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#CFBTop25: No. 4, Arden Key, OLB, LSU

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Aaron M. Sprecher/AP

Arden Key enters the 2017 season as arguably the top pass rusher in college football.

He set an LSU single-season record, recording 12 sacks in 2016 as he used his length and explosiveness to dominate off the edge. He's bulked up in the offseason and is now listed at 6-foot-6, 265 pounds (was previously listed at 238). analyst Daniel Jeremiah has likened him to Pro Football Hall of Famer Jason Taylor.

Key is working his way back from June shoulder surgery, however, after taking a leave from the team in the spring for what the school called "personal reasons". LSU head coach Ed Orgeron isn't expecting Key to play in the season opener and it's not yet clear when he'll be ready for game action.

While questions linger about his playing status, he's been selected to the preseason watch lists for the Bednarik, Maxwell, Camp and Butkus awards.

Pulling back the curtain on the vote

Key received votes from all seven CFB 24/7 experts, including two top-five votes. He's one of nine players who received a vote from every analyst, and he's the second-highest rated defensive player in the #CFBTop25 countdown.

CFB 24/7 is marking the days to the start of the 2017 season by counting down the top 25 players in college football.

What some of our analysts are saying about Key

"Key is an ultra-productive edge rusher and he has the ideal build for the position. He uses his length and closing burst to wreak havoc on opponents. However, he does need to be more consistent this fall." -- Daniel Jeremiah

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"Long, rangy pass rusher with spectacular first-step quickness and bend-and-burst ability. Key has a terrific feel for getting to the quarterback (17 career sacks), but questions about his strength and power will cloud his evaluation." -- Bucky Brooks

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"Surprise, surprise -- another elite defender from LSU. The best pure pass rusher in the country when he's on his game. Continues to work on adding to his repertoire of pass rush moves." -- Charles Davis

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"Key's playing status for the upcoming season is a bit of a mystery at this point, but when he's healthy, he'll continue to confound tackles with his unorthodox rush approach and impressive closing burst." -- Lance Zierlein

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"Quarterbacks will see the long, tall end/linebacker-hybrid rusher come off the edge in their nightmares." -- Chad Reuter

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"There isn't a quicker first step in the country off the edge, and this year, Key has added some size to go with it." -- Chase Goodbread

Where do fans rank Key?

We asked Twitter users who they considered the best player in college football. Key didn't receive a vote. It's a bit surprising to see him go without any fan support, given his standing as a star pass rusher at a powerhouse program that receives a lot of national attention. Scouts are well aware of Key, of course, and they're eager to see him return to the field.

Follow College Football 24/7 on Twitter @NFL_CFB.



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