Scouting the Citrus Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU

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Chris Tripodi

Draft Analyst Writer

Notre Dame (9-3) bounced back from its first sub-.500 season since Brian Kelly was hired in 2010, racing out to an 8-1 start before losing two of its final three games. LSU (9-3, 5-3) won nine games for the first time since 2013 in its second season under Ed Orgeron, and this game features several Day 1 and Day 2 talents.

It’s all starts up front for the Irish with two first-round prospects on the offensive line, Mike McGlinchey -- our No. 1 tackle -- and Quenton Nelson -- our top-rated guard. Both rank just outside of our top 20 despite being the class of this year’s offensive line group.

McGlinchey is a high-floor lineman who lacks the athletic upside of a top-10 prospect but should still be an important contributor at the NFL level. Smart and efficient with good fundamentals, McGlinchey has been productive for the Irish and shows flashes of dominance, although he’s struggled with elite pass rushers like NC State’s Bradley Chubb. His versatility is another plus that limits his downside, as he should have no issue kicking inside or moving to the strong side if he doesn’t hit at left tackle.

Nelson was one of our Week 1 risers after a dominant showing against Temple and has been a force on the inside of Notre Dame’s offensive line since his sophomore season. Effective as both a run and pass blocker, there are no holes in Nelson’s game, which is why he ranks slightly above McGlinchey and has a chance to be one of the rare guard prospects who goes in the top half of the first round, as he did in our preseason mock draft.

LSU features two top-35 prospects on our board in Arden Key and Derrius Guice, although Key won’t play in the bowl game. The 6-foot-5 pass rusher enjoyed a 12-sack season in 2016 but took personal leave in February before returning to the team a few months later and 30 pounds heavier after offseason shoulder surgery. Key managed just four sacks in eight games this season, but is length and movement skills portend the upside of a top-five NFL draft pick, although teams will need to be comfortable with his “puzzling” personality before spending a first-round pick on him.

Guice dealt with a nagging ankle injury this season and dropped out of our top three at running back after we mocked him at No. 7 overall in the preseason. At 5-foot-10, 218 pounds with excellent explosiveness and burst through the hole, Guice has definite feature-back potential even as a one-speed runner; the first defender to him is rarely the one who brings him down. He was a Week 8 riser who enjoyed his three best games on the ground in the back half of LSU’s season once he got back to full health.

Citrus Bowl Prospects

Grade

Round

Full Name

School

Pos

Num

Yr

4.10

1st

Quenton Nelson

Notre Dame

G

56

4Jr

4.09

1st

Mike McGlinchey

Notre Dame

T

68

5Sr

4.06C

1-2

Arden Key

LSU

DE

49

3Jr

3.94

2nd

Derrius Guice

LSU

RB

5

3Jr

3.74

3rd

DJ Chark

LSU

WR

7

4Sr

3.72

3rd

Will Clapp

LSU

C

64

4Jr

3.65

3rd

Kevin Toliver II

LSU

CB

2

3Jr

3.58

3-4

Josh Adams

Notre Dame

RB

33

3Jr

3.53

4th

KJ Malone

LSU

G

63

4Sr

3.52

4th

Toby Weathersby

LSU

G

66

3Jr

3.43

5th

Donte Jackson

LSU

CB

1

3Jr

3.42

5th

Jonathan Giles

LSU

WR

89

3Jr

3.39

5-6

J.D. Moore

LSU

FB

44

4Sr

3.37

6th

Edward Paris

LSU

CB

21

4Sr

3.37

6th

Drue Tranquill

Notre Dame

OLB

23

4Jr

3.36

6th

Gregory Gilmore

LSU

DT

99

5Sr

3.36

6th

Equanimeous St. Brown

Notre Dame

WR

6

3Jr

3.33

6th

Te'von Coney

Notre Dame

ILB

4

3Jr

3.32

6-7

Nyles Morgan

Notre Dame

ILB

5

4Sr

3.30

6-7

Durham Smythe

Notre Dame

TE

80

5Sr

3.28

7th

Jerry Tillery

Notre Dame

DT

99

3Jr

3.24

FA

C.J. Sanders

Notre Dame

WR

3

3Jr

3.21

FA

Chris LaCouture

LSU

DT

18

5Sr

3.20

FA

John Battle

LSU

S

26

4Sr

3.17

FA

Daniel Etling

LSU

QB

16

5Sr

3.15

FA

Nic Weishar

Notre Dame

TE

84

4Jr

3.15

FA

Darrel Williams

LSU

RB

28

4Sr

3.09

FA

Donnie Alexander

LSU

ILB

48

4Sr

3.06

FA

Frank Herron

LSU

DT

97

5Sr

3.06

FA

Foster Moreau

LSU

TE

84

3Jr

3.06

FA

Nick Coleman

Notre Dame

S

24

3Jr

3.00

FA

Greer Martini

Notre Dame

ILB

48

4Sr

3.00

FA

Daniel Cage

Notre Dame

DT

75

4Sr

2.94

FA

Andrew Trumbetti

Notre Dame

DE

59

4Sr

2.88

FA

Colin McGovern

Notre Dame

G

62

5Sr