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Exactly half of the players selected in first two rounds of NFL draft were four-star recruits; nearly 70% were four- and five-stars

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As the current NFL draft continues to show, recruiting rankings don’t mean everything. But they do mean a lot. Especially when it comes to the first two rounds.

In the first two rounds, a total of the 64 players found themselves their first professional football homes.  And, of those more than five dozen players selected, exactly half of them (32) were four-star signees* coming out of high school.  On top of that, another 11 were five-star prospects when they signed with their respective schools.

Of the first 20 players picked, 16 of them were either four-star (11) or five-star (five) signees.  The No. 1 overall pick, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, was a four-star coming into Ohio State.  His former five-star teammate, OSU defensive end Chase Young, was selected No. 2 overall.

As the No. 6 pick in the first round, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert was the highest-drafted three-star.  Offensive lineman Robert Hunt out of Louisiana was drafted with the seventh pick of the second round, making him the highest-drafted two-star.  And the highest-drafted zero-star?  Div. II Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger, who was selected two picks before Hunt.

All told, 46 of the 106 players (43.4 percent) selected in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft were four-stars in the recruiting rankings.  The next highest percentage was three-stars at 34.9 percent (37 out of 106).

After 11 in the first two rounds, just one five-star, Arkansas defensive tackle McTelvin Agim, was taken in the third round.

(*According to the 247Sports.com composite.)

FIRST ROUND
1. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow: four-star
2. Ohio State defensive end Chase Young: five-star
3. Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah: five-star
4. Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas: four-star
5. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa: five-star
6. Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert: three-star
7. Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown: five-star
8. Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons: three-star
9. Florida cornerback CJ Henderson: four-star
10: Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills: four-star
11: Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton: three-star
12. Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III: four-star
13: Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs: four-star
14. South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw: four-star
15. Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy: five-star
16. Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell: four-star
17. Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb: four-star
18. USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson: four-star
19. Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette: three-star
20. LSU defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson: four-star
21. TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor: four-star
22. LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson: three-star
23: Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray: three-star
24: Michigan center Cesar Ruiz: four-star
25: Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk: three-star
26: Utah State quarterback Jordan Love: three-star
27: Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks: three-star
28: LSU linebacker Patrick Queen: four-star
29: Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson: five-star
30: Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene: four-star
31: TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney: three-star
32: LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire: three-star

Five-star: 6
Four-star: 15
Three-star: 11
Two-star: 0
Zero-star: 0

SECOND ROUND
33. Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins: five-star
34. USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.: four-star
35. Georgia running back D'Andre Swift: five-star
36: Alabama safety Xavier McKinney: four-star
37: Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger: zero-star
38: Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos: four-star
39. Louisiana guard Robert Hunt: two-star
40: TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock: four-star
41: Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor: three-star
42: Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault: three-star
43: Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet: four-star
44: LSU safety Grant Delpit: four-star
45. Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr.: three-star
46. Penn State wide receiver KJ Hamler: four-star
47. Auburn defensive tackle Marlon Davidson: four-star
48. Tennessee defensive end Darrell Taylor: four-star
49. Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool: four-star
50. Utah defensive back Jaylon Johnson: four-star
51. Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs: four-star
52. Florida State running back Cam Akers: five-star
53. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts: four-star
54. Iowa defensive end AJ Epenesa: five-star
55. Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins: four-star
56. Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis: four-star
57. Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson: four-star
58. Boise State offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland: three-star
59. Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims: three-star
60. Michigan linebacker Josh Uche: three-star
61. LSU defensive back Kristian Fulton: five-star
62. Boston College running back AJ Dillon: three-star
63. Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr.: four-star
64. Southern Illinois defensive back Jeremy Chinn: zero-star

Five-star: 5
Four-star: 17
Three-star: 7
Two-star: 1
Zero-star: 2

THIRD ROUND
65. Wyoming linebacker Logan Wilson: two-star
66. Memphis wide receiver Antonio Gibson: three-star
67: Notre Dame linebacker Julian Okwara: four-star
68: Cal defensive back Ashtyn Davis: zero-star
69. LSU guard Damien Lewis: three-star
70. Texas defensive back Brandon Jones: four-star
71. Texas A&M defensive tackle Justin Madubuike: four-star
72. Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones: three-star
73. Ohio State defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton: three-star
74. Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun: three-star
75. Ohio State offensive lineman Jonah Jackson: three-star
76. Vanderbilt running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn: four-star
77. Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia: three-star
78. Temple center Matt Hennessy: two-star
79. Florida defensive end Jabari Zuniga: three-star
80. Kentucky wide receiver Lynn Bowden: four-star
81. South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards: four-star
82. Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore: four-star
83. LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry: three-star
84. Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis: four-star
85. Utah defensive back Julian Blackmon: three-star
86. Utah running back Zack Moss: three-star
87. Alabama linebacker Anfernee Jennings: four-star
88. Missouri defensive tackle Jordan Elliott: four-star
89. Mississippi State cornerback Cameron Dantzler: three-star
90. Florida defensive end Jonathan Greenard: three-star
91. UCLA tight end Devin Asiasi: four-star
92. Texas wide receiver Devin Duvernay: four-star
93. Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans: two-star
94. Cincinnati tight end Josiah Deguara: two-star
95. Arkansas defensive tackle McTelvin Agim: five-star
96. TCU offensive tackle Lucas Niang: three-star
97: LSU linebacker Jacob Phillips: four-star
98. Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison: three-star
99. UConn offensive tackle Matt Peart: two-star
100. Clemson safety Tanner Muse: three-star
101. Virginia Tech tight end Dalton Keene: three-star
102: Charlotte linebacker Alex Highsmith: zero-star
103: Colorado linebacker Davion Taylor: four-star
104: Utah safety Terrell Burgess: three-star
105: Dayton tight end Adam Trautman: zero-star
106. Mississippi State offensive tackle Tyre Phillips: three-star

Five-star: 1
Four-star: 14
Three-star: 19
Two-star: 5
Zero-star: 3

Second round of 2020 NFL Draft once again won by SEC

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A night after smashing the previous record for the most first-round draft picks in an NFL draft, the SEC once again helped provide some depth at the next level with a strong showing in the second round on Friday night. The SEC had 10 players selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the most of any conference.

Clemson’s Tee Higgins started the night heading to the Cincinnati Bengals (Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins should be fun to watch if you are a Bengals fan), and USC’s Michael Pittman was picked by the Indianapolis Colts with the second pick of the night. Then the SEC got involved once again.

Georgia’s D'Andre Swift was the first SEC representative off the board in the second round, courtesy of the Detroit Lions. He was joined by Alabama safety Xavier McKinney one pick later by the New York Giants. LSU added to their draft selections after a program-record five first-round picks Thursday night with Grant Delpit going to the Cleveland Browns and cornerback Kristian Fulton heading to the Tennessee Titans. Alabama later saw Trevon Diggs go to the Dallas Cowboys and Raekwon Davis to the Miami Dolphins.

The Big Ten had a solid showing in the second round of the draft. Highlighted by defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos of Penn State (to former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule with the Carolina Panthers) running backs Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin (to the Indianapolis Colts) and JK Dobbins of Ohio State (to the Baltimore Ravens), the Big Ten saw seven players drafted in the second round. Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa may have been a bargain at 54th overall by the Buffalo Bills.

Notre Dame was the only independent program to have any players selected in the second round with Cole Kmet going to the Chicago Bears and Chase Claypool heading to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Southern Illinois got a chance to wave the FCS banner with the final pick of the second round. Safety Jeremy Chinn was drafted by the Panthers just before moving on to the third round.

There was a pick from the Division 2 pool. The New England Patriots selected Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger. Dugger was the fifth pick of the second round, officially putting the South Atlantic Conference on the board in this year’s NFL draft.

2020 NFL Draft Second Round Picks By Conference

  • SEC – 10
  • Big Ten – 7
  • ACC – 3
  • Big 12 – 3
  • Pac-12 – 3
  • Missouri Valley Conference (FCS) – 1
  • Mountain West – 1
  • South Atlantic Conference (D2) – 1
  • Sun Belt -1

(Independents – 2)

Tee Higgins leaving Clemson early for 2020 NFL Draft

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As expected, the Clemson football program is losing a key offensive piece to the next level.

On Twitter Wednesday, Tee Higgins wrote that “it is with a grateful heart that I announce today my intention to enter the 2020 NFL Draft.” It had long been projected that the wide receiver would forgo his remaining season of eligibility.

