Good, Great, Grand, Wonderful: The Best We’ve Seen From All 133 FBS College Football Teams in 2023

College Football's Best is here as we empty the notebook full of highlights, top plays, players, and groups through the first four weeks of the college football season.

Sadly, we’re a quarter of the way through the college football season already. Happily, though, it’s been a dramatic, exciting, and awe-inspiring four weeks of action and we still have 10+ weeks to go. What a ride so far.

Today, we highlight the best each team has had to offer in 2023, pulling a line from the one and only Chris Farley. Welcome to College Football’s Good, Great, Grand, Wonderful.

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College Football’s Best in 2023: Good, Great, Grand, Wonderful Edition

Your team may still be winless at this time. Maybe your team is .500. Or maybe your team is one of the last remaining undefeated teams in college football. Either way you slice it, every team across the country has put forth some solid play this season.

At College Football Network, we watch every game. Every player. Every team. And our notebooks are chock full of top players, plays, highlights, and moments. Today, I’m emptying the notebook.

Below, you’ll find each team’s noteworthy players, groupings, or units, all listed under a different category: good, great, grand, or wonderful. Each team needs its shine, and these players deserve some notoriety for what they’ve put forth this season.

Listed alphabetically by conference, here is the first quarter’s Good, Great, Grand, and Wonderful from every team in 2023. As a reminder, there’s no yelling on the bus!

The American

Charlotte 49ers

Good: Jalon Jones. Using his legs when plays break down, Jones leads the 49ers with 262 rushing yards. Considering he’s been sacked eight times, that figure is all the more impressive. A two-QB system with Trexler Ivey may be blooming.

Great: Jack Hestera. The leading receiver on the team, Hestera is averaging 13.5 yards per catch, doing so without a reception longer than 30 yards on the year. He’s a walking first-down machine.

Grand: Eyabi Okie-Anoma. The prized transfer of the 2023 offseason, Okie-Anoma has dominated off the edge. A one-man wrecking crew, he’s finished his pass rush with just two sacks so far, but has been a constant presence in the backfield for opponents.

Wonderful: Prince Bemah. Patrolling the middle of the field, Bemah leads the team with 28 total tackles and has shown he can come downhill in run defense in a hurry.

East Carolina Pirates

Good: Shane Calhoun. Have you seen Calhoun as a blocker for this offense? If not, go back and check out big No. 80 lining up on the line of scrimmage and paving the way for the ground game to finally get going in Week 4.

Great: Mike Edwards III. With 29 total tackles, Edwards has been a man on a mission in the middle. His team-high 19 solo tackles show his game-changing ability.

Grand: BJ Davis. Tied for the team lead with two pass breakups, Davis has patrolled the middle of the field well for ECU. He also has proven his worth as a pass rusher to boot.

Wonderful: Julius Wood. Leading the team in tackles from his safety spot, Wood has flown around the field with ease. He comes downhill in run defense and has shown he’s more than capable of covering any type of pass catcher.

Florida Atlantic Owls

Good: Chaz Neal. The former Florida State transfer has once again proven his worth on the right side for FAU. He’s a massive man with a huge wingspan and has been stout in pass protection.

Great: Jackson Ambush. Leading the team with 28 total tackles, Ambush also patrols the middle well in coverage. He’s recorded a pick and has a handful of pressures on some well-timed blitzes.

Grand: LaJohntay Wester. The offense runs through Wester and opponents can’t seem to contain him. Despite a relatively shallow average depth of target, Wester has done more than enough to create on his own for first downs and has two scores on the season.

Wonderful: Jarron Morris. The Texas State transfer has made his name known in Boca as Morris leads the team with four pass breakups and had the lone touchdown for FAU against Ohio via a 72-yard pick-six. Morris has locked down in coverage and proven effective as a three-down player against the run and pass.

Memphis Tigers

Good: Seth Henigan. With eight touchdowns and over 1,100 yards passing, Henigan has once again set himself on the 3,000-yard trajectory. The big-armed signal-caller has forced a few throws this season, but he’s put his Tigers team in a position to win just about every game this year.

