College News & Analysis

10 best college football defensive linemen in the transfer portal

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane defensive lineman Anthony Goodlow (94) looks toward the sidelines during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Cincinnati won 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia State DI Thomas Gore: The redshirt junior is the top defensive lineman in the transfer portal.

Tulsa EDGE Anthony Goodlow: The new Oklahoma State Cowboy is the top edge defender in the transfer portal.

Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins

With more than 1,000 college football players in the transfer portal, it can be difficult to parse through all the talent. But PFF's advanced stats for 354 teams ranging from the FBS to Division III aim to do exactly that.

After going over our top 25 players in the transfer portal as well as our All-Transfer Portal team, here are the 10 best defensive linemen searching for new homes.

Note: This ranking includes all interior defensive linemen and edge defenders.


1. DI Thomas Gore (Georgia State Panthers)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Thomas Gore has dominated for two years now. His 90.6 grade since 2021 ranks fifth among all interior defensive linemen in college football.

The redshirt junior excels in all aspects, sitting as one of only five interior defensive linemen with 85.0-plus grades as both a pass rusher and run defender in that span.


2. EDGE Anthony Goodlow (Tulsa Golden Hurricane)

Transfer Destination: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Goodlow has played very well for a couple of years now.

The redshirt senior’s 88.0 grade since 2021 is the 16th-best mark among all FBS edge defenders. Goodlow was one of only seven edge defenders last season with 80.0-plus grades as both a pass rusher and a run defender. He’ll move an hour west to play at Oklahoma State next season.


3. DI Braden Fiske (Western Michigan Broncos)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Fiske’s 85.4 grade this season was sixth best among all interior defensive linemen in the country. He was one of only five interior defensive linemen who ranked in the top eight in the FBS in both pass-rushing and run-defense grades. 

Fiske tied for second among that same group with eight sacks, while his 48 pressures were the fourth most. The redshirt senior’s 27 run stops were tied for sixth in the nation, as well.


4. EDGE Andre Carter (Western Michigan Broncos)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Carter was one of the best in the country at getting after the quarterback this season, with his 90.3 pass-rushing grade placing among the nation’s 15 best marks for edge defenders. 

The redshirt senior posted 53 pressures this year, seventh most among all defenders in college football.


5. EDGE John Morgan III (Pittsburgh Panthers)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Morgan broke out as a pass rusher this season, although his sack total won’t show it.

Despite bringing down quarterbacks only three times, the redshirt senior posted top-five marks in both pressures (36) and pressure rate (14.2%) among ACC edge defenders this season. He also had 10 quarterback hits, which tied for third among ACC defenders. 


6. EDGE Josaiah Stewart (Coastal Carolina Chanticleers)

Transfer Destination: Michigan Wolverines

Stewart’s 82.8 pass-rushing grade and 39 pressures were top-20 figures among Group of Five edge defenders this season.

He accomplished that as just a true sophomore and will now continue his development at Michigan, a program that has churned out some elite edge defenders recently in Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo and Kwity Paye, among others.


7. EDGE Dasan McCullough (Indiana Hoosiers)

Transfer Destination: Oklahoma Sooners

McCullough saw immediate playing time as a true freshman. The former four-star recruit logged 476 snaps this season, more than any other freshman FBS edge defender.

McCullough especially shined as a run defender. His eight tackles for loss or no gain were tied for third among Big Ten edge defenders. Next year, he’ll play under legendary defensive mind Brent Venables at Oklahoma. 


8. DI Darrell Jackson (Miami [FL] Hurricanes)

Transfer Destination: Florida State Seminoles

Jackson was one of 10 interior defensive linemen in the ACC to earn top-15 grades as both a pass rusher and a run defender.

The true sophomore tallied 16 run-defense stops, which tied for fifth among ACC interior defensive linemen. Jackson will stay in the ACC, as he’ll play for Florida State next season. 


9. DI Davon Sears (Texas State Bobcats)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

After transferring in from a junior college in 2021, Sears impressed in his first year of action for Texas State. The redshirt sophomore was one of only 11 Group of Five interior defensive linemen to rank inside the top 25 in both pass-rushing and run-defense grades. 


10. EDGE Jamil Muhammad (Georgia State Panthers)

Transfer Destination: USC Trojans

Muhammad dominated as a pass rusher on limited playing time last season. On only 113 pass-rushing snaps in 2021, the redshirt junior got home with six sacks. That was the second-fewest pass-rush snaps to get to six sacks among Group of Five edge defenders. 

Muhammad recorded only a 72.1 grade on an increased role this season, but his new home, USC, is banking on him rediscovering his 2021 form.

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