The final game of the college football season is upon us. This highly anticipated matchup between two undefeated teams should be a phenomenal 60 minutes of football. Both LSU and Clemson are bringing a lot of high profile players to the table and here are the ten best* draft prospects playing.
*Excluding Joe Burrow due to the fact the Eagles obviously won’t be interested. He would number one otherwise.
10. John Simpson, Guard, Clemson (#74): Clemson’s success wouldn’t be possible without their fantastic offensive line. Simpson is a senior leader who brings pro technique and physicality to every snap.
9. Rashard Lawrence, Defensive Tackle, LSU (#90): Rashard Lawrence’s presence on the LSU defensive line could be summed up in one word: Stout. The 6’2”, nearly 320 pound defender’s strength up front plays a huge role in the team’s defense. Lawrence is a great run defender and can frustrate offensive linemen on passing downs. Against a high octane offense tonight, Lawrence’s play will be a factor.
8. AJ Terrell, Cornerback, Clemson (#8): AJ Terrell has been a cornerstone in the Clemson defense his year. He is athletic and disciplined. Tonight will be his biggest test yet against LSU’s passing attack and big bodied wide receivers.
7. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU (#18): Chaisson is a player whose upside draws a lot of draft people in. He’s highly athletic and shows flashes of brilliance as a pass rusher. Chaisson has come on strong the last few weeks and it will be important that he brings that momentum into tonight.
6. Justin Jefferson, Wide Receiver, LSU (#2): Jefferson is going to be one of my favorite players in the class this year. He’s got a big frame and is a smooth athlete. He’s incredibly smart at working the intermediate levels of the field and finding soft spots in defenses to sit down in. After the catch, he is agile and runs hard. Jefferson dismantled Oklahoma a few weeks ago with a 220 yard, four touchdown performance. I’m sure he’ll be going for an encore tonight.
5. Travis Etienne, Running Back, Clemson (#9): In what should be a crowded running back class, Travis Etienne has a great case to make to be the top player. Etienne has effortless speed and agility, but became a better between the tackles runner this season too. He’s a near complete back who has turned into a dangerous pass catcher this season. Etienne is a threat to score on any touch, proof in his 22 touchdowns this season on 224 total touches. He will make an impact tonight and on many Sundays after.
4. Tee Higgins, Wide Receiver, Clemson (#5): The Clemson passing game has gone through Tee Higgins this season. The nearly 6’4” pass catcher has been a favorite target of Trevor Lawrence and he’s delivered in a big way on every catch. Higgins is an athletic receiver who can make a difference 40 yards down the field, in the red zone or on short passes. Questions about speed should be answered tonight against the speedsters LSU has on defense.
3. Grant Delpit, Safety, LSU (#7): Grant Delpit is college football’s Do It All Defender. He can cover deep, over the middle and out of the slot. He can also hit, blitz and defend the run. Delpit is deployed all over LSU’s formation from nickel linebacker to deep center fielder. There isn’t much he can’t do, and the NFL will be interested in that versatility. Expect to see him all over the place against tonight.
2. Kristian Fulton, Cornerback, LSU (#1): Kristian Fulton has separated himself as the top cornerback in the draft this year. He’s a smooth, stingy defender who possesses physicality and ball skills. Fulton will have his hands full with the Clemson passing game, but what a final challenge before he heads to the NFL.
1. Isaiah Simmons, Linebacker, Clemson (#11): I’ve been beating the Isaiah Simmons drum all season and tonight is his final showing. Simmons had a phenomenal season this year and improved in every way from last year. He is a highly athletic, versatile and disruptive defender. He can cover, defend the run and rush the passer like nobody’s business. Simmons does things on the football field few linebackers are capable of and his game against LSU will be more of the same.