Great: Blake Watson. What can’t Watson do is more likely the best question than what he can do. He leads the team with 342 yards on 5.9 yards per carry and is second on the team with 213 yards through the air, racking up yards in bunches in each game this season.

Grand: DeAgo Brumfield. Blanketing in coverage, Brumfield has ripped off six pass breakups through four games for the Tigers. He’s contested every catch thrown his way and come away victorious more often than not.

Wonderful: Roc Taylor. A walking highlight reel, Taylor has been ultra-impressive this season. He has sure hands and natural routes, making multiple plays all over the field and showing of exceptional catch-point prowess.

Navy Midshipmen

Good: Joshua Pena. For an offense that’s scored just 27 points against FBS competition this year, you’re hard-pressed to find many standouts. However, Pena has shown brightly in the ground game and deserves his praise.

Great: Will Harbour. A forced fumble and a handful of pressures on the quarterback have pushed Harbour up the list of highlights for the Midshipmen. Harbour also leads the team with 20 tackles as he’s improved his all-around game this year.

Grand: Jacob Busic. Leading the way with a sack and multiple QB hits this year, Busic has impressed most with his ability to always influence the opponent’s passing game. He has two pass breakups to go with his influential play.

Wonderful: Rayuan Lane III. The star of this defense through three games has been Lane. With two interceptions and six pass breakups, Lane has been a tormentor to opponents from a variety of alignments, notably flying around from free safety.

North Texas Mean Green

Good: Mazin Richards. Pressuring quarterbacks from the inside will always be more valuable than edge pressure and Richards does that so well. He’s recorded a sack but that doesn’t indicate the total amount of times he’s landed home with pressure and influential plays against the opponent’s passing game.

Great: Ethan Miner. The Mean Green center is terrific in pass protection but that’s not where you’ll find his highlights. On the ground, Miner is dominant, clearing the way at the first and oftentimes, the second level.

Grand: Chandler Rogers. Despite some early success through the air from Stone Earle, the Mean Green have been sparked by the emergence of Rogers in the backfield. As he continues to develop and hone in on his downfield passing, he’s a dynamic rusher and a great distributor of the ball for this North Texas offense.

Wonderful: Ja’Mori Maclin. A big-play threat, Maclin simply needs the ball launched in the air, and he’ll track it down and make something happen. With just 11 receptions, he’s the team leader with 238 yards and four touchdowns through the air.

Rice Owls

Good: Dean Conners. Finding success through the air and on the ground, the Owls running back leads the team with 139 yards and is second with 194 receiving yards. Connors is a big-play dual threat at the position and certainly deserves more touches going forward.

Great: Coleman Coco. Rushing the edge particularly well, Coco’s 2.5 sacks are tied for the team lead but he’s been far more efficient than just sacking the QB. He’ll get after it in the passing game with his length and his strength all the same.

Grand: JT Daniels. After a sluggish start, Daniels has thrown for 10 touchdowns in his past three games. When given time to throw, he’s shown he has all the talent in the world to distribute the ball and throw his receivers open at every level.

Wonderful: Luke McCaffrey. Making plays on the ball against a variety of coverage defenders, McCaffrey has been ultra-impressive in 2023. It’s amazing he’s still new to the receiver position as he has great routes, soft hands, and dynamic athleticism with or without the ball in his hands.

SMU Mustangs

Good: Preston Stone. It didn’t look like it against Oklahoma or TCU, but Stone is the real deal at quarterback. In AAC play this season, Stone will give them an advantage if he can hone in on the accuracy and arm talent he’s shown to have throughout his first four starts. Consistency is the only thing left to show for Stone.

Great: Hyrin White. No stranger to superlatives from his time at Missouri, White has once again looked the part at right tackle for SMU through four games. He’s a big-bodied blocker who excels in pass protection, and he should give the Mustangs a clean pocket on almost every dropback as they enter AAC play.

Grand: Jonathan McGill. Flashing great fundamentals and strong instincts, McGill is third on the team in total tackles but second with his 11 solo stops. He’s a downhill thumper with great athleticism coupled with his ability in coverage that has led to two pass breakups.

Wonderful: Elijah Roberts. Making life miserable for the opponent’s offensive lines, Roberts has rushed the passer with ease in 2023. He’s pushing the pocket with strength and moving around on stunts incredibly well. Roberts is a player to watch in AAC play this season.

Temple Owls

Good: Amad Anderson/Dante Wright. The combination of Anderson and Wright has started to pay off in multiple ways this season. To open the year, specifically against Akron, it was Wright who was E.J. Warner’s preferred target, while lately, it’s been Anderson. Either way, both are incredibly fast in the open field and have flashed brilliance.

Great: Victor Stoffel. What a season it’s been so far for Temple’s right tackle. With ideal size, Stoffel has built on a solid 2022 campaign and put it all together in 2023 with his run-blocking skills and pass sets.

Grand: Diwun Black. On a team of known troublemakers for opposing offenses, Black has come out of nowhere in 2023. Black’s ripped through offensive linemen with a handful of pressures, including a team-high 1.5 sacks, as the former Florida Gator has proven why he was a Power Five player after all.

Wonderful: Jordan Magee. The brightest spot so far this season for Temple has been Magee. He’s second on the team with 23 tackles, but he’s flown around to the ball carriers at or around the line of scrimmage with terrific skill. Magee has added a sack and a pass breakup, as he can do it all.

Tulane Green Wave

Good: Lance Robinson. Somehow, the Green Wave’s cornerback with three interceptions lands first here. Robinson has been terrific this season and pairing next to Jarius Monroe on the opposite side and Kam Pedescleaux in the slot, this is a tricky secondary to throw on.

Great: Darius Hodges/Keith Cooper Jr. These two edge rushers you might as well call just plain defensive linemen as they can line up anywhere and win. Hodges has 2.5 sacks and Cooper 2.0, while Cooper has batted two passes down at the line of scrimmage and Hodges has sent running backs flying in the run game.

Grand: Patrick Jenkins/Kameron Hamilton. Ripping through the middle of the field, Jenkins has been an unstoppable force this year. Pairing together with Hamilton, this duo has recorded 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Jenkins has turned a ton of heads and continues to command double teams.

Wonderful: Michael Pratt. The elite QB of the Group of Five, Pratt wasted no time in dispatching South Alabama in Week 1. Though he missed two games, Pratt returned in Week 4, and we’re ready to say he hasn’t missed a beat. Pratt’s averaging 12.7 yards per attempt and has thrown six touchdowns in two starts.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Good: Chase Meyer. Automatic describes Meyer perfectly. He’s made 11-of-11 extra points this season and is perfect on his field goals. He’s kicked two from inside 40 and has a season-long of 44 while maintaining a 100% accuracy this year.

Great: Marquis Shoulders. A viable threat when there’s consistent quarterback play, Shoulders has ripped off some impressive catches this season. His routes are sharp and he’s shown great body control, leading to an average of 18.8 yards per catch.

Grand: Kendarin Ray. The Golden Hurricane’s leading tackler, Ray does it all from his safety spot. He’s recorded 38 total tackles, more than double the next closest defender, and his 17 solo tackles are nine more than next as well. He’s recorded an interception to boot, proving his worth across the field.

Wonderful: Ben Kopenski. Though the stat sheets won’t quite show it, Kopenski has made a living in the backfield of Tulsa’s opponents this year. He’s up to two sacks on the season, but he’s made life miserable for opposing tackles off the edge.

UAB Blazers

Good: Jacob Zeno. Looking like a former Power Five quarterback indeed, Zeno has run the UAB offense very well, all things considered. Zeno has thrown eight touchdowns compared to four picks and is completing over 75% of his throws. He’s spreading the ball all around the field very well in this system.

