Getting to the quarterback remains imperative to defensive success against the pass, and sometimes teams need to dip into the transfer portal to find a good pass rusher.
From productive players to those with incredible potential, this year’s group of defensive ends provides plenty of talent.
Top Transfer Portal Defensive Ends
Princely Umanmielen, Florida
Given that his brother plays for Nebraska, there’s a lot of chatter about Princely Umanmielen wearing red and white in 2024. After putting together a career year in 2023 with 11.5 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks, Umanmielen looks to take his 6’4″ and 260-pound frame to a new school and get on the field with his brother at the same time.
Trey Moore, UTSA
All Trey Moore does is make plays. After a breakout season in 2022, he took his game to another level this year. He’s an explosive player on the edge who yields great power in his 6’2″ frame, and his new school’s getting an instant impact player.
His production stands out the most. With 105 tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss, and 22.0 sacks, Moore’s a proven playmaker who beats teams even when they send help his way. It’s expected that he’ll stay in the state of Texas, and he’ll be a great addition to the school that gets him to commit.
R.J. Oben, Duke
Mike Elko’s departure all but guaranteed that players would hit the transfer portal after him. With his former head coach at Texas A&M, R.J. Oben could be on his way to College Station to join him, but he has options.
Florida State needs to replace Jared Verse after this year, so they’ve been heavy in the mix as well. Oben’s a problem on the edge, that the Seminoles would love replacing Verse with another version of him.
Mikail Kamara, James Madison
With Curt Cignetti departing, it was only a matter of time before we saw certain players hit the transfer portal. James Madison’s defense was a nightmare to block this year, and it was due to a combination of returners and new faces stepping up.
Mikail Kamara took on a more prominent role this year, and that increased when Jalen Green went down with an injury. He posted 18.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, making him one of the best defensive end options in the portal.
Fadil Diggs, Texas A&M
If you need a boost to your defensive line, you could essentially replace that entire unit with Texas A&M transfers. Fadil Diggs comes in at 6’5″ and 260 pounds, and his explosiveness helped him produce 11.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks this year.
He’ll have plenty of suitors for his services in 2024, and that new team getting a disruptive player on the edge. It also appears that his best ball is still ahead of him, making him an intriguing player.
Kyle Kennard, Georgia Tech
Kennard was already a solid player for Georgia Tech coming into the 2023 season, but he took his game to another level this year. At 6’5″ and 240 pounds, he learned how to use his hands better this year and create better opportunities for himself.
He produced 11.0 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks, and the thought is that he could be even better with a new school. Power Five programs should line up to get him, and it will be exciting to see how he plays in a new system.
Samuel Okunlola, Pitt
Teams looking for a player with a huge upside will covet Samuel Okunlola. He brings a 6’4″ and 245-pound frame with him, and he’s still developing into what will be a monster on the edge.
He put up solid numbers for Pitt’s defense as a freshman with 6.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks, and his multiple years of eligibility add to the intrigue. Put him on a winner with more talent, and Okunlola could become a regular on all-conference teams in the future.
Obi Ezeigbo, Gannon
If you haven’t heard of Gannon University, then you will if Obi Ezeigbo chooses your school. A multi-year productive player, he put up career numbers this past season and hit the transfer portal to get into the FBS level.
He has 25 tackles for loss and 14 sacks for his career, and he’s ready to prove that he can handle a bigger challenge. At 6’3″ and 252 pounds, he has the size to compete, and it will be interesting to see where he ends up.
Kenard Snyder, UL-Monroe
The Warhawks had a largely forgettable season and saw their coach get fired, but there were a few bright spots. Kenard Snyder happened to be one of them, and he used a career season to punch a ticket out of Monroe.
With 24.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in his two seasons with the Warhawks, Snyder’s hoping it’s enough to get him on a better team. At 6’1″, his size may be a concern, but his motor should speak volumes about his ability.
LT Overton, Texas A&M
Jimbo Fisher’s firing caused a mass exodus on both sides of the ball for Texas A&M. The defensive line took a huge hit, and LT Overton is one of those players looking for a new home. He still has plenty of upside despite limited production, so he’ll have plenty of options in the transfer portal.