Alabama and Georgia among SEC powers scoring in transfer portal – WGAU
HOOVER, Alabama – (AP) – Southeastern Conference leaders Alabama and Georgia upped their depth and talent, adding key players when the transfer floodgates opened wide.
Alabama landed inside linebacker Henry To’o To’o from Tennessee and former Ohio State wide receiver Jameson Williams. Georgia’s bounty included former LSU tight end Arik Gilbert and the help of a much needed defensive back.
The two division leaders were hardly the only SEC teams to land key pieces during the offseason with intra-conference transfers now authorized to play immediately. Transfers were a hot topic on SEC media days this week.
Defending SEC East champions Florida added Daquan Newkirk (Auburn) and Antonio Shelton (Penn State) to the defensive front. Former five-star prospect Demarkcus Bowman has arrived from Clemson.
The impact was not at all good. Tennessee and LSU took hits.
Alabama and Georgia were considered national championship contenders before the portal opened. They just added more talent to the already loaded teams.
To’o To’o, a two-year starter and defensive leader of the Volunteers, joins a group of linebackers who were already among the best in the country. He was one of the deserters after the Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt fired for cause when an internal investigation revealed NCAA violations.
Alleged SEC East favorite Georgia also landed the transfer jackpot.
The Bulldogs seemed to fill a need with two defensive transfers – Derion Kendrick (Clemson) and Tykee Smith (West Virginia). But the big name was Gilbert, a former five-star prospect who caught 35 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns as an LSU rookie.
“I think he’s going to be an All-Pro tight end, All-American has a chance to be a first-round pick,” said Ed Orgeron, LSU coach.
Georgia quarterback JT Daniels said on Tuesday he had been asked about Gilbert more than anyone.
“I keep saying the same things: there are players who are very talented and love football and then there are guys like Arik who are very talented and love football,” Daniels said. .
The Bulldogs lost six players in high school, including a few transfers. They filled part of the void through the transfer portal. Smith has started 17 games in the past two seasons in West Virginia and was an AP All-America third team in 2020.
Kendrick was an All-ACC first-team pick for Clemson last season.
“We’re in deficit just because of the number of scholarships, not to mention the experience,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “These two guys bring an immense amount of experience.”
Auburn landed former LSU starting quarterback TJ Finley, former Georgia wide receiver Demetris Robertson and former West Virginia defensive back Dreshun Miller.
Kentucky tried to bolster a passing game that was lagging behind the rest of the league. Former Nebraska wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson has returned to his home country. The Wildcats have lost some key players, including former starting quarterback Terry Wilson (New Mexico).
“He makes a difference,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said of Robinson. “He’s a guy who was electric this spring and you could feel his presence on the pitch.”
The Wildcats also added Penn State quarterback Will Levis, former Ole linebacker Miss Jacquez Jones and, most recently, LSU offensive lineman Dare Rosenthal.
New Tennessee coach Josh Heupel has inherited a roster in transition. Fullback Eric Gray, defensive back Key Lawrence and left tackle Wanya Morris have all been to Oklahoma. Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, a 32-game starter who lost his job last season, has left for Washington State. The Vols added former Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker and former Michigan passer Joe Milton, among others.
Heupel, who has added eight players since spring training, said the transfer portal was “a double-edged sword” for the Flights.
“By the time I arrived at the end of January, there were a large number of children on the transfer portal,” he said. “At the same time, we’ve been able to add some really good people to our program. “
Daniels, who transferred from USC to Georgia before last season, loves the portal.
“You have a lot of great players on the transfer portal coming up against each other and are great people, I don’t see why you wouldn’t take advantage of that,” Daniels said.
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