Star pass rusher Arden Key will not play in LSU's bowl game

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts carries the ball before being tackled by LSU linebacker Arden Key during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Arden Key will not play in the Citrus Bowl.

LSU coach Ed Orgeron told reporters Wednesday that Key, the Tigers’ star pass rusher, will not suit up against Notre Dame (9-3) in Orlando on Jan. 1. Orgeron said Key’s absence is injury-related. The news means Key, who has been hampered by various injuries throughout the year, has likely played his final college game. The junior is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft should he declare as expected.

Key played in eight games this season for the Tigers (9-3) and totaled 33 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. As a sophomore, Key set the LSU single-season record for sacks with 12. In his first two seasons, he registered 97 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 17 sacks combined.

Key made his season debut Sept. 16 against Mississippi State after working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery. Before that, he took a leave of absence from the team in February and returned in June.

Orgeron also confirmed that starting senior linebackers Corey Thompson and Donnie Alexander will also miss the Citrus Bowl.

Like Key, Thompson and Alexander have dealt with injuries throughout the year.

From The Advocate:

Alexander, an Edna Karr product, underwent a second surgery to his injured shoulder recently, and Thompson, a Texas native, has battled a multitude of injuries over his six-year career with the Tigers. Alexander has missed all five bowl practices so far, and Thompson has been missing from the last three days of drills. Both players battled through injury-riddled seasons. Alexander missed three games this season with shoulder and neck issues.

Alexander finished the season with 51 tackles and a sack while Thompson accumulated 43 tackles, seven tackles for loss and six sacks.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!