo, DE/OLB
Oghoufo is likely the leading candidate to start as LSU’s Jack defensive end. He played under Kelly for three years at Notre Dame and had a career year in 2022 at Texas, posting 36 quarterback pressures. The only problem is he has just one year of eligibility remaining.
2. Darian Chestnut, CB
A Freshman All-American in 2021, there’s a good chance that Chestnut starts for LSU after spending the last two seasons at Syracuse. Chestnut has two years of eligibility and followed up his breakout freshman campaign with a solid sophomore year.
1. Denver Harris, CB
Picking between Chestnut and Harris was difficult, given Chestnut’s pedigree and some of Harris’ off-the-field issues. But Harris was a five-star recruit in the 2022 recruiting class and has an extra year of eligibility over Chestnut. And when Harris wasn’t suspended, he was a productive freshman starter for Texas A&M.