UPDATED: Auburn football has a net gain of *more than 17,000 snaps* via the transfer portal
The Tigers have flipped their roster this offseason with plenty of FBS experience — and there's still more room to add onto it.
(Austin Perryman/Auburn Athletics)
Note: This story was originally posted on May 10. It has been updated to reflect Auburn’s newest transfers on May 25.
When Rivaldo Fairweather entered the transfer portal in early December, it hadn’t been a full week since Hugh Freeze was officially hired at Auburn.
The Tigers didn’t have a full staff yet. They wouldn’t have one for several weeks. But that didn’t keep them from reaching out to the FIU tight end as soon as they could.
“It's like, the second you're eligible in the portal — the second your name finally gets put in the portal — stuff just happens quick and fast,” Fairweather said earlier this spring. “Like, a minute as soon as your name is in there, it's crazy, how many calls you'll get.”
As one of just two assistant coaches that Freeze retained from the previous staff, Cadillac Williams had to quickly switch from interim head coach to key recruiter for a roster overhaul that Auburn had to start immediately.
“That was wild,” Williams said. “I mean, each and every day, there’s a transfer guy in here. It’s just coming like hotcakes.”
Auburn might not be the International House of Transfers in college football during this wild 2023 cycle. That would be Colorado, where Deion Sanders has brought in 44 new players in a complete overhaul of the program.
But among everyone else in the sport, the Tigers have done some of the best work in the portal. The 247Sports transfer team rankings have Auburn at No. 4, behind Colorado, USC and LSU. Auburn is tied with USC for the most blue-chip transfers in the cycle (nine), and it has one of the best average scores by transfer as well.
So far in this 2023 cycle, Auburn had landed 18 transfers in the portal. The latest additions are the North Texas super senior duo of wide receiver Jyaire Shorter and linebacker Larry Nixon III.
Of course, all that incoming traffic is usually paired with an exodus of outgoing transfers. The one-time eligibility waiver has changed roster management to the point where attrition is a universal guarantee, and Auburn is also dealing with the usual rate of transition that comes when a coaching staff is changed.
In this cycle, Auburn has seen 20 different players leave via the transfer portal. That’s not Colorado levels of turnover, but it’s a lot.
Now, at first glance, that might look like a major problem for the Tigers. That’s four more outgoing transfers than incoming ones, and Auburn’s roster was already in need of serious reinforcements after posting back-to-back losing seasons.
However, not all transfers are the same. And, with a couple of notable exceptions on either side, what Auburn has done through the portal this offseason has been a case of replacing lesser-used reserves with instant-impact transfers with a lot more experience.
How much, exactly? Well, it’s now more than 11,000 career offensive and defensive snaps worth of added FBS experience.
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