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Mekhi Wingo to the NFL Draft, Lance Heard to the Transfer Portal

Bad news and worse news for LSU

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 ReliaQuest Bowl - Wisconsin vs LSU Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Now that LSU’s 2023 season has officially come to an end, roster changes are going to come by either NFL draft declarations or transfers and LSU had both happen Tuesday.

Junior defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo announced he would be foregoing his final year of eligibility and entering the 2024 NFL Draft.

Wingo was about as big a hit out of the transfer portal you could hope for. Wingo was an All-American in 2022, a preseason All-SEC selection heading into the 2023 season, and LSU’s best defensive lineman when he was out there. He was also a team captain and of course wore the coveted No. 18 jersey.

Wingo, unfortunately, missed the second half of this season due to an injury to a core muscle but impressively worked his way back and was able to play in LSU’s ReliaQuest Bowl victory over Wisconsin. In his final game as a Tiger, Wingo had a pair of tackles for loss, and two sacks.

Wingo’s a bit undersized for a defensive tackle, but that hasn’t stopped guys like Aaron Donald, Grady Jarrett, Ed Oliver, or Calijah Kancey from making an impact. Here’s hoping Wingo is the next iteration.

I know the USC game isn’t for another nine months or so, but Wingo leaving puts LSU in a bind at defensive tackle. Jordan Jefferson is out of eligibility, but I was hoping LSU would be able to hold onto Wingo. Now hanging onto Maason Smith and Jacobian Guillory is going to be paramount for Brian Kelly.

LSU also took a hit on the other side of the line of scrimmage. Freshman offensive lineman Zalance Heard entered the Transfer Portal today.

Heard didn’t travel with the team to Tampa as he was reportedly mulling his future.

“He is looking at his role at LSU and evaluating it,” Brian Kelly said in a press conference leading up to the ReliaQuest Bowl. “We will pick up the conversations with him and his family after the bowl game.”

Heard was a five-star prospect, and the No. 3 player at his position coming out of high school. He appeared in 12 games this season, and started at right tackle against Army when Emery Jones injured his ankle. Heard earned Freshman All-SEC honors this year.

Heard was the heir apparent to take over the left tackle job once Will Campbell goes pro—I even thought Heard could have been the starting right tackle in 2024—but that doesn’t appear to be the case. As a reminder, a player can always take their name out of the portal and return to their original school.