On Monday, the NCAA transfer portal officially opened for the first 45-day window, which will run through January before another window opens up following spring practice.
It was a big day around college football, and ahead of the festivities, Brian Kelly addressed his team’s portal strategy this offseason. Last year’s offseason featured a transfer-heavy haul as Kelly looked to quickly turn the roster around.
He took more portal players than high school recruits last cycle, but you can expect a different approach this time around. On Sunday, Kelly discussed the way the Tigers hope to use the portal.
Per On3’s Shea Dixon:
“They have got to be the right fit first,” Kelly said on Sunday. “They have to recognize the value of an education from LSU. They have to have the right traits. We are not just open for business. We’re not just putting a sign up saying, hey, we are going to take whoever. They have to be the right fit. I prefer that they are from the State of Louisiana if we can find them. And then we are going to address needs based upon how that freshman class marries into it by the particular needs by position class.
“So we are not going to overload a particular position group. In other words, if we have got three or four wide receivers that are freshmen coming in, you may not see a heavy influence in the portal in that position.”
Finding Louisiana natives in the portal was certainly an emphasis for Kelly the first time around, and he landed players like Mekhi Garner, Joe Foucha, Greg Brooks Jr., Noah Cain and others. It seems he will look to do the same this offseason.
Even with the portal allowing this team to plug some holes, Kelly said he still wants the program’s focus to be on development.
“We are going to develop based upon our freshman class, too” Kelly said. “So we are doing this at the same time, and also allowing our program to be younger, too. We want to bring both of these along. We don’t always want to be a turn-it-over program where we are bringing in transfers and turning the program over.
“So we need to grow and you’ve got to do that by recruiting freshmen and giving them the opportunity to step on the field and develop. And you can’t do that if you keep bringing in freshmen at one position and then bringing a portal guy who has got one year and putting it in front of him.”
The portal was a major reason behind LSU’s rapid turnaround under Kelly in 2022, in which the team upset Alabama in Year 1 and captured an SEC West title. Kelly will look to make similarly impactful moves ahead of his second season.
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