Brian Kelly had to take away Malik Nabers’ equipment during bowl game because he wanted to keep playing

Heading into the 2024 NFL draft, there are three receiver prospects who are seen as can’t-miss, elite players: Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze and LSU’s Malik Nabers.

Nabers is widely projected as a top-10 pick, and Brian Kelly explained during an appearance on Good Morning Football ahead of the first round of the draft on Thursday morning that while Nabers has all the athletic ability you look for, his drive is what really sets him apart.

“He can do everything, he’s a Swiss army knife,” Kelly said. “You can play him in the slot, you can play him outside, he can beat you one-on-one, all of those things. But he is an ultra-competitive player.”

Kelly relayed an anecdote from the ReliaQuest Bowl when Nabers made the somewhat surprising decision not to opt out. He ultimately set the program’s all-time receiving record in the game before sitting the rest of the way.

But now we know that wasn’t his choice. Kelly had to take away his equipment to keep him from checking back into the game.

“I had to take his equipment from him in the bowl game when most guys, you can’t even get them to play in a bowl game,” he said. “So this is a guy who loves to play the game of football, and in this day and age, sometimes it’s about guys that love to play. And he just loves to play the game.”

It’s clear motivation is not a problem for Nabers, and that will certainly be a desirable trait as he looks to make it at the next level.

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Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire