The culture change in the Auburn football program is entering its next phase, it seems, as the fourth player in five days to enter the NCAA transfer portal. Tigers safety Chris Thompson is officially looking to leave after spending just one year on the Plains and joins Jay Hardy, Jaren Handy, and Chayil Garrett in the portal.
A four-star prospect out of high school, Thompson played in six games his freshman season and racked up eight tackles. According to Justin Ferguson, Thompson played second-team at safety throughout spring practices.
Despite being a native of Duncanville, Texas, Thompson surprised many by choosing Auburn over The University of Texas, in addition to Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, and others. He was the No. 18 safety in the recruiting class of 2020.
The transfer exodus began with junior defensive lineman Jaren Handy, also a four-star recruit out of high school. According to ESPN, Handy finished his two-year career at Auburn with 10 career tackles, one pass deflected, and one sack.
55 out❤️ pic.twitter.com/KFq40LQn2l
— Alm!ghty Turbo™️‼️ (@Jarenhandy2) May 1, 2021
Jay Hardy was the next player on his way out, entering the portal after just one year on the Plains. The defensive lineman was another surprise commitment for the Tigers, being a Chattanooga, TN native. According to Volunteer Country, Hardy was expected to become a Vol out of high school, and now that former position coach Rodney Garner is at Tennessee he might still make that choice.
The fourth Auburn football player to enter the NCAA transfer portal in the last five days is quarterback Chayil Garnett. The Lakeland, Florida native red-shirted his freshman season and spent the spring working under the new coaching staff and competing with Bo Nix, Grant Loy, and Dematrius Davis for the QB1 position.
It seems that not all of the Auburn players are on board with the culture change of the Bryan Harsin era, and it’s best to clear them off the roster before the 2021 season.