USC hosts Derrick Harmon, the top defensive tackle in the transfer portal

USC came into the offseason with the goal to create a physical defense. That transformation starts up front. It was a given that new defensive line coach Eric Henderson would attract talent in the spring transfer portal that would shore up the Trojans’ defensive line. However, the Trojans have gone in the wrong direction, losing two of the four defensive line players north of 300 pounds on the roster.

On Thursday, multiple online sources announced that 6-foot-2, 305-pound redshirt freshman Deijon Laffitte had entered the transfer portal. Laffitte was considered a project and was not expected to play a significant role on the defensive line in 2024, but after Isaiah Raikes entered the transfer portal two weeks ago and recently signed with Auburn, USC needed to add — not lose — depth.

In a move reminiscent of Bear Alexander’s brief flirtation with the transfer portal, 6-foot-4 nose tackle Christen Miller from Georgia created a stir when he toyed with the idea. However, a day later, Miller put the speculation to rest by reaffirming his commitment to the Bulldogs.

Trojans need two to three big interior linemen in the portal with the loss of Raikes and Laffitte. The Trojans have pivoted to Derrick Harmon. He is a 6-foot-5, 320-pound defensive lineman from Michigan State who entered the transfer portal at the end of last season, but eventually withdrew his name and returned to the Spartans. Harmon is currently on an official visit to USC. The Trojans hope that Henderson can sell the development that has been so successful with high school defensive line recruits.

The spring portal window closes on Tuesday, April 30, so if USC wants to make a splash on defense in 2024, it needs to close the sale on at least two impactful 300-pound interior defensive linemen. If not, the Trojans run the risk of having Bear Alexander double- and triple-teamed all season and being bullied at the point of attack by huge offensive lines in the Big Ten.

Visit our friends at Fighting Irish Wire, Buffaloes Wire, and Ducks Wire. Follow our newest sites, UW Huskies Wire and UCLA Wire.

Check out more NFL draft coverage with the USA TODAY Sports NFL Draft Hub.

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire