It was a more compact week of college football than one week ago, but that doesn’t mean it was any less entertaining, as several top-tier tussles resulted in high-octane action. From high-scoring offenses through dominant defensive performances to true freshmen emerging on the national stage, who were college football’s top players in Week 2?
Our Week 2 College Football Players of the Week crown the very cream of the crop.
Week 2 College Football Players of the Week
Quarterback of the Week: Tyler Van Dyke, Miami (FL)
There were a number of standout quarterback back performances in college football Week 2, but none more so than that of Tyler Van Dyke, who reestablished himself as one of the top college football players with a commanding and composed performance that gave the Miami (FL) Hurricanes their first win over a ranked opponent since Mario Cristobal took the helm at the start of last season.
Ironically, Van Dyke rolled back the years, looking every inch of the quarterback who earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors.
Van Dyke tore up the Texas A&M secondary and in doing so tore up his own career record books. Starting with a three-yard touchdown pass to Colbie Young and finishing with a 64-yard scoring sling to Jacolby George, the Hurricanes hustler threw for a career-high five touchdowns while compiling 374 passing yards.
More important than the numbers, the fourth-year quarterback looked comfortable throwing to all field levels, including outside the numbers, and with some nice throws on the run. Van Dyke is back, and so is Miami.
Honorable mentions: Shedeur Sanders, Colorado. Quinn Ewers, Texas. Bryson Daily, Army. Caleb Williams, USC.
Offensive Player of the Week: Gage Larvadain, WR, Miami (OH)
The Miami (OH) Redhawks got their first win of the 2023 college football season on the back of one of the most dominant offensive performances you’ll see all season.
Gage Larvadain arrived in Oxford this offseason as a standout at the FCS level for Southeastern Louisiana, and he established himself as one of the top college football players in the nation during a highly productive and heavily influential second game at the highest level of college football that helped the Redhawks to a 41-28 win over the UMass Minutemen.
Larvadain kicked off his Offensive Player of the Week-worthy with a 26-yard touchdown that opened the scoring in Amherst. Later in the first quarter, he reeled in a lofted pass that had come from the Redhawks’ own end zone and left trailing defenders in his week for a 99-yard score. Another touchdown came late in the third, with the Miami (OH) receiver ending the night with three scores and 273 yards of the team’s total 302 passing yards.
Ridiculously, he could have added a couple more and another score if not for a fumble.
Honorable mentions: Omarion Hampton, North Carolina. Isaiah Alston, Army. Audric Estime, Notre Dame. Devin Neal, Kansas. CJ Daniels, Liberty. Kejon Owens, San Jose State. Ja’Tavion Sanders, Texas.
Defensive Player of the Week: James Carpenter, DT, James Madison
The James Madison Dukes and Virginia Cavaliers are based just 60 miles apart but have barely played each other in their storied program histories. I think we can speak for all college football fans when we say that needs to be rectified and quickly because the two combined for a barn-storming game in emotional circumstances as the Cavaliers returned to Scott Stadium to play a football game for the first time since the tragic loss of three of their own.
A storybook victory was denied by a commanding defensive performance.
James Carpenter might not have produced the most emphatic stat line in Week 2, he didn’t even lead his own team in any metric — shout out Jamree Kromah for his two-sack afternoon — but his impact goes far beyond the box score. The imposing defensive tackle consistently and constantly forced pressure in the face of Virginia true freshman QB Anthony Colandrea.
When it mattered most, with Virginia on 3rd and 20 and 33 seconds on the clock — Carpenter’s arm extended like Inspector Gadget to bat down a pass.
Honorable mentions: Coleman Coco, Rice; Jaiden Francois, Utah State; Khalid Duke, Kansas State; Patrick Jenkins, Tulane; Brandon Dorlus, Oregon; Jordan Dominek, Colorado; Reddy Steward, Troy; Cole Bishop, Utah; Eugene Asante, Auburn
Special Teams Player of the Week: Colton Boomer, K, UCF
Kicking hasn’t always been the strong suit of the UCF Knights, but Colton Boomer put on a master class that carried Gus Malzahn’s team past Boise State in a close-fought contest. The true sophomore accounted for 12 of UCF’s points in an 18-16 win, nailing all four of his field goal attempts in a perfect night of action.
The performance equaled his own record for field goals made in a single game at UCF, while he smashed through his career-long with a 55-yarder. His spot as one of the college football top players of the week was secured when he nailed a 40-yard attempt as time expired to power UCF to their second win of the 2023 college football season.
Honorable mentions: Mekhi Mews, Georgia; Zachariah Branch, USC
Freshman Player of the Week: Anthony Hill Jr., LB, Texas
Making an impression as a true freshman linebacker isn’t easy. It’s even harder when you play on a defense that is stacked front to back with talent. Doing it on the national stage against one of the best programs in recent college football history? Well, that should be impossible.
But, for Texas linebacker Anthony Hill Jr., impossible is nothing. The first-year Longhorn put together a monster performance that played an integral part in Steve Sarkisian’s team recording what could be the most important win of their 2023 season.
Hill’s numbers alone from Week 2 make him one of the top college football players. #0 tied for second on the team with six tackles in just his second game for the Longhorns. Of those, four were solo attempts, and he was credited with a team-high two sacks with two tackles for loss.
However, the numbers don’t do justice to the pure dominance Hill exerted on the biggest stage. Furthermore, the situational impact — a sack on 3rd and 10, for example — was far more substantial than any box score could illustrate.
Honorable mentions: Hudson Clement, West Virginia; Derius Taylor, Minnesota; Anthony Colandrea, Virginia