2020 National Championship Game: Isaiah Simmons, Tee Higgins highlight Clemson's draft prospects in big game
As usual, Clemson will line up with plenty of draft prospects in the national title game
Dabo Swinney has created a college football powerhouse at Clemson, a program that not only perennially competes for national titles but also pumps out serious NFL prospects every season.
Six Clemson Tigers have gone in the first round over the past four drafts, including three defensive linemen in 2019. Altogether, 24 Clemson products have been drafted in that time frame. The elite draft talent is more diverse from a position-perspective in 2020 for Swinney's squad, and it features quality mid-round talent.
Let's dive deep on the 2020 prospects from Clemson in this year's national title game.
Isaiah Simmons, S/LB
Simmons will be the biggest athletic freak show on the field in a game loaded with future NFL talent. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds with long arms and explosive acceleration that lends itself to outstanding range as a tackler and in coverage, Simmons represents the prototype for the modern nickel linebacker, although he's spent a fair amount of time in a traditional safety role this season. Before this showdown with LSU, the junior has 97 total tackles -- 14.5 of them for a loss -- with six pass breakups, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He's everywhere.
Tee Higgins, WR
Higgins is 6-4 and around 215 pounds with ridiculous ball skills and a gigantic catch radius. But he's far from your classic tall, jump-ball wideout. He's silky smooth off the line against press coverage and is sudden with the ball in his hands. Beyond all that, he has serious long speed, so he's a threatening downfield option. Higgins currently has 56 grabs for 1,115 yards (19.9 yards per) with 13 touchdowns on the year. The Clemson offense started to mount its comeback against Ohio State after Higgins returned to the field in the second half. He has a legit No. 1 profile.
A.J. Terrell, CB
Terrell's production -- just two pass breakups and two picks on the year -- doesn't stand out. His mirroring skills do. At 6-1 and 190 pounds, he has ideal size to match up with large receivers on the perimeter and the twitch to stay in the hip pocket of most smaller, quick pass catchers. Terrell's battle with Biletnikoff Award winner Ja'Marr Chase will play a major role in the outcome of this game, and it'll be a fine litmus test for the likely 2020 draft prospect.
Travis Etienne, RB
Etienne enters this game averaging a ridiculous 8.0 yards per attempt (1,536 yards on 192 carries) with 18 rushing touchdowns. He's also been an impact player in the pass game with 32 receptions for 396 yards (12.4 yards per) with four scores. He's an electric slasher with feature back size at 5-11 and 210-ish pounds. He runs a little high, which means it takes him a split second longer than most backs to deploy a lateral jump cut, but with Etienne, you're expecting efficient yardage accumulation via North-South running and speed-to-power conversion in the open field that leads to an insane amount of broken tackles.
Tremayne Anchrum, OL
Anchrum has locked down the right side of the Clemson line for the past two seasons and has made 36 starts in his career heading into this game. Because he's not a long blocker on the edge at only 6-2 and 315 pounds, many teams will view him as a guard at the NFL level. He can get stretched to the limit athletically against defensive ends but, if he's a guard, his movement skills would instantly be considered above average, and his low center of gravity will help him win the leverage battle.
John Simpson, IOL
Simpson has experience at both guard positions and 28 starts to his name at Clemson. At 6-4 and 330 pounds, he's already at NFL size and has a mauling style in the run game. While not a fleet-footed blocker, he works effectively when getting to the second level and has a quality anchor in pass protection. There's nothing that really stands out about his game, but he should be on the Day 2 or early Day 3 radar and has starting potential.
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