Christian LaCouture has the edge on any other LSU defender when it comes to playing against Notre Dame’s No. 2 quarterback.
The Fighting Irish (7-5) plan to use starter Everett Golson and sophomore Malik Zaire against LSU (8-4) in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30, coach Brian Kelly told reporters earlier this week.
Zaire has thrown just 20 passes this season, so scouting him isn’t easy. At least one player knows about him.
LaCouture, LSU’s starting defensive tackle, played against Zaire in a high school all-star game in California a couple of years ago. He’s seen film on Golson, too.
“They’re both relatively similar,” LaCouture said. “They’re both guys who can throw and run it. At the same time, we’re going to have to look at those two and see what separates them from what they do — strength and weaknesses.”
A former four-star prospect from Ohio, Zaire entered for a benched Golson during Notre Dame’s regular-season finale at Southern California, a 49-14 loss. Golson has thrown at least one interception in nine straight games. He’s thrown four picks once and two picks twice during that stretch.
Zaire went 9 of 20 for 170 yards against the Trojans. Kelly has somewhat opened up the quarterback job during bowl practice and expects to play both.
What’s that mean for LSU? Nothing, coach Les Miles said.
“They’re doing the same things. It’s just they’re doing it with two different guys. One guy will be predominantly be one style of quarterback. The other guy will be predominantly ... there will be other things he does more significantly.”
Zaire is known to be more of a runner. He was the No. 5-ranked dual threat QB in the nation in 2013, and he excels in the zone-read play.
Report: Collins likely going pro
Junior cornerback Jalen Collins is likely to enter the NFL draft, according to a report from Yahoo Sports.
The report from Rand Getlin, citing anonymous sources, says Collins is widely considered to be a lock to enter the draft, and he has met with agents. Getlin also reported that junior defensive end Danielle Hunter is leaning toward staying in school.
Two sources close to the team told The Advocate that no definitive decisions have been made.
Collins, when asked about the draft Wednesday, said he had not made a decision. He said he had requested a grade from the NFL Advisory Committee.
Hunter declined to answer a question about his possible decision to go pro.
“I’m not here to talk about that right now. I just want to talk about Notre Dame at the moment please,” he said Wednesday.
Hunter, a junior from Texas, is projected by many as a second-round NFL draft pick. Rob Rang, a draft analyst for CBSSports.com, said Hunter could be a top-50 pick and “potentially much higher than that.”
Collins has been listed as high as a third-round selection on some mock drafts. Earlier this year, Rang called junior safety Jalen Mills and Collins “interesting players” who make “flashy plays.”
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.