AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - The transfer portal officially opened up Monday and after four days, eight Auburn Tigers have already announced their intentions to enter.
These players include defensive tackles Stephen Johnson and Enyce Sledge, JACK linebacker Stephen Sings V, safety Marquise Gilbert, tight end Tyler Fromm and wide receivers Omari Kelly, Jyaire Shorter and Malcolm Johnson Jr.
Redshirt freshman Enyce Sledge was the first Auburn player to announce his intention to transfer on Monday, Nov. 27. The defensive tackle was a former 3-star recruit in the 2022 class. Sledge was rated as one of the top 50 overall prospects in the state of Louisiana by On3, 24/7 and ESPN.
The Monroe, Louisiana, native redshirted during the 2022 season and only saw action in two games in 2023 with 11 snaps. He did not record any stats. Sledge has three years of eligibility left.
The 6’2 311-pound defensive tackle has already gotten seven offers. He holds offers from UTSA, Oregon State, Illinois, Old Dominion, Marshall, Coastal Carolina, Tulsa, Memphis and FAU.
The next tiger to announce their intention to transfer was Stephen Johnson. Johnson is a freshman defensive tackle from Fayetteville, Georgia. He did not play or record any stats during his time at Auburn and was a member of the reserve team.
Johnson was a 3-star recruit in the 2023 class. According to On3, he was the No. 150 player in the state of Georgia and the No. 154 defensive lineman. Johnson has four years of eligibility left.
With both Sledge and Johnson intending to leave, Freeze will need to look in the portal to fill the needed depth roles on the defensive line.
The first of three wide receivers to enter the portal was sophomore Omari Kelly. The 6 foot, 178-pound receiver from Trussville, Alabama, announced his departure when the portal opened on Friday, Dec. 1.
Kelly played in every game as a true freshman in 2022, where he recorded three receptions for 56 yards. This season, he had 45 yards on two receptions.
Kelly was a three-star prospect in the 2022 recruiting class and was ranked No. 13 in the state of Alabama by Rivals. According to ESPN, he was in the top 25 nationally in his position. Kelly has two years of eligibility left.
Senior wide receiver Jyaire Shorter also entered his name into the transfer portal. The North Texas transfer only spent one season on the plains and looks to play at his final school as a grad transfer.
Before coming to Auburn, Shorter had 58 receptions for 1,320 yards and 20 touchdowns at North Texas. This season he played in seven games and on four targets had only one reception for 10 yards.
Malcolm Johnson Jr. :
The third wide receiver to announce his intention to transfer was junior Malcolm Johnson Jr. The former four-star recruit has spent the last four seasons with the Tigers. According to 247 Sports, Johnson was ranked as the No. 39 wide receiver in the 2020 recruiting class.
Battling a shoulder injury for most of the season, he had six receptions for 89 yards in 2023. In his time on the plains, Johnson has caught 14 passes for 199 yards and one touchdown.
The Bryans Road, Maryland, native also started up his own podcast with fellow teammate, Donovan Kaufman, titled “Behind the Helmet” during his time at Auburn. He enters the portal with one year of eligibility remaining.
Even though three wide receivers have entered the transfer portal, Auburn will bring in new weapons with the 2024 class. These players include five-stars Cam Coleman and Perry Thompson, as well as four-stars Bryce Cain and Malcolm Simmons. However, Auburn may look in the transfer portal for some depth pieces.
Stephen Sings V:
Back to the defensive side, JACK linebacker Stephen Sings V entered his name into the transfer portal when it opened. The Liberty transfer came to Auburn last season following Hugh Freeze.
At Auburn, he only played in six games and recorded just five tackles. However, at Liberty, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native had 53 tackles and seven sacks across three seasons. He currently has offers from Memphis, Indiana, North Texas, UNCC, UAB, Temple and Cincinnati.
Sings is not the only JACK linebacker departing, with captain Elijah McAllister finishing his last year of eligibility. Therefore, Auburn will look to add more playmakers in the linebacker room. Jalen McLeod and Brenton Williams are on track to return.
On Wednesday, Dec. 8, reserve tight end Tyler Fromm announced he would be entering the portal. Fromm will be looking to play elsewhere as a grad transfer. Fromm was a 4-star recruit out of the 2019 recruiting class.
In his four years on the plains, the Warner Robins, Georgia, native recorded 14 receptions for 165 yards and one touchdown. This touchdown will go down in Auburn history, as it was the touchdown pass from Bo Nix, that led Auburn to beat LSU for the first time in 22 years.
With Luke Deal returning for a sixth year, and Rivaldo Fairweather and Micah Riley-Ducker expected to return for the 2024 season, Fromm’s departure is not a massive loss.
Lastly, safety Marquise Gilbert entered his name into the transfer portal Thursday. He enters as a graduate student after playing at Auburn for two seasons.
Gilbert committed to Auburn in December of 2021 after being ranked as the No. 1 JUCO safety in his class. In his time on the plains, he was used as an important depth piece. Gilbert appeared in seven games for the Tigers and recorded three tackles.
Gilbert is the first defensive back to leave through the portal. However, with Auburn losing starting cornerbacks D.J. James and Nehemiah Pritchett due to eligibility, and the possibility of Jaylin Simpson, Keionte Scott and Zion Puckett not coming back for another season, Freeze will need to look in the portal for secondary pieces.
The transfer portal window is still open and will close on Wednesday, Jan. 3. Players have until then to decide whether they want to transfer or stay at their respective schools.