Which transfers are Auburn football interested in? A breakdown of who's been offered

AUBURN — The transfer portal is jumping, offers are flying and teams across the country are scrambling in an effort to retain and acquire talent.

It's a hectic time of the year for coaches, who have to balance bowl preparation and roster management. It's no different for Auburn football's Hugh Freeze, as the Tigers will be playing against Maryland in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 (1 p.m. CT, ABC).

Freeze and his staff have been tweaking Auburn's roster, too. Seven Tigers have entered the portal, and there's been 13 publicly known offers sent out to transfers as of Thursday morning. Here's a breakdown of who's announced offers from the Tigers, and a ranking of who could make the biggest impacts if they were to commit to Auburn.

ROSTER MANAGEMENT: Auburn football's 5 biggest transfer portal needs

QUARTERBACK: Why Auburn football should — and maybe shouldn't — add a notable QB from transfer portal

1. DL Derrick Harmon (Michigan State)

If standout defensive lineman Marcus Harris heads to the NFL, the Tigers will need to replace him with an impact player. Cue Derrick Harmon, who appeared in 24 games over three seasons at Michigan State. Harmon logged 21 run stops and 18 quarterback hurries in 2023, and his 80.5 run defense grade from Pro Football Focus ranked No. 45 in the country. Only five SEC defensive linemen were better in that metric.

Eligibility remaining: Two seasons

2. CB Will Lee III (Kansas State)

Landing Kansas State transfer cornerback Will Lee III will be no easy task, as the former junior college recruit has a star-studded offer list from the likes of Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, USC and Washington, among others. Lee, nicknamed the blanket, is a CB with good size who could help Auburn survive the losses of DJ James and Nehemiah Pritchett; both DBs are out of eligibility and heading to the next level.

Note: Lee posted on X, formerly Twitter, and explained that he's focusing on three schools: Louisville, Texas A&M and Washington.

Eligibility remaining: Two seasons

3. DB Akili Arnold (Oregon State)

It's known James and Pritchett won't be on the team next season. But what about at safety? Jaylin Simpson recently accepted his Senior Bowl invite, and Zion Puckett has a chance to leave for the NFL if he wants to take his chances. If one or both move on, it'd be valuable to add a versatile DB like Akili Arnold, who played significant snaps at free safety (289), slot corner (181) and in the box (175) in 2023. Arnold's PFF coverage grade of 85.7 ranks No. 21 amongst safeties.

4. LB Chris Paul Jr. (Arkansas)

The Tigers had a true two-deep rotation of four linebackers in 2023: Eugene Asante (464 snaps), Larry Nixon III (423), Cam Riley (286) and Austin Keys (259). Asante has a decision to make regarding the NFL, but Auburn is losing a key piece regardless in Nixon, who is out of eligibility. Chris Paul Jr. was one of 203 LBs to play at least 500 snaps in 2023. His missed tackle rate of 8.2% ranked No. 28 amongst those players.

Eligibility remaining: Two seasons

5. WR Will Sheppard (Vanderbilt)

One of the most experienced receivers in the nation, Will Sheppard hit the portal Sunday after spending five seasons at Vanderbilt. The 6-foot-3, 198-pound Sheppard was one of 25 WRs to be given at least 20 contested-catch opportunities in 2023. His addition, coupled with the two five-star receivers Auburn has committed, would give the Tigers some serious size and talent on the outside.

Eligibility remaining: One season

6. CB Ethan Robinson (Bucknell)

Another option to help supplement the departures of James and Pritchett, Bucknell transfer Ethan Robinson earned a coverage of 86.6 from PFF, which ranked 36th in FCS in 2023. He's also a willing tackler — his 51 tackles were tied for No. 3 amongst FSC corners.

Eligibility remaining: Two seasons

7. OG Easton Kilty (North Dakota)

Auburn's starting offensive guards in 2023 — Western Kentucky transfer Gunner Britton and sixth-year senior Kam Stutts — are both out of eligibility. The Tigers have some depth pieces like Jeremiah Wright, Tate Johnson and Jaden Muskrat who could step up, but adding someone like Easton Kilty would help. Kilty allowed six pressures as North Dakota's starting right guard this season.

Eligibility remaining: One season

8. OT Fernando Carmona Jr. (San Jose State)

Dillon Wade and Izavion Miller were the starting left and right tackles for the Tigers in 2023, respectively. Wade may move on to the NFL, but even if he returns, competition never hurts. Fernando Carmona Jr. hit the portal Monday following three seasons at San Jose State. Carmona's 83.1 pass blocking grade from PFF was tied for No. 30 nationally this season.

Eligibility remaining: Two seasons

9. OG Gerquan Scott (Southern Miss)

Gerquan Scott, who entered the portal Nov. 27 as a graduate, has been the starting left guard at Southern Miss for three straight seasons. He also got 105 snaps at center this season, per PFF. He allowed 15 pressures on 401 passing snaps in 2023.

Eligibility remaining: One season

10. WR Zavion Thomas (Mississippi State)

A former four-star recruit in the Class of 2022, former Mississippi State receiver Zavion Thomas caught 40 passes for 503 yards in 2023. His spot on this list has more to do with the fact that Auburn already has WRs of a similar frame — Thomas is listed at 5-11 — though 80.7% of his snaps in 2023 came split out wide. Perhaps he could be an inside-out guy, similar to the role played by Ja'Varrius Johnson.

Eligibility remaining: Two seasons

11. WR Robert Lewis (Georgia State)

Transfer receiver Robert Lewis entered 2023 with 32 career catches in three seasons at Georgia State, but exploded for 70 receptions for 877 yards and seven touchdowns this season. He's like Thomas in the sense that they're the same height, and the majority of their reps in 2023 came near the boundary.

Eligibility remaining: One season

12. DL Nate Clifton (Vanderbilt)

Vanderbilt transfer Nate Clifton had a breakout season in 2023, totaling 30 tackles and 5.5 sacks in his fifth campaign with the Commodores. Clifton, who was also a team captain, doesn't have the PFF grades that someone like Harmon has, but he has experience and proved to be a capable player this season.

Eligibility remaining: One season

13. OL Alan Herron (Shorter)

Unranked by the 247Sports Composite in the Class of 2023, offensive lineman Alan Herron committed to Shorter University over Fort Valley State and Fayetteville State, among others. He spent two seasons with the Hawks and has announced offers from Clemson, Central Florida, Louisville, Miami, Penn State and South Florida, among others, since he entered the portal.

Eligibility remaining: Two seasons

Richard Silva is the Auburn athletics beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. He can be reached via email at or on Twitter @rich_silva18.

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Auburn football transfer portal offers given out so far