Nolen reportedly enters the portal
Texas A&M has suffered its biggest loss to the transfer portal to date, with defensive tackle Walter Nolen reportedly entering the portal Sunday night.
The announcement of Nolen's entry was not a tremendous surprise, as multiple sources had indicated to AggieYell.com over the past four days that such a move was likely. The timing may have come as a surprise, as it happened just minutes after the conclusion of the Aggie football postseason banquet.
The #2 player overall in the 2022 class, Nolen had a breakout season in 2023. He tallied 37 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks as he teamed with McKinnley Jackson to form a formidable tackle duo. But nagging injuries knocked him out of several games, though he did not miss a start this season.
While Nolen had been an advocate for keeping Elijah Robinson as the team's coach, Robinson's departure for Syracuse had little if anything to do with Nolen's decision. Sources told AggieYell.com that Nolen's reasons were largely NIL-related and did not completely rule out a return to A&M -- though that prospect seems unlikely.
What it means for the Aggies
Losing a former 5-star recruit with remarkable talent is never easy, but the Aggies do have some depth at defensive tackle to help soften the blow of Nolen's departure. Veterans Isaiah Raikes and Albert Regis are likely to return; Shemar Turner could move inside on a permanent basis and DJ Hicks could be ready for more playing time in 2023. Add in Gabe Dindy and the Aggies have some options up front. They could also look to the portal for additional reinforcements.