Categories: NFL Draft

Citrus Bowl: College Football News, Player Opt-Out Tracker & Game Preview (LSU vs. Purdue)

Thor Nystrom tracks players opting out of upcoming bowl games as well as the coaching changes around the college football landscape. Thor will update the article through the remainder of the season to keep you updated on bowl games, college prospects, and the 2023 NFL Draft.

And below we’ll take a closer look at the upcoming bowl game.

Check out Thor’s projections for all college football bowl games >>

Citrus Bowl: College Football News, Player Opt-Out Tracker & Game Preview (LSU vs. Purdue)

  • Monday, January 2 | 12:00 PM
  • LSU (-14.5) vs. Purdue | Total: 57
  • ATL: LSU -15.3 | ATT: 55.5


  • QB Jayden Daniels (Injury)
  • RB ​​Armoni Goodwin (Injury)
  • WR Jack Bech (Transfer portal)
  • WR Kyren Lacy (Injury)
  • WR Jaray Jenkins (Opt-out)
  • WR Chris Hilton Jr. (Injury)
  • TE Kole Taylor (Transfer portal)
  • OG Xavier Hill (Transfer portal)
  • OT Cam Wire (Transfer portal)
  • OT Marcus Dumervil (Transfer portal)
  • DT Maason Smith (Injury)
  • NT Jaquelin Roy (Opt-out)
  • EDGE B.J. Ojulari (Opt-out)
  • EDGE Ali Gaye (Opt-out)
  • EDGE Desmond Little (Transfer portal)
  • LB Kolbe Fields (Transfer portal)
  • LB Phillip Webb (Transfer portal)
  • CB Jay Ward (Opt-out)
  • CB Sevyn Banks (Injury)
  • CB Jaelyn Davis-Robinson (Transfer portal)
  • CB Damarius McGhee (Transfer portal)
  • CB Mekhi Garner (Opt-out)
  • S Derrick Davis Jr. (Transfer portal)

QB Daniels played hurt at the end of the regular season. Following the finale against Texas A&M in late-November, he was in a walking boot. And though Daniels was able to start the SEC Championship a week later, he limped off the field and didn’t finish it.

After the game, HC Brian Kelly confirmed Daniels aggravated the ankle injury. Kelly said Daniels would need 7-10 days to fully recover. Ostensibly, that should mean Daniels will be healthy for this game. If he’s not, QB2 Garrett Nussmeier will draw the start. That’s undoubtedly a downgrade, though Nussmeier did flash arm talent in his looks this fall.

WR Jenkins declared for the NFL Draft and said he won’t play in the bowl game. He posted 27 catches for 404 yards and six TD in 2022. WR Lacy suffered an undisclosed injury against Texas A&M and left the game early. WR Bech’s season was interrupted by injuries – he posted 16 catches for 200 yards and one TD. Bech transferred to TCU.

Fortunately, LSU WR Kayshon Boutte, the team’s most dangerous receiver, surprisingly announced he will return for the 2023 season. Boutte, along with WRs Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr., will need to play heavy snaps in this game.

EDGE Ojulari declared for the NFL Draft and opted-out. Ojulari was followed by EDGE Gaye and NT Roy, who each made the same decisions. And with that, DT Mekhi Wingo remained as LSU lone remaining starting defensive lineman left standing for the bowl game.

Ojulari formed a scary pass-rushing duo with young LB Harold Perkins this fall – it’ll be Perkins’ responsibility to pick up the slack in the bowl game. Ward also started, but posted a measly 53.5 PFF grade this fall.

CB Ward and CB Garner also declared and will sit. Garner had 43 tackles and a team-high eight pass deflections in his one year starting at LSU after transferring over from ULL. Garner accepted an invitation to the Shrine Bowl.

CB Bank is questionable with a spinal cord bruise. RB Goodwin is out for the season with a knee injury. WR Hilton Jr. underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in October. DT Smith was shut down in September with a torn ACL.


  • QB Aidan O’Connell (Opt-out)
  • RB Kobe Lewis (Transfer portal)
  • RB King Doerue (Injury)
  • WR Charlie Jones (Opt-out)
  • WR Elijah Canion (Injury)
  • WR Broc Thompson (Injury)
  • TE Payne Durham (Opt-out)
  • OG Spencer Holstege (Transfer portal)
  • DT Greg Hudgins III (Transfer portal)
  • CB Cory Trice (Opt-out)
  • S Chris Jefferson (Personal)

Purdue has been decimated by opt-outs. QB O’Connell, WR Jones, TE Durham, LG Holstege and CB Trice were all starters. All but Holstege declared for the draft and opted-out – Holstege is transferring to UCLA.

QB O’Connell, a second-team All-Big Ten selection, led the conference in the regular season with 290.8 YPG passing. He finished with 22 TD and 3,490 yards this fall.

WR Jones led the nation with 110 catches, adding 1,361 yards receiving and 12 TD, in his first year at the school after transferring from Iowa. Jones was a semifinalist for the 2022 Biletnikoff Award.

TE Durham, a second-team All-Big Ten honoree, posted a 56-560-8 receiving line. Between the defections of O’Connell, Jones, and Durham, a once-scary Purdue passing attack is now toothless. Sixth-year QB2 Austin Burton will start in place of O’Connell, with redshirt junior QB3 Michael Alaimo the backup.

It doesn’t help Purdue that WRs Canion and Thompson – expected to be larger contributors this year – were limited to 59 combined snaps in the fall due to injury. It would be surprising if either is back for the bowl.

Unfortunately, the defense didn’t escape opt-outs unscathed. CB Trice had 10 pass deflections and two interceptions in 2022. S Jefferson, who began the season as a fellow-starter in the secondary, left the team in October to focus on his mental health.

Coaching news

Former HC Jeff Brohm left to take the head coaching position at his alma mater Louisville. Interestingly, Purdue named his brother, OC Brian Brohm, interim HC for the bowl game. DC Ron English did immediately follow Jeff Brohm to Louisville – English won’t coach in this game. Purdue hired Illinois DC Ryan Walters to replace Brohm. Walters is not involved with bowl prep.

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