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Tennessee isn’t the only SEC school with transfer portal woes

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Tennessee isn’t the only team in the SEC dealing with transfer portal issues. However, if the Vols expect to achieve the same heights of their championship-worthy conference rivals, Tennessee coach Josh Heupel has some work to do to solidify his roster.

Tennessee has 12 players in the transfer portal. Of course, each player has varying reasons why they’re flirting with the notion of leaving Knoxville, but that amount of players certainly isn’t on par with Alabama, who has just four players in the transfer portal as it prepares to play in the College Football Playoff. Perhaps the Crimson Tide has some players that want to enjoy the playoff ride and are planning on transferring in the future, but Bama’s roster seems pretty intact for now.

Georgia has a whopping 15 players in the transfer portal. However, it’s worth noting that six players are flirting with – or have committed to – lower-level schools. With the exception of quarterback Brock Vandagriff, who is expected to enroll at Kentucky, the Bulldogs aren’t losing a group of players that are going to put Georgia’s championship dreams on hold. The Bulldogs, in fact, are making things much tougher on their SEC brethren, such as Florida.

The Gators have had 16 players enter the transfer portal. Most notably, running back Trevor Etienne is expected to enroll at Georgia during the offseason. Florida also has a handful of players that will likely have the option to at least make “lateral” moves to schools that would be considered the same ilk as Florida, such as Ole Miss, Oklahoma and Miami.

Per On3, Kentucky is the highest-rated SEC school in the 2024 transfer portal at No 2 with four incoming transfers and 13 potentially outgoing transfers. As for other SEC schools, Ole Miss is ranked No. 5., South Carolina is No. 8 and Missouri is No. 9. Those are the only SEC schools in the top 10. As for Tennessee, they’re not currently ranked among the top 70 college football programs in the nation by On3 because the Vols haven’t received a commitment from a transfer just yet. Alabama and Georgia are ranked ranked 36th and 67th, respectively.

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One would think that taking in a haul of good transfer portal players would result in a successful season the following year. Well, that’s not necessarily the case. Colorado was the highest ranked team in last year’s cycle and the Buffs finished 4-8. As for the SEC, that’s somewhat of a mixed bag.

Auburn finished No. 1 in the SEC in the transfer portal during the last cycle, but only finished 6-6. Ole Miss finished second in the SEC in the transfer portal and finished 10-2. Looking for those championship contenders? Georgia and Alabama finished 12th and 13th in the transfer portal, respectively, last season. That would lead one to believe that the transfer portal isn’t a surefire path to a championship. For the record, Tennessee finished seventh in the SEC in the transfer portal last season and went 8-4 during the regular season.

With a dozen players in the transfer portal, Tennessee isn’t the only team facing a drastic roster turnover. Arkansas and Vanderbilt lead the league with 17 players entering the transfer portal. South Carolina and Florida are tied for second with 16 players entering the transfer portal, followed by Georgia and Texas A&M, who each have 15 players in the portal.

So what does all this mean for the Vols? Well, Tennessee is somewhere in between the championship contenders and the programs that are stumbling through the transfer portal like a drunk in an obstacle course. The Vols aren’t excelling, but there is still plenty of time to land some top-flight prospects. The transfer portal doesn’t close until Jan. 2. However, if the portal closed today without any positive news for Tennessee, it wouldn’t have much to brag about and serious questions would have to be answered. 

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