Four-star recruit in 2022 class set to leave after one season

LSU linebacker DeMario Tolan entered the NCAA transfer portal Wednesday morning, per 247Sports’ Chris Hummer. Tolan appeared in 12 games in the 2022 season as a true freshman, finishing the year with 10 total tackles. He had four tackles in a blowout win against Ole Miss, which was his single-game high for the year. Tolan initially signed with the Tigers in 2022 out of Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips High School. A four-star prospect and Army All-American out of high school, he ranked as the No. 27 linebacker prospect and the No. 35 players in the state of Florida.

Tolan chose the Tigers over reported offers from 38 other programs, including Auburn, Georgia, Miami, Tennessee and Florida State.

He committed to LSU in July 2021 but took plenty of visits leading up to the Early Signing Period, including official trips to Georgia and Auburn.

“On the smaller side now, but should only get bigger once working with a college strength staff,” his 247Sports evaluation reads. “Likely to eventually carry 225 pounds or more. An athletic linebacker with a highlight tape that pops as he has spent the past two years flying around making stops behind the line of scrimmage. Quick to trigger. Sifts through traffic with confidence and a sense of urgency. The ability to change directions and pounce on a ball carrier is a strength at this stage in his development. Also excels in coverage as his instincts lead to pass break ups and his foot speed allows him to keep up with tight ends and bigger slot receivers.

“Doubled as a running back at different points during his high school career and found some success moving the chains with his competitive nature. Multi-sport athlete who was a district qualifier in the 110-meter hurdles. Son of two veterans. Carries a high GPA and is an honors student. Will needs to get better at finishing off tackles at the next level, but is viewed as one of the top off-ball linebacker prospects in the class of 2022 given how he moves and hits people. Projects as scheme-versatile defender that likely won’t need to leave the field in passing situations.”

The 2022-23 cycle for the NCAA transfer portal is unlike anyone yet seen, with a Dec. 5-Jan. 19 windows for FBS athletes. Eligible players to enter before the window include FCS players, grad transfers, and those whose head coaches were fired.

The NCAA introduced the transfer portal Oct. 15, 2018, providing athletes a path to explore their options. Players do not need to ask permission from their coaching staff in order to transfer. They merely need to request that compliance enter their name. Usually, it takes 24-48 hours for a player to appear following their request. Schools are free to contact a player without restriction once their name appears in the portal.

While a player entering their name in the transfer portal means they intend to explore their options, it does not necessarily mean they will leave. A player is free to withdraw his name at any time. However, schools are under no obligation to keep a player on scholarship once they enter the portal.

There were 3,083 FBS players to enter the transfer portal during the 2021-22 transfer cycle, sources said. That was up from 2,646 in 2021-20, 1,692 in 2019-20 and 1,717 in 2018-19.

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That whopping increase can be credited to the NCAA’s new policy that student-athletes are allowed to transfer once in their careers without having to sit out a year-in-residence. That means all players who enter the transfer portal for the first time will be immediately eligible at their new school as long as they meet an NCAA-mandated entry deadline.

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