Great: Mac McWilliams. It’s been a sound season on the boundary for McWilliams. Though credited with just a single pass breakup, he’s done a great job of limiting receivers on the outside to little or no gains and shown great instincts to peel off his receivers in run defense.

Grand: Jackson Bratton. Big-time players need little introduction and if you’ve watched UAB on defense, you know who Bratton is. Second on the team in total tackles, Bratton is first with two sacks. He has a nose for the football and seems to always be around the ball in the middle of the field.

Wonderful: BJ Mayes. Leading the way on the backend, Mayes has five PBUs this season and a pick. His impact isn’t limited to just coverage, as he’s also shown he can stuff runs on the outside or force them back in. Mayes is a three-down cornerback with great size and strength. He’s come on strong since transferring in from Incarnate Word.

USF Bulls

Good: Donovan Jennings. The big man at left tackle has been doing this for years, yet it looks like Jennings is just getting started. In his sixth year with the program, Jennings has been a South Florida staple along the left side. He’s moving well on the run and providing clean pockets more often than not.

Great: Naiem Simmons/Byrum Brown. Forging perhaps a scary duo in Week 4, if Simmons and Brown keep up this level of play, we’ll be talking about them in a much brighter light later this year. Brown has run for 357 on the ground and thrown for 885, improving his passing skills, it appears each week (save for the ‘Bama game). Simmons blew up in Week 4 and has 357 receiving yards now.

Grand: Logan Berryhill. Leading the way with two interceptions, Berryhill has flown around with precision in 2023. He’s broken up another two passes and chipped in with a handful of plays around the line of scrimmage.

Wonderful: Daquan Evans. His impact against Alabama should be enough to reach legendary status around campus. Evans has recorded three sacks, all of which came against Alabama, as he’s stalked the opposing offense brilliantly off the edge. In coverage, Evans has also locked down and has a pass breakup and a few more forced incompletions.

UTSA Roadrunners

Good: Rashad Wisdom. It feels like a college football forever that we’ve been talking about Wisdom. His fifth season with the Roadrunners has started off with a bang as he leads the team with 14 solo tackles. He’s come downhill very well and patrolled the middle in coverage all the same.

Great: Joshua Cephus. It’s been a slow start for the UTSA offense with Frank Harris hobbled, yet Cephus has done more than enough to indicate he’s ready to explode at any given time. He’s got 31 catches for 305 yards and three scores, proving he’s not lost a step nor does he miss his partner-in-crime, Zakhari Franklin.

Grand: Kam Alexander. A relatively new face on the defensive side of the ball for UTSA, Alexander has expanded his role since transferring in from Sam Houston. He’s recorded four pass breakups and done a terrific job of limiting receivers in his primary coverage.

Wonderful: Trey Moore. A living nightmare for opposing offensive linemen, Moore has once again flashed brilliance for UTSA. Coming off the edge with terrific timing, a great get-off, and masterful strength-to-speed in his hands and feet, Moore picks and chooses his shots better than most. He’s recorded four sacks but that hardly indicates just how often he’s been in the backfield this year.

ACC

Boston College Eagles

Good: Lewis Bond. Defeating defenders from all over the field, Bond has utilized his speed and length well when Castellanos has time to throw.

Great: Elijah Jones. Given the fact that BC hasn’t been able to find a pass rush, Jones’ ability in coverage has stood the test of time, literally. Back in coverage for longer than most, Jones’ four pass breakups on the season are impressive.

Grand: Kyle Hergel. The ‘other guard’ on the BC roster, Hergel has dominated since his transfer from Texas State. The big man has proven his skills translate to the Power Five level and is on his way to being a draft pick.

Wonderful: Thomas Castellanos. Though the wins haven’t shown up with Castellanos leading the charge, his talent has been evident. He leads the team with 280 yards on the ground and has improved his passing ability with seemingly every rep.

