Georgia linebacker EJ Lightsey is the latest Bulldog to enter the transfer portal.

Lightsey signed with Georgia as a member of the 2022 signing class out of Fitzgerald, Ga. He played in four games as a freshman and ended up redshirting and then did not play in a game this season as he dealt with a shoulder injury. Lightsey will have three years of eligibility left at his next stop.

While Georgia could well also lose linebackers Smael Mondon and Jamon Dumas-Johnson to the NFL draft, Georgia is expected to bring back CJ Allen, Raylen Wilson and Troy Bowles, who were all freshmen this year. The Bulldogs also intend to sign three inside linebackers in the 2024 recruiting cycle, led by 5-star prospect Justin Williams. The Bulldogs could also slide Jalon Walker into the inside linebacker position, though he has played mostly as an edge player for Georgia this season.

To date, Georgia has had nine scholarship players enter the transfer portal. Lightsey joins quarterback Brock Vandagriff, wide receiver Jackson Meeks, offensive lineman Austin Blaske, defensive lineman Jonathan Jefferson, outside linebackers CJ Madden and Darris Smith, kicker Jared Zirkel and cornerback Nyland Green. Wide receiver Mekhi Mews also entered the transfer portal.

The transfer portal opened on Monday and will close on Jan. 2. Players who have not yet transferred are granted a one-time transfer exemption from the NCAA. Georgia previously saw Darris Smith enter the transfer portal as well.

The Bulldogs knew they would have some transfer portal defections after Saturday’s loss to Alabama.

“I did talk to our team. They are very excited. I think of all the ballgames we could be in outside the Playoffs, this is where our kids would love to be,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “This part is good. Yeah, really high-character team, a bunch of fun guys to coach. The guys that want to play in it, they’re going to continue with us, they’re going to enjoy that. We’ll have guys go into the portal, guys looking for their future, it’s bright for them maybe at other places. That’s what the portal is for.”

Georgia will play in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30 against Florida State.