Two of the best quarterbacks and most explosive offenses in all of football will battle it out on the Bayou for college football’s national title on Monday night. The Heisman winner, and likely 2020 number one overall pick, versus a quarterback that has yet to lose a collegiate game and that some believe would have been the top pick after his freshman season.
Both teams are led by former interim coaches and are absolutely loaded at the skill positions on the offensive side of the ball. Everything about this game leads many to think that it will be a high-scoring affair and must-watch television.
As a fan of the sport of football, it is hard to not be excited for Monday evening. We give you three players on the offensive side of the football — besides Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence — to watch during the national championship clash.
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Arguably the best skill position player in a game that is loaded with them is Clemson junior wide receiver Tee Higgins. The former five-star prospect has tore up opposing defensive backs during his three seasons for the Tigers.
In those seasons for Dabo Swinney’s squad, Higgins has caught 132 passes for 2,396 yards and a whopping 27 touchdowns — including 12 last season and a career-high 13 in 2019. The reigning national champion’s go-to target is averaging just under 20 yards per reception (19.9, to be exact) this season, proving that he is an explosive playmaker.
Over 36% of Tee Higgins targets resulting in an explosive play of 15+ yards— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 9, 2020
16% above FBS average. pic.twitter.com/yL7FtKRiFO
Higgins is currently dealing with an upper-body injury, but the belief is that the potential first-rounder will be good to go for Monday. His battle against the talented LSU secondary will be a treat to watch.
Check out Tee Higgins on Monday. Best time to evaluate him is against 2 of the top corners in the country. He’s not going to test very well at the combine but the tape is great pic.twitter.com/lGGXelLCSe— Chris Mallee (@mallee_chris_24) January 8, 2020
Lloyd Cushenberry, OC, LSU
Joe Burrow and his weapons get the hype (and they are very deserving), but LSU’s offensive line play was elite this season, a big reason in why the Tigers were so explosive in both the passing and running game.
The offensive line earned the 2019 Joe Moore Award, given to the nation’s best offensive line, and junior center Lloyd Cushenberry was a big factor in that. The former three-star recruit fell a little bit under the radar as a high school prospect, but he has developed into a legitimate NFL prospect. This is what The Athletic’s Dane Brugler wrote on the Louisiana native:
Cushenberry is arguably the most talented player on LSU’s offensive front five, which recently won the Joe Moore Award as college football’s top offensive line. He still needs technique work, but he is a smooth mover with the body flexibility and power to develop into an NFL starter.
If you didn't know already, Lloyd Cushenberry is a dude. Nice work from the entire O-line really. LSU had a lot of success running left against UT. pic.twitter.com/VC5TnWKcb0— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) September 10, 2019
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Much like the other LSU Tiger mentioned, Justin Jefferson fell under the radar and was lightly recruited coming out of high school. The brother of former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson had just three other offers, including only one other from a Power 5 program. Some even thought Jefferson was a walk-on when he arrived at LSU as a freshman.
“Coach really put his trust in me and gave me a chance here, and I’m very happy that he did,” Jefferson said at Thursday’s Peach Bowl Media Day. “Everybody thought I was a walk-on. I had a walk-on locker. I came late, but I definitely had that chip on the shoulder. I had something to prove.”
Jefferson, though, has had a breakout season in 2019 thanks to the emergence of Burrow and the LSU passing offense. The Louisiana native has set career highs in 2019 in catches (102), yards (1,434), and touchdowns (18!). He is averaging 14 yards per reception and has become a nightmare for defenses to prepare for.
Oklahoma witnessed first-hand the damage that Jefferson can cause as the LSU wideout caught 14 balls for 227 yards and an absurd five touchdowns. He was simply unguardable in the CFP semifinals.
The number 37 ranked player on Brugler’s board has showed each and every week this season that he is capable of producing. Here is what Brugler wrote on Jefferson in his latest top-100 big board:
37. *Justin Jefferson, WR7, LSU (6-3, 192, 4.53)
Although he won’t run the fastest 40-yard dash, Jefferson is an easy player to appreciate due to his toughness, play strength and details at the position. Lining up primarily in the slot in 2019, he uses subtle quickness at the stem to stack and separate from coverage, breaking tackles after the catch.
Can Jefferson continue his extraordinary junior season in the national championship?