College football Week 4: Players of the Week from each conference and more
College Player of the Week Thoughts
NC State QB Devin Leary and Oregon S Bennett Williams are Offensive and Defensive players of Week 4.
Cincinnati CB Ahmad Gardner has allowed a passer rating against of just 30.4 in the last three years. CB Kaiir Elam is third.
There’s a player in college named Smoke Monday. And there’s a player in college named Bumper Pool.
Kentucky CB Yusuf Corker leads the SEC in pass breakups with six. He’s a 6’, 197 lbs married father of one and he’s performing so why not start thinking about him for the 2022 NFL Draft? I like a young family man.
South Carolina CB Jaylan Foster leads the SEC in interceptions with four. I am unsure of his relationship status, but I do see that Foster is taking his opportunity for a fifth season and running with it. He didn’t have much of a Division-I career at this point to speak of despite being a redshirt senior in 2020.
Kentucky LB J.J. Weaver has four sacks in four games. Weaver is a redshirt sophomore and he has at least one TFL in every game with at least one sack against all three D-I schools that Kentucky has faced.
DL Tre’ Williams, who transferred to Arkansas this year after four years at Missouri, is on a tear. He had two sacks in Arkansas’ win over Texas A&M and now has four on the year.
Really cool story about a small 5,000-person town in Texas named Aledo, where the high school has been dominating 5A football for over 20 years. Since 1998, Aledo has gone 291-42 under head coach Tim Buchanan, including 9 state championships in the last 12 years. This article is about two Aledo teammates who went to Alabama recently, RB Jase McClellan and WR Jojo Earle. McClelland will be draft eligible beginning in 2023, Earle in 2024.
ProFootballNetwork’s players of the week, I’ll bold the players we’ve discussed here before: QB Christian Anderson, Army; QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt; WR Jordan Addison, Pitt; WR Jameson Williams, Alabama; WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas; RB Ulysses Bentley IV, SMU; WR Xavier Worthy, Texas; RB Sincere McCormick, UTSA.
On defense there was DT Haskell Garrett, Ohio State; S Xavier Henderson, Michigan State; LB Charlie Thomas, Georgia Tech; DL Ali Fayad, Western Michigan; should we review any of these prospects now? The nice thing is that I’m seeing that I’ve got a feel for the RB class now as certain names begin to pop up every week.
The reason we haven’t discussed WR Xavier Worthy is that he is a freshman. Maybe a great one. Worthy has 15 catches for 263 yards and four touchdowns in the first four games of his career.
WR Jordan Addison is a sophomore and therefore also won’t be in the 2022 draft. Addison had 666 yards as a freshman and already has 407 yards with eight touchdowns this year.
Michigan State S Xavier Henderson is a senior and will be in the 2022 draft class. Henderson is 6’1, 210 lbs, and is in his third season as a starter for the Spartans. He has 42 tackles, four TFL, two sacks, and one interception, so he’s off to a rockin’ start. Here, Henderson references Russell Wilson as inspiration for never quitting.
Georgia Tech LB Charlie Thomas could enter the draft next year and his game against UNC in Week 4 might be the final nail in that coffin: Thomas had 2.5 sacks and 4.5 TFL against Sam Howell’s Tar Heels. He also had two interceptions against Kennesaw State earlier in the year. But Thomas was not at all productive after Week 1 in 2020, and he got that way in 2019 too. Will he sustain his success this time?
For a second I as like “Wow, these guys had good weeks!” and then I remembered they were just named players of the week.
Western Michigan DE Ali Fayad will also be in the 2022 draft class. Fayad had six tackles against Michigan State in Week 1, then two TFL against Pitt in Week 3, and two sacks against San Jose State in Week 4. Fayad was going to enter the 2021 draft, but decided to return to school when he heard about the extra year of eligibility granted to everyone.
