They say good teams can stop the run, and that starts up front. College football’s transfer portal continues to give teams another chance at upgrading their fronts, and this year is no exception. The teams below have already upgraded their talent at defensive tackle, so let’s look at the transfer portal rankings for 2024.
Top Transfer Portal DTs for 2024
10) Walter Nolen, Ole Miss
Lane Kiffin is the king of the transfer portal, and he’s taking it to another level this year. With Jimbo Fisher getting fired at Texas A&M, a mass exodus of players followed. Walter Nolen was added to that list, as he became one of the best players to hit the portal this offseason.
Nolan brings great size to the Rebels’ defense — a group that needed to improve heading into next year. With Ole Miss eyeing the expanded playoff, Kiffin understood what was needed to make that happen.
9) Chidozie Nwankwo, Colorado
If you haven’t watched Houston over the last few years, then you probably don’t know Chidozie Nwankwo’s name. He didn’t get a ton of recognition in recruiting, but his play under defensive line coach Brian Early put him on the map.
Deion Sanders thrives in the portal with his quest to overhaul the Buffaloes’ roster, and Nwankwo helps. He’s undersized for his position, but don’t underestimate the power he brings in that compact frame. Oh, and he’s quicker than people might expect.
8) Joey Slackman, Florida
It’s another year of Ivy League transfers getting lots of attention, and this time, Joey Slackman sits at the top of that list. The 6’4″, 300-pound tackle joined a Florida Gators team that lost some serious talent to the NFL and the transfer portal, so Billy Napier knew he had to find some guys to replace those departures.
Slackman’s size is adequate for competing in the SEC, but his talent should also be fine in this league. He’s a smart player who, at worst, elevates the floor of the Gators’ defensive line.
7) BJ Green, Washington
Arizona State entered the first year of Kenny Dillingham, so it was only a matter of time before some players wanted better. BJ Green produced well for the Sun Devils’ defense, but he needed more talent around him to help.
Washington saw Michigan’s offensive line manhandle their defensive line in the National Championship, so the staff expects Green to help. He’s a bit undersized at 6’1″ and 270 pounds, but his explosive play combats his size disadvantage.
6) Thor Griffith, Louisville
The man’s name is “Thor,” first of all, so bonus points simply for that. Griffith produced 11 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in his final year with Harvard, and he joins a Louisville team looking to retool its defense.
Jeff Brohm got the Cardinals to the ACC Championship Game, and now he’s hoping to keep them in the running for 2024. Griffith brings good size to the line at 6’2″, 320 pounds, so moving him out of the way should prove challenging.
5) T.J. Jackson, West Virginia
If you didn’t watch Troy’s defense the past two years, you missed out on quality defense. The Trojans were a high-flying group, and the loss of HC Jon Sumrall meant it was only a matter of time before guys left the team.
T.J. Jackson is as tough as they come. He’s played through a couple of tough injuries, so there won’t be much holding him back. West Virginia is used to quality play at defensive tackle, and Jackson should continue that.
4) James Carpenter, Indiana
When Curt Cignetti left for Indiana, many expected plenty of talent to follow. The Hoosiers’ new coach understood that he needed impactful players to turn around the program, and he brought a number with him from James Madison.
James Carpenter was a multi-year starter for the Dukes, and he was as disruptive as they come. While the edge players stole the spotlight this year, Carpenter still produced 9.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks for the year. He’ll be an anchor for the Hoosiers’ defense and help begin a promising rebuild.
3) Aeneas Peebles, Virginia Tech
One of the more underrated additions from the transfer portal, Aeneas Peebles joins a Virginia Tech team with high expectations next year. He produced 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in his four years with Duke. His best year came this past season, and he received plenty of attention when he hit the portal.
2) Mike Lockhart, SMU
The former Georgia Tech and West Virginia transfer broke through in 2023 with 9.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, and he returns to the ACC with SMU. The Mustangs’ defense took huge strides last year, and HC Rhett Lashlee wanted to ensure that trend continued in 2024.
1) Xzavier McLeod, Georgia
As if Georgia needed more help, they got one of the better transfer portal players in Xzavier McLeod. At 6’5″ and 280 pounds, he brings a great frame for Georgia to develop, and it will be fun to watch them unleash his talent. He only has a little production from his time at South Carolina, but the talent is there for him to shine.
Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football’s transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!