LSU’s Lance Heard didn’t accompany team to Tampa; Duce Chesnut enters transfer portal

Duce Chestnut, LSU defensive back
LSU junior cornerback Duce Chesnut has entered the NCAA's transfer portal. PHOTO BY: Tiger Rag

LSU’s top reserve offensive lineman did not accompany the team on its trip to Tampa, Florida for the Jan. 1 ReliaQuest Bowl.

On3’s Shea Dixon was the first to report that All-SEC freshman offensive tackle Lance Heard, who saw action in all 12 of his team’s games in 2023, didn’t make the trip from Baton Rouge.

LSU second-year coach Brian Kelly didn’t speak on the matter following his team’s first practice Wednesday at Jesuit High in Tampa. He did address it on Dec. 29 during a press conference.

“He is looking at his role at LSU and evaluating it,” Kelly said. “We will pick up the conversations with him and his family after the bowl game.”

The No. 13 Tigers (9-3) meets Wisconsin (7-5) at 11 a.m. at Raymond James Stadium on ESPN2.

“I think it’s stronger this year because our guys are educated on what it is to be an LSU football player,” Kelly said after practice of his team’s culture. “The standard is to finish what you started. To have Malik (Nabers) here and BT (Brian Thomas), all of our defensive players, they want to finish what they started.

“That is to complete the season, win 10 games and keep building this program,” Kelly added. “Everybody has decisions to make, and we respect everybody’s decision. They want to play for their teammates, for LSU and I think it says a lot about the culture we’re building.”

Kelly said Dec. 18 after a Christmas shopping spree with children in the area that players that finished the regular-season finale against Texas A&M, minus quarterback Jayden Daniels, would make the trip to Tampa and be available to play in the bowl game.

Daniels opted out of playing in the game but said he would be present in Tampa to support his teammates.

Heard played in a total of 195 snaps, the most of any non-starter, this season. With starting right tackle Emery Jones Jr. getting injured in the first quarter of the Auburn games, Heard played a career-high 59 snaps in a 48-18 victory on Oct. 14.

Heard, a native of Monroe and former standout at Neville High, made his first career start against Army. He played in 58 snaps during a 62-0 victory.

He was LSU’s lone representative on the SEC’s All-Freshman team.

Chesnut enters NCAA transfer portal

Former two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference cornerback Duce Chesnut, who left Syracuse to sign with LSU, has entered the transfer portal for a second time.

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Chesnut, one of four cornerbacks signed out of last year’s transfer portal, played in four games this season and made four tackles with an interception. However, the native of Camden, N.J. was away from the team since the Sept. 23 Arkansas game and didn’t play again.

Chesnut was a two-year starter at Syracuse and joined LSU from the transfer portal along with Zy Alexander of Southeastern Louisiana, Denver Harris of Texas A&M and JK Johnson of Ohio State.

Transfers find new homes

Among the former LSU players that have entered the transfer portal, five have signed with new schools.

Running backs Armoni Goodwin (UAB) and Tre Bradford (North Texas) both returned to their native states. Defensive end Quency Wiggins (Colorado), center Marlon Martinez (Mississippi State), cornerback Laterrance Welch (Arizona State) and tight end Jackson McGohan (Wisconsin) have also found new homes.

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William Weathers

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