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Five NFL draft prospects Bucs fans should watch in Clemson vs. LSU

Plus a look at just how dominant Clemson has been offensively under new USF coach Jeff Scott.
Clemson running back Travis Etienne (9) eludes an Ohio State defender during the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 28 in Glendale, Ariz. [RICK SCUTERI  |  AP]
Clemson running back Travis Etienne (9) eludes an Ohio State defender during the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 28 in Glendale, Ariz. [RICK SCUTERI | AP]
Published Jan. 10
Updated Jan. 10

If you’re a Tampa Bay Bucs fan and have an interest in upcoming drafts, here are the players you should keep an eye on in Monday night’s College Football Playoff national championship:

Clemson running back Travis Etienne

One of the most explosive players in college football could spark the run game. His career rushing average (7.87) is fifth in ACC history, and he needs only 22 yards to join C.J. Spiller and Sammy Watkins as the only Clemson players ever with 5,000 career all-purpose yards.

LSU safety Grant Delpit

In this Sept. 29, 2018, file photo, LSU safety Grant Delpit (9) celebrates his sack of Mississippi quarterback Jordan Ta'amu. [GERALD HERBERT | AP]

The Bucs infamously passed on future All-Pro do-it-all-defender Derwin James out of Florida State in 2018. Will they pass on a similar talent this time?

Related: Why Grant Delpit is the next LSU defender Bucs fans should know

Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons

Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons (11) during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. [RICK SCUTERI | AP]

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Simmons is a bigger version of James/ Delpit. The Butkus Award winner (nation’s top linebacker) was one of only three players in the nation with at least 90 tackles, 10 for a loss, five sacks and two interceptions.

LSU outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson

LSU Tigers linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson (18) is awarded the defensive player of the game trophy after LSU beat Oklahoma in the Dec. 28 Peach Bowl. [FRANK MATTIA |]

One of the SEC’s top pass rushers (6 ½ sacks, 13 ½ tackles for loss) would be a familiar complement to former LSU teammate Devin White.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl. [RICK SCUTERI | AP]

LSU’s Joe Burrow won’t be around when the Bucs pick this year, so he’s not on this list. It’s hard to see the Bucs tanking for Trevor (who won’t be eligible for the draft until 2021), but he might be the best pure passing prospect since Peyton Manning.

Great Scott!

Jeff Scott gets one more crack at a national title with Clemson before sliding completely into his new role as USF head coach. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

This will be the 75th and final game at Clemson for co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, USF’s new head coach. He and Tony Elliott have had a remarkable run together since they first became co-coordinators for a 34-point rout of Oklahoma at the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.

Clemson is 70-4 with that duo leading the offense with six playoff wins, five ACC titles and four national championship game appearances. The Tigers have averaged 40.1 points and 501.6 yards per game under them, and their 6.58 yards per play are better than any season Clemson had ever produced before their tandem.

Related: Jeff Scott is finishing what Kirby Smart called the hardest month of his life: Balancing a CFP team with a new job.

If Clemson wins…

It will distance Dabo Swinney’s Tigers ahead of Alabama as the clear No. 1 program in the nation. A 30th consecutive win would break a tie with FSU (2012-14) for the longest streak in ACC history, and Clemson would become only the fourth program of the Associated Press poll era (since 1936) to claim three NCAA-recognized national titles in a four-year span. The others: Alabama (2009, ’11, ’12), Nebraska (1994-95, ’97) and Notre Dame (1946-47, ’49).

If LSU wins…

It will be the Tigers’ fourth title (1958, 2003, 2007). It would be the first for Ed Orgeron as a head coach, although he won two as an assistant at Miami and two while on staff at USC. The win would also be the SEC’s 10th championship in the past 14 years. Burrow would become the 16th player ever to win the Heisman and a national title in the same season.


  1. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow holds the national championship trophy as safety Grant Delpit looks on after the Tigers beat Clemson 42-25 on Jan. 13 in New Orleans. [GERALD HERBERT  |  AP]
    The LSU Tigers faced five top-seven defenses, averaging 38 points against them.
  2. Coach Mike White has Florida come off a big home win over Auburn on Saturday and lose 84-82 at LSU three days later. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Video review shows time ran out just before Florida’s tying layup.
  3. Florida head coach Dan Mullen celebrates after the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game against Virginia, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Florida won 36-28. [BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP]
    Defensive tackle signee Gervon Dexter has earned his fifth star.
  4. Florida forward Omar Payne (5) runs up court after making a shot against Auburn during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. Payne was a perfect 9 for 9 shooting during the game. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Previewing the Gators’ 7 p.m game at LSU on Tuesday.
  5. IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR ALLSTATE - Tim Tebow and fiancé Demi Nel-Peters volunteer together alongside Allstate volunteers at a community service project to benefit the Einstein Charter School ahead of the 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, in New Orleans. (Cheryl Gerber/AP Images for Allstate) [CHERYL GERBER  |  AP]
    The former quarterback and current Mets minor leaguer previously said he planned to remain a virgin until marriage.
  6. Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Josh Allen (41) takes aim for Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) during a 2018 game. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The grad transfer will be eligible immediately.
  7. Auburn center Austin Wiley guards Florida forward Omar Payne during the first half of their game on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville. Payne, a freshman out of Montverde Academy, finishes with a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his first double double in college. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Freshman Omar Payne has a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds as UF earns its most impressive victory of the season.
  8. Florida's Keyontae Johnson, shown here scoring against Arkansas in last season's SEC tournament, is averaging 13 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. [MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP]
    UF looks for an elite win Saturday at home, where it has won five in row, to help strengthen its NCAA Tournament resume.
  9. Florida guard Andrew Nembhard shoots over Mississippi guard Devontae Shuler during their game Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Gainesville. [BRAD MCCLENNY  |  AP]
    Coach Mike White says his point guard missed practice Thursday and Friday. If he’s out, freshmen Tre Mann or Ques Glover likely will start Saturday.
  10. Todd Monken spent two seasons in Tampa Bay, the last as offensive coordinator, before being dismissed along with the rest of head coach Dirk Koetter's staff after the 2018 season.
    Tampa Bay’s former play-caller will be designing game plans for the Bulldogs against the Florida Gators next season.