SEC players of the week for Week 4: QB Emory Jones, Florida; WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas; LB Damone Clark, LSU; KR Jameson Williams, Alabama; DE Tre Williams, Arkansas; C Luke Fortner, Kentucky; TE Brock Bowers, Georgia (Freshman of the Week)
Emory Jones has not been on my top-25 list for QBs and that won’t change this week. But he had 209 passing yards and 144 rushing yards in a win over Tennessee. Statistically, he’s done something that Tim Tebow never did. And yet Tebow was still a better QB prospect, by far.
Arkansas WR Treylon Burks is going to challenge to be in the top-15 of next year’s draft. Burks has put up 90 or more yards in eight of his last 13 games, and he had 167 yards against Texas A&M last week. He’s 6’3, 225 lbs, so he’s not only productive (at a program that doesn’t have an elite passer or passing attack), he’s also going to out-size almost every other receiver in his class. One exception being Drake London, and London might end up as the only receiver drafted ahead of Burks. I’m not going to dismiss all the other candidates at receiver, including Ohio State’s pair, but size has been a rarity at the position and teams will be seeking their own “DK Metcalf.” Burks also had five catches for 37 yards against Texas a couple weeks ago, so I’ll caution before overreacting, but he’s looking closer to a first round lock than ever.
Alabama WR/KR and transfer (so he’s draft eligible) Jameson Williams had two kickoff return touchdowns against Southern Miss last week, plus an 81-yard touchdown grab. Williams has 299 yards through four games. I imagine that he will be at Alabama for longer than a year, as he only caught 15 passes in two years at Ohio State prior to transferring.
Kentucky C/G Luke Fortner made 23 starts at right guard prior to 2021. He moved to center this year and he’s now won SEC OL of the Week twice in four chances. Yeah.
ACC Players of the Week: QB Devin Leary, NC State (So.); RB Pat Garwo, Boston College (So.); WR Emeka Emezie, NC State; OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State (So.); DL Cody Roscoe, Syracuse; LB Baylon Spector, Clemson; LB Charlie Thomas, Georgia Tech; CB Brandon Sebastian, Boston College (Gr.); KR Tayvion Robinson, Virginia Tech (So.); PK Nick Sciba, Wake Forest; FR RB Rodney Hammond, Jr., Pitt
Lots of new names. We know that NC State G Ikem Ekwonu is one of the top-rated OL in the 2022 NFL Draft. Potentially a first round pick. I may have mentioned Baylon Spector because his name sounds like “bale inspector”. Charlie Thomas we just talked about.
LB Baylon Spector had 19 tackles.
QB Devin Leary is a redshirt sophomore with considerable experience, having already thrown 468 attempts in college. He has 10 TD and 2 INT this season, but is only averaging 7.0 yards per attempt.
RB Pat Garwo is also a redshirt sophomore and not likely a 2022 draft prospect.
NC State WR Emeka Emezie is a senior though and he has 28 catches for 302 yards in four games this year after posting 738 yards in 12 games last season. He’s listed at 6’3, 220, so even more size than some of the other big guys. He hasn’t been dominant, just steady, but he had 14 catches for 116 yards against Clemson and I do know that Clemson at least has a first round CB in Andrew Booth so what’s going on there?
The 6’1, 275 lb DL Cody Roscoe has eight tackles for a loss in his last three games, against Rutgers, Albany, and Liberty.
CB Brandon Sebastian has two interceptions this season and now six over his four-year career at Boston College.
I wonder what our brains — my brain and yours, the reader who has been following me along the 2022 draft road this year — are going to be like in four months, when the NFL season is just about over and the 2022 draft season begins. I’ve never done this before. Though I’ve cherished the draft for over 20 years, I’ve never spent a whole year researching it thoroughly before it began. I wonder how our grasp of the 2022 draft class will feel when the 2022 NFL Draft begins and the Giants are on the clock. I can’t wait to find out!
Oh and yes, Grayson McCall still leads the nation in completion rate, yards per attempt, passer rating, and adjusted yards per attempt. Also, Coastal Carolina has reached an agreement to play Virginia, beginning next year. If McCall does return for a fourth year, Coastal Carolina might start the season in the top-10 and with a unique shot to make an expanded playoff format.