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Clemson, LSU and Alabama Championships

CFP Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Clemson vs. Alabama January 8, 2019

Key Plays:

  • Play 1: Isaiah Simmons blitzes from left slot, jumps to impede Tua’s throw on an out pass to Jerry Jeudy and CB A.J. Terrell makes pick six.
  • Play 4: Travis Etienne makes three Alabama defenders miss en route to scoring a TD.
  • Play 6: Travis Etienne rushes straight up the middle for a TD.
  • Play 8: Travis Etienne scores on a perfectly executed shovel pass.

Stats:

  • Travis Etienne: 14/86/6.1/2 -TD rushing; 1/5/5.0/1 TD receiving (leading rusher in the game)
  • Isaiah Simmons: 9 tackles (7 solo) —- (leading tackler in the game)
  • Najee Harris: 9/59/6.6/0TD (leading rusher for Alabama, Damien Harris: 11/57/5.2; Josh Jacobs: 11/47/4.3
  • DeVonta Smith: 6/65/10.8
  • Jaylen Waddle: 2/25/12.5

LSU vs Clemson January 13, 2020

Key Plays:

  • Play 2: Simmons tackle
  • Play 5: Burrow to Chase TD
  • Play 8: Etienne long run
  • Play 10: Burrow to Chase long gain
  • Play 13: Burrow to Chase TD on fade pass
  • Play 17: Etienne TD run
  • Play 24: Terrace Marshall TD from Burrow (fade 50/50 ball)

Stats:

  • Travis Etienne: 15/78/5.2/1 TD rushing; 5/36/7.2 receiving (leading rusher in game)
  • Ja’Marr Chase: 9/221/24.5/2 TD
  • Terrace Marshall: 3/46/15.3/1 TD
  • Isaiah Simmons: 7 tackles (6 solo), 1 sack, 2 TFL
  • Rashard Lawrence: 3 tackles (1 solo), 1 TFL

Alabama vs Ohio St. January 11, 2021

Key Plays:

  • Play 1: Najee Harris 1st down run
  • Play 2: Harris TD
  • Play 6: DeVonta Smith (DVS) big reception
  • Play 7: DVSmith TD on swing pass
  • Play 9: Baron Browning fumble recovery
  • Play 11: DVS back shoulder catch
  • Play 13: Harris TD on swing pass
  • Plays 18-20: DVS long gain, TD on out pass, TD on cross corner pass
  • Play 21: Harris 14 yard run
  • Play 25: Fields long run tackled by Patrick Surtain II
  • Play 30: Harris TD at goal-line
  • Play 31: sack of Fields by Christian Barmore

Stats:

  • Najee Harris: 22/79/3.6/2 TD rushing; 7/79/11.3/1 TD receiving
  • DeVonta Smith: 12/215/17.9/3 TDs
  • Jaylen Waddle: 3/34/11.3
  • Patrick Surtain II: 3 tackles (2 solo), 1 TFL
  • Christian Barmore: 5 tackles (3 solo), 1 sack, 2 TFL
  • Pete Werner: 8 tackles (4 solo)
  • Baron Browning: 5 tackles (4 solo), 1 sack, 1 TFL

Commentary:

The Cardinals selected one of the most dynamic and versatile defensive players in college football in Isaiah Simmons. He was the leading tackler in Clemson’s Championship victory and the Butkus Award winner the following season.

This year the Cardinals may have a chance to draft one of the following players from these championship programs who have helped their teams win:

  • Travis Etienne
  • Ja’Marr Chase (trade up required)
  • Terrace Marshall
  • Najee Harris
  • DeVonta Smith
  • Jaylen Waddle
  • Patrick Surtain II
  • Christian Barmore

Here is how I would rank them in terms of talent and overall contribution to winning games:

  1. Ja’Marr Chase —- elite size, speed, hands
  2. (tie) Travis Etienne, Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith —- superior athletes and big-time stars
  3. Patrick Surtain II —- highly skilled in every aspect of CB play, sans blazing speed
  4. Terrace Marshall —- big, fast and productive WR2
  5. Christian Barmore —- physically gifted, needs seasoning
  6. Jaylen Waddle —- takes the top off defenses, but injuries to his small frame are a concern

These players win.