“The last three years at Clemson have been unbelievable,” Higgins wrote. “1 national championship and 3 College Football Playoff appearances are accomplishments and experiences that can never be taken away.

“But Clemson is so much more than than.  Clemson is different.  It’s hard to explain… there really is something in these hills.  If I had to boil it down to one word I guess it would have to be ‘FAMILY.’

“Clemson is family.”

In three years as part of the Clemson football team, Higgins totaled 2,448 yards and 27 touchdowns on 135 receptions.  The touchdowns are a school record.

This season, he tied a career-high with 59 receptions and set career-highs with 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns.  On his only career carry, he ran for a 36-yard touchdown in the title-game loss to LSU this past Monday night.  That second-quarter score gave the ACC Tigers a temporary 17-7 lead before the SEC Tigers came roaring back to secure a 42-25 win.

It’s expected that Higgins will be the latest in a growing line of Clemson receivers drafted in the first round. Mike Williams (2017), Sammy Watkins (2014) and DeAndre Hopkins (2013) are all former Tigers who became first-round selections.

College football national championship 2020: LSU dethrones Clemson, Joe Burrow caps historic season

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LSU has become the first No. 1 seed to win the College Football Playoff, and Joe Burrow is the first Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback to win a national title in the playoff era. LSU pulled away from Clemson, 42-25, to snap Clemson’s 29-game winning streak and dethrone the defending national champions.

But how did it all happen?  Scroll through the story below for our tick-tock the 2020 College Football National title game.


8:19 PM ET: The game has finally started (promptly at 8:19 p.m. ET) with Clemson getting the ball first. On the first play from scrimmage, Clemson tried rolling out a bit of a trick play to catch LSU off guard, but there was no fooling LSU. Trevor Lawrence responded to the busted first play by connecting with Justyn Ross for a 35-yard gain on the next play. But Clemson’s first drive stalled thanks in part to LSU’s Grant Delpit blowing up the middle for a sack of Lawrence on third down, forcing a Clemson punt. A fun pace to the start of this one, with the Heisman Trophy winner and the explosive LSU offense heading to the field.

Home-field advantage for LSU in New Orleans? Naturally.

As expected, President Donald Trump is attending tonight’s game, and he received a healthy ovation from the fans in New Orleans.

8:41 PM ET: For a couple of offenses have been lighting thing sup this season, this game has been all about the defense so far, especially Clemson’s. LSU has been pinned back against their end zone on each of their first two possessions and have had no room to work with a pair of three-and-outs to get started. Isaiah Simmons has ben a handle for the LSU offensive line early on.

8:48 PM ET: We have a touchdown! The third drive was the charm for the Clemson Tigers as Trevor Lawrence finished off the best possession of the game with a short touchdown run. Lawrence took off to the right side of the line as the LSU defense focused on Travis Etienne, who nearly scored on the previous play, and Lawrence was untouched into the end zone for the first score of the game.

9:01 PM ET: We have ourselves a tied ballgame! Joe Burrow finally got some room to breathe and it paid off in a big way. Burrow completed a 52-yard touchdown to Ja'Marr Chase to draw the game even at 7-7 late in the first quarter.

9:06 PM ET: We have reached the end of the first quarter, with LSU and Clemson tied 7-7. It took LSU a while to get its offense some room to work, while Clemson has had to punt a couple of times in LSU territory. Will that come back to haunt Dabo Swinney and his Clemson Tigers? We’ll see later on. But for now, we have a pretty good pace going with some good defense on display on both sides.

9:11 PM ET: Oh, you thought college kickers couldn’t kick? Well guess again. Clemson’s B.T. Potter, who converted on just 12 of 20 field goal attempts coming into the night, just booted a 52-yard field goal early in the second quarter to regain the lead for Clemson. Clemson is up 10-7.

9:26 PM ET: Tee Higgins just provided our early leader for play of the night. Higgins took off on a misdirection play for a 36-yard touchdown that saw him bump off a defender, keep his toes in bounds, and diving into the end zone for a big touchdown.

Clemson took a 17-7 lead with the Higgins score, but LSU quickly responded. A 56-yard pass from Burrow to Chase quickly put the LSU Tigers near the end zone, eventually leading to a third and goal. LSU just called timeout to think things over a bit. That gives us all a chance to catch our breath.

