With a veteran defensive line returning that may rival the best in the Southeastern Conference this season fifth-year senior defensive end Soni Fonua apparently will look elsewhere for playing time.
The 6-foot-3, 280-pound Fonua, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, entered the NCAA transfer portal Thursday according to On3Sports.com. He later reported the news on his Twitter page, thanking both head coaches Ed Orgeron and Brian Kelly for his time at LSU.
Fonua didn’t take part in spring practice for undisclosed reasons and was at least third on the depth chart at left defensive end behind senior Ali Gaye and sophomore Savion Jones. The Tigers also had junior starter B.J. Ojulari at right end.
Fonua, a fifth-year senior with 20 games played to his credit, ended the 2021 season on a high note. He started in LSU’s final five games that included the Texas Bowl and wound up with 27 tackles with 6 ½ tackles for loss in nine games overall. His season’s best effort was five tackles in an Oct. 9 loss at Kentucky.
Fonua signed with LSU after a standout career at Mesa (Arizona) Community College where he was ranked as the nation’s No. 6 strong-side defensive end and made 114 tackles with 4 ½ tackles for losses in two seasons.
In LSU’s COVID-shortened 2020 season, Fonua played in seven games with no starts and made seven tackles. He had a season-high four stops against Ole Miss.