Happy New Year 49er Faithful! We continue our college football bowl coverage breakdown highlighting and profiling a few notable draft-eligible prospects you should pay attention to. This will help people build a list of names to know when we get into the offseason. For today's bowl action we take a look at No. 20 LSU vs. No. 13 Louisville match-up and Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky match-up. We’ll have a separate thread for tonight’s college playoff semifinal games. Before we get things started, I have listed the top five draft-eligible players both on the offensive and the defensive sides of the ball playing in today's match-ups. So, sit back, put your scouting hat on, and let's get things started with today's action.
Top 5 Players on Offense
*RB Leonard Fournette, No. 7, 6'1" - 235 lbs., 4.45 40 - (1st) - LSU
C Ethan Pocic, No. 77, 6'7" - 302 lbs., 5.18 40 - (2nd-3rd) - LSU
*WR Malachi Dupre, No. 15, 6'4" - 195 lbs., 4.56 40 - (3rd) - LSU
WR Travin Dural, No. 83, 6'2" - 207 lbs., sub 4.4 40 - (3rd-4th) - LSU
WR James Quick, No. 17, 6'1" - 180 lbs., 4.39 40 - (5th) - Louisville
Top 5 Players on Defense
*SS Jamal Adams, No. 33, 6'1" - 213 lbs., 4.54 40 - (1st) - LSU
CB Tre'Davious White, No. 18, 6'0" - 197 lbs., 4.50 40 - (2nd) - LSU
OLB Devonte Fields, No. 92, 6'3" - 245 lbs., 4.72 40 - (3rd) - Louisville
SS Josh Harvey-Clemons, No. 25, 6'4" - 228 lbs., 4.59 40 - (3rd-4th) - Louisville
ILB Kendell Beckwith, No. 52, 6'2" - 247 lbs., 4.82 40 - (3rd-5th) - LSU - Torn ACL
* = indicates junior status
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
No. 20 LSU Tigers vs. No. 13 Louisville Cardinals
Conference Affiliations: SEC vs. ACC
Location: Orlando, FL | Camping World Stadium
Game time: 8:00 AM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: $305 Best Buy shopping trip; Timely Watch Co. watch; EA Sports video game; ISlide sandals; $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card.
LSU's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
*WR Malachi Dupre, No. 15, 6'4" - 195 lbs., 4.56 40 - (3rd)
*WR Malachi Dupre is a large target big-play receiver showcasing excellent body control, superb ball skills (amazing focus), impressive leaping ability attacking the ball at its highest point, strong hands, and the long-strider speed and athleticism to consistently make the big catch. With already a knack for getting open deep as an ideal vertical threat over the top, the former No. 1 receiver prospect out of high school also displays decent route running (area in need of improvement) and is fierce underneath showing superb concentration, and the strength in his hands plucking balls out of the sky (impressive catching radius) making tough plays in traffic. Does not possess the ideal suddenness breaking in and out of his cuts, but utilizes his size/frame well to win contested catches. Shows great success as a physical and effective run blocker.
There is no question the 49ers are severely lacking talent at the wide receiver position. Dupre adds size, speed, and big-play ability the 49ers could definitely utilize, as well as being one of the better blockers at the position.
Other Tigers to keep an eye on: *SS Jamal Adams, No. 33 - (1st); CB Tre'Davious White, No. 18 - (2nd); C Ethan Pocic, No. 77 - (2nd-3rd); Travin Dural, No. 83 - (3rd-4th); DE Lewis Neal, No. 92 - (6th); OLB/ILB Duke Riley, No. 40 - (6th); TE Colin Jeter, No. 81 - (7th-UDFA); and DE/OLB Tashawn Bower, No. 46 - (7th-UDFA).
Noticeable Tigers missing today's action: *RB Leonard Fournette, No. 7 - (1st); ILB Kendell Beckwith, No. 52 - (3rd-5th) torn ACL; and FS Rickey Jefferson, No. 9 - (6th) broken ankle.
