LSU put a bow on top of its historic college football season with a 42–25 victory over Clemson in the national championship. A few notes from Monday night’s game in New Orleans…
1. We’ve seen plenty from LSU’s Joe Burrow this season, and we saw more from the Heisman winner on Monday night—LSU fell behind 17–7 early, and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables seemed to have crossed up the top seeds by throwing a variety of looks and pressures at Burrow. In dealing with it, Burrow showed his ability to take a punch and adjust, and that just adds another layer to the likelihood that he’s … on to Cincinnati.
“I’m more impressed every time I watch him,” said one NFC scout postgame.
2. It would be silly to kill Trevor Lawrence for his performance Monday night. To some degree in these playoffs, the coaches got away from the Travis Etienne-fueled run game, and Clemson dealt with injuries at receiver (Tee Higgins was banged up). Lawrence showed plenty of fight in using his legs in scramble situations and on designed runs, and still had his share of wow throws. He’ll be fine. He’s three years younger than Burrow, so he has time.
3. Outside of Burrow, there may not be a player who helped himself from a draft perspective more this year, on either of those rosters, than LSU WR Justin Jefferson, who’ll likely declare for the draft in the coming days and go in the Top 50 or so picks in April. He finished Monday with nine catches for 106 yards, and one ankle-breaking juke.
4. LSU DE K’Lavon Chaisson has come on of late and, even if the stats aren’t indicative of it, his play in the playoffs have put him in position to sneak into the first round, especially with how he’s expected to test athletically. His finished with two tackles against Clemson—and a lot of havoc wrecked.
5. Both running backs flashed their ability, and Etienne (15 carries, 78 yards, 1 TD) and LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire (16 carries, 110 yards) figure to be a part of a nice cluster of quality backs atop a class that’s aged well over what was expected to be a down year for draft-eligibles at the position. Those two will be fighting for position with Georgia’s D’Andre Swift, Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor and Alabama’s Najee Harris.
6. A quick ranking of the top five draft-eligible players in Monday night’s game: Burrow, Clemson LB/S Isaiah Simmons, LSU S Grant Delpit, Higgins, Chaisson, LSU CB Kristian Fulton.
There are a ton of good draft prospects to follow on these teams for the 2021 draft, too. Both LSU sophomore WR JaMarr Chase and Clemson sophomore WR Justyn Ross are probable 2021 first-rounder. LSU freshman CB Derek Stingley Jr. might be as bright a prospect as there was on the field. And then there’s Lawrence. All of this means it would be no surprise if these teams were back in the playoffs again next year.
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