The rebuilding of Auburn's defensive unit continued over the weekend as the Tigers turned to the transfer portal once again and even landed a recruit with offers from several Power Five programs.
Lawrence Johnson, a former defensive tackle from Purdue; DeMario Tolan, a sophomore linebacker from LSU; and Mosiah Nasili-Kite, another defensive tackle from Maryland, have all transferred to the Plains ahead of the 2023 season. The Tigers also landed former Arkansas State commit and three-star cornerback Tyler Scott. Scott had signed with Auburn on December 21, according to 247Sports, but he waited to announce his commitment until after the All-American Bowl.
"Everything," Scott said. "The place around it, the school, the colors, the new staff, they're hungry."
Scott received offers from Alabama, USC, Texas, Michigan and many other Power Five programs before choosing the Tigers.
Mosiah Nasili-Kite had a successful three-year stint at Maryland, racking up 80 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks and one fumble recovery through 27 games. However, he decided to take his last year of eligibility elsewhere and committed to Hugh Freeze and his staff shortly after visiting the Plains on Saturday.
"It went better than expected," Nasili-Kite said in a 247Sports interview on Saturday. "I have never seen anything like this. My first time to the South, and it was great, overwhelming almost."
Joining Nasili-Kite along the defensive front will be Lawrence Johnson from Purdue. In four years with the Boilermakers, Johnson registered 88 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He will have one year of eligibility left when he comes to the Plains.
"This place is great," Johnson said in a 247Sports interview. "It feels like the people here are just really good. You could feel the Southern hospitality. The facilities are state of the art. It's just a real nice atmosphere here."
With the holes on the defensive line and defensive backfield addressed, Freeze and his staff turned to the spot left by senior captain Owen Pappoe. One of Auburn's highest-rated recruits ever, Pappoe was a four-year contributor for the Tigers, making an immediate impact as a freshman and finishing his career with two seasons of over 90 tackles.
One player that could fill the void left by Pappoe is transfer linebacker DeMario Tolan. Tolan was a four-star recruit signed by LSU in Brian Kelly's first class, but he entered the transfer portal on January 4, signing with the Tigers of Auburn just four days later.
"It was just the big schools, the SEC schools that I really want to play for and just wanting to be myself at a big program still," Tolan said. "I don't want to be held down, and I just want to be great and be myself."
Tolan appeared in 12 games during his freshman season, finishing the year with 10 tackles.
According to the 247Sports database, Auburn's recruiting class stands at No. 19 in the country while the transfer class is ranked No. 22. The Tigers are still looking for more as rumors of Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders joining Auburn have been swirling throughout the week.
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