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Ed Orgeron not expecting Arden Key to play in LSU opener

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One of the top prospects in college football, LSU LB Arden Key, will likely be sidelined when the Tigers open the season against BYU on Sept. 2, coach Ed Orgeron said Thursday night. Key is recovering from shoulder surgery and has been limited in preseason practice.

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"I don't think so," Orgeron said when he was asked if he expected to have Key available for the opener, per the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "I'm not sure but I don't think so. I'm not expecting it. But nothing that dude does surprises me. He's going to go to his doctor next week and we should know pretty soon when he's going to play."

Key, who recorded a school-record 12 sacks last season as a sophomore, underwent shoulder surgery earlier this summer and took a leave from the team in the spring. He could enter the 2018 NFL Draft if he chooses to file for early draft eligibility after the season. NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein ranked Key the No. 1 pass rusher to watch in college football this season.

"He's not hitting. He's going through some walkthrough stuff and he had his pads on. I had to take him out the drills. He wants to go," Orgeron said. "He's stepping through stuff, using his hands, reading his keys. Does some pass-rush moves. Runs around. But he's not taking any contact."

For both LSU and NFL scouts looking to evaluate his pro potential, Key's return can't come soon enough. Following the BYU game -- which has been relocated from Houston's NRG Stadium to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey -- LSU plays Chattanooga on Sept. 9, then its SEC opener at Mississippi State on Sept. 16.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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