Just when you think you’ve seen the best that college football’s top players have to offer, another week of incredible action comes around to blow you away. Week 11 was no different, with record-setting showings and eye-popping performances a-plenty.
Who were the best of the best from the past week? Introducing the CFN College Football Players of the Week.
Week 11 College Football Players of the Week
Quarterback of the Week: Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma
After a rough two weeks for the Oklahoma Sooners, Dillon Gabriel game out and reminded everyone why he will be remembered as one of the top college football players to play the game over the past few years. Gabriel was the driving force behind the Sooners’ dominant 59-20 whooping of a West Virginia team that ranked highly in the Big 12 across several passing defense metrics coming into Week 11.
Gabriel kicked off a record-setting night with a two-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter that cancelled out the only lead WVU would have all night. What followed was an awe-inspiring performance that would have been described as “Heisman-worthy” if not for the losses of the past two weeks.
After adding another touchdown run in the first quarter, Gabriel took to ruthlessly dissecting the Mountaineers through the air, finding Austin Stogner and Jayden Gibson for touchdown strikes in the second quarter and ensuring that Sooners took a 31-14 lead in at the half.
The decimation of the WVU defense continued in the second half as Gabriel put the game out of sight. By the time Davis Bevell entered the game late in the fourth, the Sooners starter had tallied 423 passing yards, 50 rushing yards, and eight total touchdowns — a school record that beat the previous best set by Baker Mayfield with seven scores against Texas Tech in 2016.
Honorable mentions: Jayden Daniels, LSU; Kaidon Salter, Liberty; Jalen Milroe, Alabama; Nicholas Vattiato, Middle Tennessee; John Paddock, Illinois; Jordan McLeod, James Madison; Jayden Maiava, UNLV; Gunnar Watson, Troy.
Offensive Player of the Week: Cody Schrader, RB, Missouri
Two years ago, he was ripping up FCS defenses at DII Truman State. In Week 11 of the 2023 college football season, Cody Schrader established himself amongst the top college football players with a dominant performance that earns him the CFN Offensive Player of the Week Award.
The Missouri RB was an unstoppable, multi-faceted, freak of nature in the Tigers win over Tennessee — their first win against the Vols since 2018. Schrader’s only score of the afternoon gave Eli Drinkwitz’s team a second-quarter lead they’d never relinquish. While he didn’t find the end zone again, Schrader rushed for 205 yards and added 116 receiving yards.
The 321 total yards was just 12 short of a program record that has stood since 1998. However, he set a new conference standard as the first player in SEC history with 200 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in a single game. He’s only the 10th players in FBS history to achieve the feat.
The Missouri RB was hoisted in the air by his teammates after the game, prompting Schrader to tell the media: “I’m just extremely blessed to be part of this team. I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life.”
Honorable mentions: Reggie Brown, WR, James Madison; Isaiah Williams, WR, Illinois; Ta’Ron Keith, RB, Bowling Green; Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State; Damien Martinez, RB, Oregon State; Peny Boone, RB, Toledo; Frank Gore, RB, Southern Miss; Donaven McCulley, WR, Indiana; Kairee Robinson, RB, San Jose State.
Defensive Player of the Week: Javon Solomon, EDGE, Troy
One, two, Javon Solomon’s coming for you. Three, four, your quarterback is going to the floor. Coincidentally, the latter number is how many sacks the Troy Trojans pass rusher racked up in the 45-14 win over Louisiana-Monroe as the Trojans booked their ticket to the Sun Belt Championship Game behind one of the most dominant defensive performances you’ll see.
Continuing the record-setting theme of our College Football Players of the Week, Solomon tied the Troy single-game sack record held by Osi Umenyiora. Alongside teammate Richard Jibunor, the team tallied the second most sacks in an FBS game this season. Solomon was explosive off the edge, relentless in pursuit, and ferocious when making contact, despite facing an offensive line that has received recognition this season.
Honorable mentions: Terrion Arnold, DB, Alabama; Ty Wise, LB, Miami (OH); Keye Thompson, LB, Ohio; Dorian Strong, DB, Virginia Tech; Kalen DeLoach, LB, FSU; Cade Uluave, LB, Cal; Richard Jibunor, EDGE, Troy; Trey Moore, EDGE, UTSA.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Andrew Conrad, K, East Carolina
If you take Andrew Conrad out of East Carolina’s road trip to Florida Atlantic, the Pirates and Owls might still be duking it out in overtime. After Gerald Green gave the road team an early lead in the first quarter, the former walk-on who earned a scholarship this fall took over and guided the Pirates to their first win in the AAC in the 2023 college football season.
Conrad’s 46-yard field goal within the first minute in the second quarter gave East Carolina a 10-0 lead that they never relinquished. He added four more field goals — all over 40 yards — to go a perfect five of five on the night plus the converted extra point on the opening touchdown. The Pirates placekicker nailed two 46-yarders, plus kicks from 47, 43, and 40 yards.
Honorable mentions: Jack Browning, P, San Diego State; Shedro Louis, KR, Tulane; Camden Wise, K, James Madison; Keionte Scott, PR, Auburn; Matthew Hayball, P, Vanderbilt.
Freshman Player of the Week: Khalil Barnes, S, Clemson
Their present might have been doubted at every turn this season, but the Clemson Tigers future is in great hands after a dominant defensive performance led by a true freshman-laden secondary. Several first-year players snagged an interception in the 42-12 win over Georgia Tech in, but it was Khalil Barnes who established himself amongst the top college football players.
Barnes showcased his ball skills and instincts with an interception of Haynes King late in the second quarter. Meanwhile, he demonstrated his multi-phase ability with a second-on-the-team five tackles, two of which for loss. The Athens, GA native became the first Clemson player in the Dabo Swinney era to have multiple interceptions and forced fumbles in their freshman year.
“Khalil Barnes doesn’t look like a freshman. He looks like a junior running around out there,” said Swinney in the aftermath of a performance that sees Barnes named the College Football Network Freshman Player of the Week.
Honorable mentions: Alex Gilgore, LB, SMU; Caleb Downs, S, Alabama; Tyler Brown, WR, Clemson; Kirk Francis, QB, Tulsa; Kam Robinson, LB, Virginia.