9:33 PM ET: After the timeout, Joe Burrow decided to keep it himself and plunge forward for a short touchdown run. LSU really needed that answer after Clemson took a 10-point lead. And just like that, we have a 17-14 game in favor of Clemson before hitting the midway point of the second quarter. The offenses have taken over folks, so get ready for a track meet now.

9:50 PM ET: LSU has taken its first lead of the night, and who else but Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase doing the honors. The two connected on a 14-yard pas sin the red zone to give LSU a 21-17 lead, officially pulling out of a 17-7 hole earlier in the quarter.

Chase has caught five passes for 147 yards and two scores and we still have a full half and more to play tonight. Burrow is now up over 240 yards with the two touchdowns after getting through a rough start to the game.

10:12 PM ET: Wow. OK then. Already leading 21-17, Joe Burrow and LSU picked up one last huge touchdown just before halftime, and a gutsy decision to run by Burrow gave the Tigers a chance for a significant touchdown.

A quick and easy pass to a standing Thaddeus Moss put LSU up 28-17 at the half. Check out Bryan Fischer’s halftime post for his thoughts from the first half in New Orleans.

10:38 PM ET: And we’re back! LSU has the football to start the second half.

10:46 PM ET: Clemson really could not have had much of a better start to the second half. After forcing the LSU off the field quickly to start the half, and with LSU getting called for interfering with the fielding of the punt return, Clemson start their first possession of the half at midfield. A few plays, and a 15-yard face mask penalty on LSU, Clemson was in the end zone with Travis Etienne just crossing the goal line on a short run. A two-point conversion and we have ourselves a three-point game. LSU is leading, 28-25, less than five minutes into the first half.

The game is also approaching the over, for those who are paying close enough attention.

11:05 pm ET: Clemson wide receiver just jogged his way back to the locker room area midway through the third quarter. Earlier in the quarter, Higgins took a good shot on a pass play to his thigh area. For now, there is no update on his status for the rest of this game, but that would be a tough loss for Clemson if Higgins is unavailable for any extended period of time.

11:16 PM ET: Clemson’s defense just lost a player too. James Skalski was ejected from the game for targeting on a pass to LSU’s Justin Jefferson inside the Clemson 10-yard line. He was forced to leave and watch the rest of the game from the locker room. One play later, LSU extended its lead with Joe Burrow coming to a touchdown pass to Thaddeus Moss for a 35-25 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has already set a new College Football Playoff National Championship Game record with 218 receiving yards, eclipsing Alabama tight end O.J. Mayo‘s 208 yards from 2016. He has plenty of time to add to that record.

And speaking of records, Joe Burrow now owns a new single-season touchdown record all by himself.

11:32 PM ET: The third quarter has come to a close, with LSU leading Clemson 35-25. If you are on the east coast, we will get through this together.

11:40 PM ET: Never count out a champion, but LSU may have just put Clemson to bed. Joe Burrow’s 60th (60th!!!) touchdown pass of the season went to Terrace Marshall Jr. early in the fourth quarter to extend the LSU lead to 42-25. With 12:08 left to play, Clemson has a lot of work to do.

Burrow is now up to 442 passing yards with five touchdowns, plus 60 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. He is easily on his way to MVP honors in this game.

Oh, we also have now hit the over in this game. That was an easy pick to make.

12:12 AM ET: LSU pretty much had this game locked up, but a fumble by Trevor Lawrence late in the fourth quarter has allowed LSU to start milking the clock. With 90 seconds to play, LSU is about to win its first national championship of the playoff era.

College Football Preview: Clemson-LSU Tale of the Tape

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Another college football preview? Yes, another college football preview, although this comes ahead of a title game that some think has the potential to be the greatest since the Texas-USC classic that determined the 2005 champion.

If this one comes even remotely close to that Vince Young-fueled thriller? Sign me up.

