Ole Miss continues to add on defense with pair of Tennessee transfer portal commits

Dec. 16—OXFORD — A pair of former Tennessee players — four-star defensive end Tyler Baron and three-star safety Tamarion McDonald — have both committed to Ole Miss out of the transfer portal. Baron is a Knoxville native while McDonald is from Memphis.

With Friday’s commitment of Florida’s Princely Umanmielen, the Rebels have commitments from the top-two edge rushers in the transfer portal and two of the top-ten players overall. Both Baron and McDonald have one season of eligibility remaining.

Baron had six sacks for the Volunteers in 2023 and 13.5 in four years at Tennessee. McDonald made 40 tackles this season and 115 in his career with the Volunteers. He also picked off four passes in his four seasons. Baron started 19 games at Tennessee while McDonald started 24.

Ole Miss has secured eight commitments in the transfer portal this cycle, seven coming on defense. Umanmielen, Baron and former Arkansas linebacker Chris Paul Jr. are all four-star transfers, per 247Sports. In addition to McDonald, the Rebels have also received commitments from former Oklahoma safety Key Lawrence, former Illinois cornerback Tahveon Nicholson, former Indiana safety Louis Moore and former Southern Miss offensive lineman Gerquan Scott.

Under first-year defensive coordinator Pete Golding, who was previously the defensive coordinator at Alabama, the Rebels made major strides in 2023, lowering their regular-season points per game allowed by nearly two-and-a-half to 21.8, which ranks 35th nationally and fourth in the SEC. The defense figures to be an even bigger strength in 2024 with the latest transfer portal additions, as senior defensive tackle J.J. Pegues and senior defensive end Jared Ivey have already committed to return. Freshman All-SEC linebacker Suntarine Perkins will also be back.

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