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Tyler Baron, Tamarion McDonald headed to Ole Miss

They’ll both stay in the conference.

Alabama v Tennessee Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

A pair of Tennessee defenders will be heading south to Oxford, Mississippi. Lane Kiffin had been poking around in Knoxville all week long, and it didn’t take a detective to figure out why. Both Tamarion McDonald and Tyler Baron will be joining Kiffin’s Ole Miss program for their final season of eligibility in 2024.

Ole Miss finished 2023 with a 10-2 mark, landing a spot in the Peach Bowl against Penn State. Kiffin has absolutely attacked the transfer portal, loading up on talent for 2024. Baron and McDonald join a loaded transfer class that already includes edge rusher Princely Umanielen and safety Key Lawrence. South Carolina receiver Juice Wells has been rumored to Oxford, along with elite defensive tackle Walter Nolen. We’ll see on those final two.

There’s no way around it — these are two big losses for Tennessee. Baron finally had a true breakout season in 2023, putting up 10.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. The former four-star defensive lineman had an opportunity to head to the NFL early, but instead will likely cash in on a big NIL deal with the Rebels.

McDonald has manned Tennessee’s star position for the past two seasons, bringing stability to a key position of Tim Banks’ defense. The Memphis native had a breakout 2022 season, picking off two passes, racking up 55 tackles and four tackles for loss. He is one of six Tennessee defensive backs to enter the transfer portal so far.

Ole Miss is setting up to have a loaded roster in 2024 as the SEC debuts their new 16-team format. Kiffin is certainly winning the battle of the portal right now, and it sounds like they’re not done yet.