As soon as Joe Foucha entered the transfer portal last week, schools around the country pursued him. He heard from Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Kansas State, LSU and a handful of other teams as they all tried to add a three-year starter in the Southeastern Conference onto their roster.
Foucha, a New Orleans native, felt like he was in high school again at McDonogh 35. He had coaches sliding into his DMs. He needed to make a decision. Only this time, after spending four years at Arkansas, Foucha had a deeper understanding of the recruiting process and what he was searching for in his next school.
“I knew what I wanted,” Foucha said, “and that was to play for my home state.”
Six days after he entered the transfer portal, Foucha committed to LSU earlier this week. He helped strengthen the secondary, moved closer to his family and became one of the biggest names in a wave of transfers who announced their intention to join the program.
Coach Brian Kelly signaled transfers were coming in an interview during the Texas Bowl, but over the last four days, LSU has now added five transfers — by themselves more than any previous class in school history.
LSU has added a 7th player from the transfer portal with a former UL receiver "> LSU has added a 7th player from the transfer portal with a former UL receiver
Wide receiver Kyren Lacy announced Friday he will transfer to LSU after two seasons at UL.
UL wide receiver Kyren Lacy committed Friday, joining Penn State running back Noah Cain, Arkansas defensive back Greg Brooks Jr., UL cornerback Mekhi Garner and Foucha. The Tigers already added FIU offensive lineman Miles Frazier and East Carolina long snapper Slade Roy last month, giving them seven thus far.
Though Kelly prefers to construct rosters by stacking freshman classes, LSU needed an injection of experienced talent for the 2022 season. The Tigers dwindled well below the 85-person scholarship limit by the end of the year, reaching 38 available scholarship players during the Texas Bowl. Others have since transferred, and though some injured players will return, the coaching staff looked to the transfer portal.
“We’ll be in a transitional build, so we’ll have to use the transfer portal,” Kelly said during the ESPN broadcast. “Moving forward, we want to build through freshman players that you bring in and develop. But we will have to use the transfer portal, and that makes it a little easier.”
The approach wasn’t possible before this cycle. In 2017, the NCAA passed a rigid 25-player signing limit, which included transfers and high school seniors. The transfer portal was created a year later. It took off, gaining even more activity once the NCAA passed a rule last April that let players transfer once without sitting out a year.
A fifth LSU wide receiver has entered the transfer portal "> A fifth LSU wide receiver has entered the transfer portal
LSU junior wide receiver Devonta Lee entered the NCAA transfer portal Friday.
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Athletes had flexibility and more control over their careers, but coaches were still stuck with restrictions that made it difficult to stay near the 85-player scholarship limit. When LSU wanted to add a transfer, such as quarterback Joe Burrow or linebacker Mike Jones Jr., it had to sign fewer high schoolers. The Tigers have added 25 incoming freshmen in a class once since 2016, and when more than a dozen players left after the 2019 national championship, they struggled to maintain the roster.
“We need relief,” former LSU coach Ed Orgeron said last spring on WNXX, 104.5-FM.
In response, the NCAA passed a one-year waiver in October that let programs replace up to seven transfers in addition to the 25-player signing class. Teams could only replace those who entered the portal after either the end of the fall semester or Dec. 15, 2021, whichever date came earlier. The players also had to be academically eligible with their next school.
Once Kelly replaced Orgeron, he inherited a roster talented in certain areas but in need of depth and development. LSU signed 13 players during the early signing period last month, leaving 12 spots for either incoming freshmen or transfers — plus the seven extra slots — as it tries to reach the scholarship limit.
Ten LSU players have entered the transfer portal.
So far, the new staff has signaled it will rely heavily on the portal this year. Frazier gave LSU a freshman All-American at a position of need. Foucha, Garner and Brooks injected depth back into a depleted secondary. Lacy and Cain provided more weapons on offense. Roy, who has a full scholarship, could start at long snapper.
The coaching staff has also pulled on Louisiana connections. Foucha and Brooks are from the New Orleans area. Cain grew up in Baton Rouge. Lacy is from Thibodaux. Even Garner, a native of Mesquite, Texas, spent the last three years in the state.
With Greg Brooks, a second former Arkansas defensive back transfers to LSU "> With Greg Brooks, a second former Arkansas defensive back transfers to LSU
LSU added more experienced depth to its secondary with the commitment of Arkansas cornerback Greg Brooks Jr., the third transfer defensive back to join the team this week.
“I've been away from home for a while,” said Foucha, who has one year of eligibility. “It was about being able to be closer to my family and playing for my home state, doing it one last time.”
While LSU has now added seven transfers, it may use the available spots to sign more. Missouri defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo, who played for new cornerbacks coach Robert Steeples in high school, recently visited campus. LSU has also offered Virginia linebacker West Weeks and UL junior offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence, among others.
“We keep that trend going,” Foucha said, “and I feel like we can get a lot more guys that are in the portal with experience who are going to help the team right away.”
Source : https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/sports/lsu/article_e741b752-7596-11ec-bcfd-6b24980074c7.html3976