WHO
No. 3 Clemson (14-0) vs. No. 1 LSU (14-0)

WHAT
The College Football Playoff National Championship Game

WHEN
8:00 p.m. ET (8:17 p.m. ET kickoff)

WHERE
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, Louisiana

WHY
Clemson: Beat Ohio State 29-23 in a College Football Playoff semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl
LSU: Beat Oklahoma 63-28 in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Peach Bowl

HEAD COACHES
Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (130-30 in 12 seasons with the Tigers; two national championships)
LSU’s Ed Orgeron (39-9 in four seasons with the Tigers, 55-36 overall)

STATISTICAL LEADERS
Clemson
Passing: Trevor Lawrence, 250-370 (67.6%), 3,431 yards, 36 touchdowns, eight interceptions, sacked 15 times
Rushing: Travis Etienne, 1,536 yards, 18 touchdowns
Receiving: Justyn Ross, 61 receptions; Tee Higgins, 1,115 yards, 13 touchdowns
Punt returns: Amari Rodgers, 9.4 yards per on 16 returns
Kick returns: Joseph Ngata, 23.2 yards per on 14 returns
Punting: Will Spiers, 42.8 yards per, 15 of 44 punts inside the 20
Kicking: B.T. Potter, 12-20 field goals, long of 51; 77-77 extra points
Tackles: James Skalski, 99
Tackles for loss: Isaiah Simmons, 14
Sacks: Simmons, seven
QB Hits: Simmons, 14
Interceptions: Tanner Muse, four
Passes breakups: K’Von Wallace, 10

LSU
Passing: Joe Burrow, 371-478 (77.6%), 5,208 yards, 55 touchdowns, six interceptions, sacked 29 times
Rushing: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, 1,304 yards, 16 touchdowns
Receiving: Justin Jefferson, 102 receptions; Ja'Marr Chase, 1,559 yards; Chase and Jefferson, 18 touchdowns
Punt returns: Derek Stingley Jr., 9.73 per on 15 returns; Trey Palmer, Micah Baskerville, one touchdown each
Kick returns: Edwards-Helaire, 21.4 per on 10 returns
Punting: Zach Von Rosenberg, 42.5 yards per, 18 of 40 inside the 20
Kicking: Cade York, 21-26 field goals, long of 52; 83-87 extra points
Tackles: Jacob Phillips, 105
Tackles for loss: K’Lavon Chaisson, 13½
Sacks: Chaisson, 6½
QB Hits: Chaisson, six
Interceptions: Stingley Jr., six
Passes breakups: Stingly Jr., 15

STATISTICAL MATCHUPS

  • LSU’s 60th-ranked rush offense (167 ypg) vs. Clemson’s 15th-ranked run defense (112.6 ypg)
  • Clemson’s 11th-ranked rush offense (246.1 ypg) vs. Alabama’s 20th-ranked run defense (118 ypg)
  • LSU’s 2nd-ranked pass offense (397.2 ypg) vs. Clemson’s top-ranked pass defense (151.5 ypg)
  • Clemson’s 19th-ranked pass offense (292.2 ypg) vs. LSU’s 56th-ranked pass defense (221.9 ypg)
  • LSU’s top-ranked scoring offense (48.9 ppg) vs. Clemson’s top-ranked scoring defense (11.5 ppg)
  • Clemson’s 4th-ranked scoring offense (45.3 ppg) vs. LSU’s 29th-ranked scoring defense (21.6 ppg)

COMMON OPPONENTS
Texas A&M
Clemson won 24-10 Sept. 7 in Clemson, LSU won 50-7 Nov. 30 in Baton Rouge.

LOSSES
None for either team as this will mark the second time in the six-year history of the College Football Playoff that two undefeated teams will be playing in the national championship game. This will, though, mark back-to-back years both teams have been undefeated.

STREAKS
Clemson — Won 29 straight (last loss: 24-6 to Alabama in a 2017 College Football Playoff semifinal)
LSU — Won 15 straight (last loss: 74-72 to Texas A&M in seven overtimes in 2018 regular-season finale)

PORTFOLIO
Wins vs. bowl teams: Clemson 9, LSU 10
Wins vs. current CFP Top 25 teams: Clemson 2, LSU 5
Wins in true road games: Clemson 5, LSU 5
Wins by 10-plus points: Clemson 12, LSU 11
Wins by 20-plus points: Clemson 11, LSU 10
Wins by 30-plus points: Clemson 11, LSU 6
Wins by 40-plus points: Clemson 6, LSU 3

THE LINE
Clemson, +6 (opened +5½)
Over/under, 69