Tamarion McDonald, a defensive back who spent the initial four years of his collegiate career at Tennessee, recently announced his commitment to the Cardinals, marking a change from his prior commitment to Ole Miss.

McDonald’s decision to join Louisville becomes the latest in a string of transfers choosing the Cardinals. He had previously pledged his commitment to Ole Miss last month before altering his decision.

This move makes McDonald the second transfer to switch allegiance to Louisville in this transfer cycle, joining the likes of FIU defensive tackle transfer Jordan Guerad from Minnesota. McDonald’s commitment follows Wesley Welker, another former Volunteer, making him the Cardinals’ second portal commitment of the day and their eighth within the past four days.

Hailing from Memphis, Tenn., McDonald served as a multi-year starter in Tennessee’s STAR position, functioning as a nickelback in their defensive scheme. Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 200 pounds, he is coming off a standout season, starting the initial 10 games of the 2023 regular season before injury sidelined him for the final two games. During this season, similar to his former teammate Walker, McDonald recorded 40 tackles (23 solo), 3.5 for loss, a sack, an interception, and four pass breakups.

His impressive junior year in 2022 showcased his talents, starting all 13 games and accumulating 55 tackles (38 solo), 4.0 for loss, two interceptions, and six pass breakups. Adding his contributions from his freshman and sophomore years, where he played a pivotal role as a reserve for the Vols, McDonald accrued 95 tackles, 8.5 for loss, a sack, four interceptions, and 12 pass breakups during his tenure at Knoxville.

Looking ahead, Louisville’s strength in safety positions sets the stage for the importance of the STAR position in their defensive strategy for the upcoming 2024 season. With the return of Benjamin Perry and Antonio Watts, Perry’s impact on the defense and Watts’ playmaking abilities will be pivotal.

Amid their transfer commitments, Louisville has secured 24 transfers in this cycle, while also witnessing 18 of their scholarship players entering the portal during the winter transfer window.

The Cardinals concluded their 2023 season with a 10-4 overall mark (7-1 in ACC), earning a spot in their program’s inaugural ACC Championship Game. However, their first year under head coach Jeff Brohm concluded with a three-game losing streak.

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