The college football season comes to an end tonight in what will likely be a dominant display of future NFL talent. Both rosters feature a plethora of first-round picks, all the way down to Day 3 gems. If you are at all interested in the draft process, this game is must-see TV. As always, let’s talk about the game, leave questions on prospects and enjoy the final game of another fantastic season of college football.
No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 1 LSU
College Football Championship Game
8:00 PM Eastern, ESPN
Both Clemson and LSU are pre-eminent, undefeated teams featuring franchise quarterback prospects. Clemson’s road to the Championship was paved with easy ACC victories before their first real test, a victory against Ohio State, in the Fiesta Bowl. Unfortunately, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is still not draft eligible as a sophomore, but much of the offensive talent on his team is. Running back Travis Etienne is the most talented Clemson tailback since C.J. Spiller. Like Spiller, he has elite breakaway speed and is a threat in the passing game. Wide receiver Tee Higgins is a 6’4” receiver with unreal hand-eye-coordination who will be looking to prove he can be a #1 receiver at the next level—against LSU’s dominant secondary. Finally, guard John Simpson is a massive individual who can maul defensive linemen when he gets his hands on them.
The Clemson Tigers’ defense has been massively overlooked this year, despite being the best in the country statistically. The draftable talent is found in the back seven, with long, athletic secondary players such as cornerback A.J. Terrell and safety K’Von Wallace who could find themselves drafted in the second or third rounds. The real draft star for Clemson though is linebacker Isaiah Simmons. A former safety, Simmons has the size of an outside linebacker but the speed and coverage skills of a safety. He’s a top-15 pick lock.
The Tigers of LSU hit the jackpot with transfer quarterback Joe Burrow and have been riding high ever since. Burrow emerged this season and turned in what is perhaps the most impressive single season of any college quarterback. Ever. His poise and accuracy make him an easy projection to the next level, where he will likely be taken first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. Although he hasn’t declared yet, junior wide receiver Justin Jefferson is likely to join a crowded 2020 group at the wide receiver position but looks like a solid second rounder at this point in time. The dark-horse prospect on offense may be Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a diminutive running back who nonetheless packs a punch and is surprisingly quick through the hole.
Similar to Clemson, the LSU defense has been somewhat forgotten about, even though they possess the majority of the draftable talent on the team. The secondary may be the best in college football with cornerback Kristian Fulton and safety Grant Delpit. The two players look like the second coming of Tre’Davious White and Jamal Adams. The defensive line features the athletic, if somewhat inconsistent, pass rusher K’Lavon Chaisson and his versatile linemate Rashard Lawrence.