Competitor transfer portal – SEC. Ten transfers that will have the biggest impact in 2023


The December and January transfer window officially closed last week, and while there will still be plenty of commitment moves in the coming days, most programs have settled on the majority of their offseason transfer additions heading into the spring semester.

In this feature, Rivals.com looks at the 10 transfers that will have the biggest impact on the 2023 season for SEC teams.

MORE IN THIS SERIES. The Big Ten |: ACC:

*****

TRANCE REPORTS. The Big Ten |: ACC: |: SEC: |: Big 12 |: Pac-12:

Class of 2023 Rankings. Competitors 250 |: team |: position |: State:

2024 CREDIT PERSONAL: Competitors 250 |: team |: position |: State:

TRANSFER PORTAL: Stories/Commentary |: Announcements Wallpaper

*****

1. QB Devin Leary — Kentucky

Devin Leary.  Photo:  Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Devin Leary. Photo: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky loses top-five draft pick Will Lewis, but will replace him with the best quarterback on the market. Devin Leary burst onto the scene in 2021 passing for 3,433 yards and 35 touchdowns with just five interceptions for NC State. His redshirt junior season was cut short last year after he tore his pectoral on Oct. 8 against Florida State, but he is expected to be cleared in time to participate in spring practice with the Wildcats.

Leary’s stylistic skill set should be a good fit for offensive coordinator Liam Cohen, who returned to Kentucky last year after spending one season with the Los Angeles Rams. The Wildcats return their top five from last season, giving Leary plenty of weapons to work with.

*****

2. WR Dominic Lovett — Georgia

Dominic Lovett.  The photo.  Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Dominic Lovett. The photo. Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Bowers returns as a star tight end, but Georgia will need to overhaul its offense if it wants to win another title this year. Dominic Lovett is coming off a breakout season in which he led Missouri with 56 receptions for 846 yards while scoring three touchdowns. He could see those numbers go up this year as defenses focus on Bowers.

*****

3. WR Dont’e Thornton — Tennessee

Dont'e Thornton.  Photo:  Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK
Dont’e Thornton. Photo: Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK

Could Dont’e Thornton to be the next receiver to take advantage of Josh Heupel’s offense at Tennessee. The Volunteers are losing stars Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman to the NFL and need to find a new top target for the upcoming season. While Thornton posted modest numbers during his two years at Oregon, the former Rivals100 receiver showed promise late last season, tallying four catches for 151 yards in the Ducks’ 20-17 win over Utah. The 6-foot-5, 199-pound playmaker has plenty of speed to go with his tall frame. Look for Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III to throw some deep balls his way this fall.

*****

4. CB Tony Grimes — Texas A&M

Tony Grimes.  Photo:  Rich Story-USA TODAY Sports
Tony Grimes. Photo: Rich Story-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M was in dire need of defensive backs after its secondary was decimated by the transfer portal this offseason. After starting 28 games for North Carolina over the past three years, Tony Grimes should step in and immediately fill a first-team role for the Aggies. Grimes, a former five-star recruit, totaled 16 pass deflections over the past two seasons. The 6-foot, 195-pound linebacker can play either outside cornerback or outfield.

*****

5. CB Denver Harris — LSU

Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Denver Harris (2) tackles Sam Houston State Bearcats wide receiver If Adey (2) in the first quarter at Kyle Field.  Photo:  Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Denver Harris (2) tackles Sam Houston State Bearcats wide receiver If Adey (2) in the first quarter at Kyle Field. Photo: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

After playing in just five games last season with Texas A&M due to suspension, Denver Harris is set to take over a starting role at LSU. The former five-star recruit brings elite athleticism to the cornerback position and should be able to make it big playing behind the Tigers’ dangerous group of pass rushers.

*****

6. QB Graham Mertz — Florida

Graham Wertz.  Photo:  Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
Graham Wertz. Photo: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Florida was in desperate need of a quarterback after Anthony Richardson left for the NFL, Jalen Kitna was decommitted and Jaden Rashada decommitted due to NIL issues. After starting the past three seasons at Wisconsin, Graham Mertz will now fill the Gators’ void behind center.

Mertz, the No. 2 linebacker in the 2019 class, didn’t quite live up to his lofty projections, throwing for 5,332 yards and 38 touchdowns with 26 interceptions in 32 starts for the Badgers. However, Florida’s fresh start could see him improve his production this season.

*****

7. L.B. Monty Montgomery — Ole Miss

Monty Montgomery.  Photo:  Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Monty Montgomery. Photo: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Monty Montgomery must immediately answer Ole Miss’ needs in the middle of its defense. Last season, the Louisville transfer recorded 11 tackles for loss and six sacks while collecting five defensive hurries and forcing four fumbles. First-year Ole Miss defensive coordinator Pete Golding found instant success with Henry ToToo after the linebacker transferred from Tennessee to Alabama two seasons ago. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Montgomery catch just as quickly for the Rebels.

*****

8. DL Justin Rogers — Auburn

Kentucky's Justin Rogers will tackle South Carolina.  Photo:  Scott Utterback / Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
Kentucky’s Justin Rogers will tackle South Carolina. Photo: Scott Utterback / Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Hugh Freeze hit the transfer portal hard after taking over for Auburn this offseason. Meanwhile Justin Rogers Seemingly the flashiest addition, the five-star nose tackle should play a huge role in reinvigorating the Tigers’ defense. The 6-foot-3, 332-pound defensive tackle won’t fill the stat sheet, but he’ll do a great job clogging running lanes.

*****

9. WR Aaron Anderson—LSU

Aaron Anderson.  Photo:  Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Anderson. Photo: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Even though LSU returns four of its top five receivers this year, it’s very hard to pass up Aaron Anderson off this list. The five-star receiver ranks No. 2 overall Competitors transfer traces and should be a big part of the Tigers offense going forward. Anderson suffered a knee injury last offseason and played in just one game for Alabama last season. Now fully healthy, the New Orleans native offers elite speed and mobility as both a receiver and in the return game.

*****

10. TE CJ Dippre — Alabama

CJ Dippre (18).  Photo:  Maryland Athletics
CJ Dippre (18). Photo: Maryland Athletics

Alabama hasn’t been very active in this foreign transfer portal, but it has added an important piece to its offense at the end. CJ Dippre. The Maryland transfer had 30 receptions for 314 yards and three touchdowns last season. He could see more production at Alabama, given that the Crimson Tide may lean more on the tight end position as it looks to break in a new quarterback this offseason.

Leave a Comment