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Analysis: LSU’s Lance Heard enters the transfer portal

The transfer portal window is now closed, but LSU took one of its biggest hits at the buzzer this week.

Offensive linemen Lance Heard entered the portal. It was no surprise after Heard didn’t travel for the bowl game as head coach Brian Kelly said Heard was evaluating his role with the program.

The writing was on the wall here.

Out of all the Tigers to hit the portal, Heard is the most talented. There’s no getting around that. He was a five-star recruit in 2023 and according to PFF, he was the top-graded freshman offensive lineman. This is a guy that’s ready to play now.

Where does this leave LSU?

The offensive line will be fine. Will Campbell and Emery Jones are two of the best in the SEC, and there are enough pieces that the interior will work itself out.

But if Heard was on the roster, that would allow LSU to play him at right tackle and bump Jones to guard. The bottom line is with Campbell, Jones and Heard, LSU had three tackles that are capable of playing at an All-SEC level.

That’s something you usually don’t find and an incredible luxury.

Now, LSU doesn’t have that luxury. It’ll be counting on Campbell and Jones to stay healthy, which they’ve done so far, and another young lineman to make a jump.

LSU signed two more blue-chip tackles in the 2023 class, Tyree Adams and DJ Chester. Adams played just three offensive snaps this year and Chester has a bright future, but it’s at the center position.

LSU doesn’t have an immediate answer to solve its depth issue at tackle now. And again, every team in the country has depth issues on the offensive line. That’s what made LSU having Campbell, Jones and Heard so special.

Brad Davis is one of the best offensive line coaches in the business and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he had Adams ready to compete on the two-deep next year. Bo Bordelon and Paul Mubenga were three-star recruits who could pan out too.

Or maybe it’s one of the 2024 signees like Weston Davis or Ethan Calloway, two more blue-chip tackle recruits set to join that room.

Regardless, LSU needs an answer now. Heard was projected as an All-American level player. That’s now one less player of that caliber on LSU’s roster.

It’s on Davis to develop another one of these guys to fill that gap.

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Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire