Week 0 College Football Team of the Week: Smoke Harris Sizzles While Caleb Williams Dazzles

The top performers from the College Football Team of the Week in Week 0 from across the globe.

Week 0 dazzled, scintilated, and teased us with what may be one of the finest college football seasons in recent memory. Each game had its own intrigue, and each team had its marquee performers.

These are the top performers who earned a spot on the Week 0 College Football Team of the Week.

Week 0 College Football Team of the Week | First Team

It’s important to note that the CFN Week 0 College Football Team of the Week awards players based on their impact in their respective games and is not necessarily based on total statistical output.

The strength of competition is accounted for, as is the situation — both time of the game and score. These individual awards are also solely based on a player’s ability on the field and does not look into any future beyond college football.

Quarterback: Caleb Williams, USC

There isn’t much more we can say about Caleb Williams at this time. He was lights out against San Jose State and finished with four touchdowns while averaging 11.1 yards per attempt.

Williams picked up where he left off in 2022 in a successful opening to his defense of his Heisman Trophy. His day was not without highlights either as he handled a miscommunicated snap, picked it up off the ground and launched an accurate pass 50 yards in the air without even setting his feet.

His talent is evident and Williams has the Trojans humming already on offense.

MORE: Week 0 College Football Players of the Week

Running Back: Shomari Lawrence, FIU

Setting the tone for the Panthers early, Shomari Lawrence quite literally was the FIU offense on Saturday night. Lawrence torched Louisiana Tech early on with a 67-yard touchdown run that set the tone for the FIU offense.

The FIU offense totaled just 182 yards of offense, with Lawrence accounting for 139 of those yards. He couldn’t quite get them their last first down they needed in the fourth quarter, but Lawrence flashed what made him a sought-after transfer portal athlete.

Running Back: Audric Estime, Notre Dame

Everyone watching shared the same sentiment early on in Week 0: You don’t want to be tasked with trying to tackle Audric Estime. The bowling ball of a back was terrific and a tone-setter for the Fighting Irish on offense.

As Notre Dame eased Sam Hartman into the offense, it was Estime they leaned on early against Navy. Estime continually gashed the Midshipmen’s defense, averaging nearly six yards per carry in the process. He scored and finished with 95 total yards, including some key first-down carries to boot.

Wide Receiver: Smoke Harris, Louisiana Tech

Nearly reaching a career-high receiving yards, it was Smoke Harris who broke free in the second half for the Bulldogs and sparked their comeback victory. Harris hauled in a short slant in the waning stages of the third quarter with his team down 14 points and rocketed through the FIU defense for a 64-yard touchdown.

He won all over the field, yet again, but Harris was at his best over the middle of the field and after the catch. He’s a short-area savant and the FIU Panthers defense couldn’t catch up with him in the second half.

The only reason he didn’t set new marks for career-high receiving yards is the simple fact that he missed two drives with cramps.

Wide Receiver: Kelly Akharaiyi, UTEP

The breakout performance we all knew was coming finally happened for Kelly Akharaiyi. Though he had a touchdown called back after a review, there is no denying his talent on the receiving end of Gavin Hardison for this UTEP offense.

Akharaiyi finished with four receptions for 102 yards and a score in a performance that highlighted his all-around skill set.

Wide Receiver: Sam Wiglusz, Ohio

The man in the middle was on fire for the Bobcats, no matter which quarterback was throwing to him. It was clear that Sam Wiglusz is Kurtis Rourke’s favorite target, and though it took time for CJ Harris to find his groove, Wiglusz came up with multiple plays all the same.

In the end, Wiglusz finished with 10 receptions for 103 yards, including multiple key first-down receptions.

Tight End: Mark Redman, San Diego State

No tight end had a more impactful performance than Mark Redman in Week 0. The Aztecs tight end set new career highs with two touchdowns on five receptions for 62 yards in the win.

It was Redman’s touchdown reception on the last play of the first half that became the ultimate difference in the outing. His size was evident and his hands have certainly improved from a year ago as he’s now officially a factor in this San Diego State offense to watch.

Flex Offense: Nick Nash, San Jose State

What a performance it was from the converted quarterback. Nick Nash turned in a great performance on the receiving end of three Chevan Cordiero touchdown passes. Nash showcased some solid routes, great hands, and even better catch-point prowess in a great outing.

His performance will give the Spartans a viable top weapon opposite Justin Lockhart when the latter returns to the field. In the meantime, Nash finds himself as the top target for this offense it appears in Lockhart’s absence as he was targeted all over the field and made multiple plays against some top-tier athletes on the USC defense.

Offensive Tackle: Joe Alt, Notre Dame

It was a great season-opening performance for one of the nation’s premier offensive linemen as Joe Alt got off to a great start in Ireland. Alt was seen repeatedly clearing huge passing lanes for his quarterback or combo-blocking with his running mate on his right side to carve out huge rushing lanes all the same.

He was terrific and looked in midseason form as the game got rolling against Navy.

Offensive Guard: Pat Coogan, Notre Dame

Alongside Alt, Notre Dame left guard Pat Coogan also dominated Navy from Aviva Stadium. Coogan was at his best on the move, manhandling smaller Navy defenders into the ground or just simply out of the play.

He was also terrific in pass protection and pairing together with Alt gives Sam Hartman quite the duo behind him.

Center: Abraham Delfin, Louisiana Tech

The Louisiana Tech offense took a bit to get humming from their skill players, but Abraham Delfin looked terrific throughout for the Bulldogs. Louisiana Tech needed some come-from-behind magic to get the victory, but Delfin was victorious on multiple reps in each facet of the game.

Offensive Guard: Elijah Klein, UTEP

There were multiple high-level plays from the UTEP offensive line, and singling one of them out is difficult. Yet, Elijah Klein kept leaping off the screen for the Miners.

Klein was seen pulling and paving lanes for the rushing attack on multiple snaps. And he was also seen keeping his quarterback clean for extended periods of time. Gavin Hardison sat in the pocket and had ample time on throws, owing a huge credit to his offensive line, notably Klein.

Offensive Tackle: Dakota White, Louisiana Tech

Similar to his center, Dakota White was terrific all game long for the Bulldogs. Though it took some magic at the end, it was White who kept new Louisiana Tech QB Hank Bachmeier in check from pass rushers in front of him more often than not.

White was also great on the move in the ground game, noticeably as one of the main contributors to the game-winning touchdown scamper with just 1:01 left on the clock.

Defensive Tackle: Deshon Hall Jr., Louisiana Tech

Rumor has it that Deshon Hall Jr. is still hungry for more. After all, following his impressive sack, Hall signaled to the whole world that he was still hungry for more quarterbacks.

Hall had a great performance in each facet, but his pass rushing was on another level for Louisiana Tech. To get home with interior pressure is far more valuable for a defense and this kind of performance is one to hang you that on if your Hall.

MORE: Sam Hartman Leads the Notre Dame Fight in Ireland

Defensive Tackle: Billy Wooden, UMass

An all-around terrific outing from UMass’ defense is headlined not by their secondary but by Billy Wooden in the middle. Wooden commanded double teams and ate space like it was truly his job.

He finished with a sack and two tackles, but that hardly sums up his overall performance. Wooden blew up rushing plays left and right and change the point of attack on multiple carries. He was also a constant force on the inside with his pass-rushing skills.

EDGE: Andrew Choi, Hawaii

The Rainbow Warriors nearly pulled off the upset over Vanderbilt, thanks in no small part to their defensive efforts. Despite allowing 35 points, there were multiple impressive performances on the Hawaii defense, including that from Andrew Choi.

The big man off the edge recorded 2.5 tackles for loss and seven total tackles for Hawaii. In that was also an impressive sack on AJ Swann, who showed off some impressive mobility and pocket presence, making the sack no small feat.

EDGE: Reggie Peterson, FIU

With their offense sputtering, the FIU defense was continually leaned upon against Louisiana Tech. Even though they broke in the end, it wasn’t because of the performance of Reggie Peterson off the edge.

Peterson ripped home for 11 total tackles and two tackles for loss. He recorded a sack and was impressive against the run just as he was when rushing Hank Bachmeier.

Linebacker: JD Bertrand, Notre Dame

You can’t look at the box score and see the impact of a player like JD Bertrand, you just had to watch him play football. Bertrand was all over the field for the Fighting Irish in Ireland against Navy.

He single-handedly made multiple plays against the Navy triple-option attack, be they disrupting the mesh point or crashing down on a give to the fullback that kept the Midshipmen at bay. In limited coverage reps, Bertrand also patrolled the flats and kept in terrific position on all seven pass attempts.

Bertrand captained a terrific linebacking corps that was truly the difference maker for Notre Dame on defense.

Linebacker: Bryce Houston, Ohio

Bryce Houston did all he could to keep the Ohio Bobcats in the game against San Diego State. Houston was simply everywhere on defense for OU. He finished the game with 12 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss.

Houston was as impressive in coverage in the flats as he was against the run and patrolling the dual-threat abilities of Jalen Mayden. There was the screen pass he blew up or the explosion through the middle of the offensive line for a TFL in the run game that highlights his impressive season-opening performance.

Linebacker: Cody Moon, San Diego State

Equally impressive in coverage as he was in every other facet, Cody Moon was simply all over the field for San Diego State. Moon made multiple plays in each facet, most notably showing off in coverage after Kurtis Rourke went out with an injury for Ohio.

Moon made a handful of pass breakups or forced incompletions with his coverage and was integral in patrolling the short area of the field once CJ Harris entered the picture. It was a proper showing for a true, old-school, three-down linebacker.

Cornerback: Noah Tumblin, San Diego State

With all the talk around the San Diego State secondary heading to Dallas Branch of Dezjhon Malone, Noah Tumblin put on a clinic against Ohio. Leading the way with three pass breakups, Tumblin was electric on the outside for the Aztecs.

He was stingy in coverage and terrific on the island he was left on. Tumblin put his name on the map with a fabulous outing that saw him blanket an entire side of the field.

Cornerback: Isaiah Rutherford, UMass

Essentially putting the game away for the Minutemen, Isaiah Rutherford grabbed and returned an impressive interception for a pick-six with 6:40 left in the fourth quarter that gave UMass a three-possession lead. That lead proved insurmountable and Rutherford’s performance was stamped with a game-winning moment.

Yet, that wasn’t the only highlight as he recorded multiple plays in coverage all over the field. The Minutemen have looked incredibly improved on both sides of the ball and Don Brown’s defense might just have their top ballhawk in Rutherford ready for a breakout year.

Cornerback: Jeremiah Vessel, New Mexico State

Talk about a terrific debut performance. Jeremiah Vessel looked every bit the part for New Mexico State. Vessel, the true freshman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was in terrific position on seemingly every rep and made his presence felt early on.

Single-handedly blowing up a screen play with sound tackling and elite-level instincts, the Aggies found a good one in Vessel.

Safety: Cecil Singleton, Louisiana Tech

Icing the game for the Bulldogs, Cecil Singelton put a pretty bow on one of the finest defensive coverage performances we’ll see this entire season. The Louisiana Tech secondary blanketed the FIU passing attack all evening and limited them to just four yards through the air.

Singleton was immaculate in coverage and added multiple plays in which he came down in run defense all the same.

Safety: De’Rickey Wright, Vanderbilt

As clutch of a performance from any player across the entire slate of Week 0, De’Rickey Wright was easily the most impactful player for any winning defense this weekend. Wright recorded two interceptions, forced a fumble, and made other splash plays across the field.

But it was his interceptions that proved most valuable. Wright nabbed a goal-line interception that stymied a Hawaii drive in the first half and ultimately ended the game with a fourth-quarter interception with just under two minutes remaining in a one-possession game.

Wright was everywhere in a game that started with a weather delay before ultimately giving us perhaps the best game and best defensive performance of the weekend.

Flex Defense: Donovan Manuel, FIU

All over the field, it wasn’t difficult to spot Donovan Manuel for FIU against Louisiana Tech. Manuel recorded 15 total tackles and simply made his presence felt on every possession.

He was great against the run and did a great job of helping stymie the Louisiana Tech offense for the majority of the game. Manuel filled holes with a vengeance and even made plays in coverage by forcing Bachmeier off his first reads.

Kicker: Cameron Carson, UMass

The only kicker in Week 0 to not miss an attempt, Cameron Carson came through in the clutch for the victorious Minutemen. Carson connected on kicks of 29 and 33, while nailing all five of his extra-point attempts.

Punter: Jack Browning, San Diego State

A true weapon with his leg, Jack Browning nearly made the Week 0 Team of the Week as both the kicker and punter. On punts, Browning kept Ohio pinned back more often than not, forcing tougher and tougher situations for backup QB CJ Harris to overcome.

Browning finished the day with just three punts, each of which traveled over 50 yards, including a 60-yard boot that flipped the field. He averaged 56.3 yards per punt and made 2-of-3 field goals and went 2-for-2 on extra points.

Kick Returner: Zachariah Branch, USC

It could be said that there was no more electric opening to a career in recent memory than Zachariah Branch’s debut against San Jose State. It was a series of back-to-back scores for USC that gave us a glimpse of what can be for Branch with the Trojans.

After housing a short-area pass for a touchdown, USC’s defense allowed a touchdown and Branch saw his first real opportunity as the team’s kick returner. He slow-played a return in the middle of the field from his own four, showcasing patience and vision before he burst up the middle, hopped over a defender, hit the jets towards the sidelines before reversing field and making even more defenders miss in a Reggie Bush-esque moment for the former five-star recruit.

Branch is a special talent and it’s clear that Lincoln Riley isn’t afraid to use him early on.

Punt Returner: Zachariah Branch, USC

As if his kick-returning place on this team of the week wasn’t enough, Branch also lands as the top punt returner of the weekend. It’s apparent the Trojans want to get him the ball in any way they can, when they can.

Opposing offenses and special teams units will now know to try to keep it out of his hands after this performance.

Week 0 College Football Team of the Week | Second Team


  • QB: Sam Hartman, Notre Dame; Chevan Cordeiro, San Jose State
  • RB: Kay’Ron Lynch-Adams, UMass
  • RB: Jaylon Armstead, San Diego State
  • WR: Jaden Greathouse, Notre Dame
  • WR: Cyrus Allen, Louisiana Tech
  • WR: Trent Hudson, New Mexico State
  • TE: Nate Jones, Louisiana Tech
  • FLEX: Taisun Phommachanh, UMass
  • OT: Blake Fisher, Notre Dame
  • G: Bert Hale, Louisiana Tech
  • C: Treylen Brown, Jacksonville State
  • G: Brock Robey, Jacksonville State
  • OT: Carson Bruno, Louisiana Tech


  • EDGE: Chris Hardie, Jacksonville State
  • EDGE: Jaylen Swain, Jacksonville State
  • IDL: Tre Smith, San Jose State
  • IDL: Tupu Alualu, San Diego State
  • LB: Marist Liufau, Notre Dame
  • LB: Jack Kiser, Notre Dame
  • LB: Isaiah Tufaga, Hawaii
  • DB: Qua’veon Turner, Louisiana Tech
  • DB: Willie Roberts, Louisiana Tech
  • DB: Michael Oppong, UMass
  • DB: Cedric Woods, Louisiana Tech
  • DB: Jeremiah Harris, Jacksonville State
  • FLEX: Tyrice Knight, UTEP

Special Teams

  • K: Jack Browning, San Diego State
  • P: Jack Dawson, Jacksonville State
  • KR: Jayden McGowan, Vanderbilt
  • PR: Will Sheppard, Vanderbilt