Louisville's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
OLB Devonte Fields, No. 92, 6'3" - 245 lbs., 4.72 40 - (3rd)
OLB Devonte Fields is a natural pass rusher with a quick first-step flashing top level first round talent, has an excellent combination of size, speed, explosion, and athleticism, with great fluidity, balance, bend, and change of direction skills. A terror off the edge with superb bendability and his effortless change of direction capabilities as well as terrific speed (closes in a heartbeat), Fields is a pass rush specialist with the potential to be a top-tier edge threat at the next level. Will need to gain functional strength at the next level in order set the edge and shed blocker with power. Displays good ability to drop in coverage with fluid movement. Fields had a very impressive freshman year at TCU in 2012 (53 TKLS, 18.5 TFL, 10 sacks), but injuries (played with a torn labrum from Week 4 of the 2015 season) and off-field issues (alleged assault of an ex-girlfriend) have halted his progress. Fields would bring solid skills off the edge for the 49ers; however, the off-field red-flags he comes with will require some serious background checks.
Other Cardinals to keep an eye on: SS Josh Harvey-Clemons, No. 25 - (3rd-4th); WR James Quick, No. 17 - (5th); TE Cole Hikutini, No. 18 - (5th); ILB Keith Kelsey, No. 55 - (5th); RB Brandon Radcliff, No. 23 - (6th); DT DeAngelo Brown, No. 97 - (6th); and WR Jamari Staples, No. 2 - (7th).
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Kentucky Wildcats
Conference Affiliations: ACC vs. SEC
Location: Jacksonville, FL | EverBank Field
Game time: 8:00 AM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Fossil watch; carry-on bag; Under Armour sunglasses; football; bobblehead with player’s face, name and uniform number.
Georgia Tech's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
C Freddie Burden, No. 58, 6'4" - 299 lbs., 5.17 40 - (7th-UDFA)
C Freddie Burden is an explosive and athletic center prospect that fires off the snap with an impressive first-step and can reach the second level in a heartbeat. Burden excels in run blocking, but tends to be a waist bender overextending himself losing balance and going to the ground far too often for a player with his athletic ability. Smart and instinctive prospect and will need to gain core strength at the next level. Does a good a job in pass protection (good punch) sliding laterally adjusting well to movement.
With Daniel Kilgore and Marcus Martin both entering their final contract year in 2017 and recently converted defensive tackle Alex Balducci still learning the position, Burden brings depth at the position likely battling Balducci for a roster spot with the potential to be a backup.
Other Yellow Jackets to keep an eye on: DT Francis Kallon, No. 92 - (7th-UDFA) and DT Patrick Gamble, No. 91 - (7th-UDFA).
Kentucky's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
C Jon Toth, No. 72, 6'5" - 310 lbs., 5.26 40 - (5th)
C Jon Toth is an intellectual mauler with great size, strength, technique, toughness, and athleticism. The former high school basketball, lacrosse, and track and field star has good athletic ability displaying a quick first step, solid foot agility snapping the football and moving laterally with fluidity, and is able to set quickly in pass protection. Toth displays a great ability to anchor the pocket setting a solid base of the pocket with sound balance and body-control allowing the quarterback to step up. Showcases a great ability to adjust well in space with his quick feet sliding laterally adjusting to movement. He's a highly intelligent (graduated with a mechanical engineering degree) high football intelligence and awareness prospect that commands the offense line with precision and authority. Consistent in shotgun snaps. Shows durability starting 47 straight games at center, the longest streak in the nation, and he leads the team with 69 knockdown blocks and 195 blocks at the point of attack.
With Daniel Kilgore and Marcus Martin both entering their final contract year in 2017 and recently converted defensive tackle Alex Balducci still learning the position, Toth brings solid depth at the position likely battling Martin for the backup and eventual replacement of Daniel Kilgore.
Other Wildcats to keep an eye on: DE Courtney Miggins, No. 94 - (7th-UDFA).