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
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?
Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons
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
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
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.
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.
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.