Clemson Tigers

Good: Will Putnam. It’s not hard to find the Tigers’ center as big ole No. 56 puts on a clinic weekly. Putnam is clean in pass protection but dominates in space both on the ground and on screen passes.

Great: Will Shipley/Phil Mafah. The two-headed running back duo for Clemson has dominated while the passing attack has caught up for the Tigers. Shipley and Mafah has combined for 527 yards and four scores on the ground with another 145 yards and two scores through the air.

Grand: Tyler Brown. An emerging threat, Brown has flashed his elite speed on more than one occasion in 2023. He’s a home-run threat who just needs the ball in space to create mismatches against any DB.

Wonderful: Xavier Thomas. An incredible story of resistance, Thomas has battled through a ton of injuries in his career and still kept coming. That resiliency has paid off in a big way in 2023, as he leads the team with two sacks and has been a constant force in the backfield.

Duke Blue Devils

Good: R.J. Oben. It doesn’t take long to notice Oben on the defensive side of the ball for Duke. He’s a consistent force against the pass and has shown he can get after the quarterbacks from a variety of alignments.

Great: Myles Jones. Limited to just three games, Jones locked down in coverage over the first three outings. He still leads the team with three interceptions and is second with two PBUs.

Grand: DeWayne Carter. The big man in the middle has more than held his own on a stacked defense. Carter scored on a fumble recovery and has two pass breakups as he understands how to affect the opposing passing game in any way he can.

Wonderful: Riley Leonard. The Blue Devils quarterback has been lights out in 2023, doing whatever his offense requires of him. He’s been clean with the ball, dominant with his passing, and special on the ground.

Florida State Seminoles

Good: Bless Harris. For years, the Seminoles struggled to field a solid offensive line, but thanks to the play of Harris and a host of other offensive linemen, that’s different in 2023. While run blocking has yet to pick up, Harris has given Travis ample time in the pocket to dissect defenses and keep his eyes downfield.

Great: Jordan Travis. As tough as they come, Travis has been banged up in the past two weeks yet continues to operate the FSU offense at a high level. He’s rushed for two scores and thrown for 10 touchdowns, eclipsing 1,000 passing yards for the season against Clemson.

Grand: Jarrian Jones. We all know the staples on defense for the Seminoles, but it’s the return to form and full health of Jones that has played a pivotal to their defensive efforts in 2023. Jones has a pick-six and has been credited with another pass breakup, but his coverage skills have returned to lockdown status for FSU at the slot/nickel role.

Wonderful: Keon Coleman. All you can say when you see Coleman’s highlight reel is: wow. Whether it’s been leaping over a Southern Miss defender or out-bodying a Clemson defender in overtime, Coleman has come up big when the Seminoles needed him. He has six touchdowns on 17 receptions while averaging 15.1 yards per catch.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Good: Joe Fusile. The Georgia Tech offensive line, as a whole, has exceeded expectations and Fusile is certainly one of the big reasons. Clean in pass protection from the left guard spot, he’s been dominant on the ground for the Yellow Jackets.

Great: Jaylon King. With two picks and two more pass breakups, King has roamed the middle of the field incredibly well for the Jackets. He’s been a ballhawk and 2023 is proving such a thing yet again.

Grand: Kyle Kennard. Earning Team of the Week honors in Week 4, Kennard is riding high after a four-sack performance. He’s been dominant on the edge for Georgia Tech in the early portion of the season and that four-sack performance was the culmination of his dominance.

Wonderful: Haynes King. There is a reason King was highly recruited and ultimately signed with Texas A&M out of high school. This season, however, he’s put it together and finally looked like that high-profile recruit. He’s completing passes above 65% on the season and has thrown 11 touchdowns against two picks. His command of the offense is evident and he’s improving each week.

Louisville Cardinals

Good: Jawhar Jordan/Bryan Hudson. Jordan gets all the national attention, rightfully so, but the offensive line needs some love for Louisville. While Jordan’s shown he can be electric in space, Hudson has paved the way for huge rushing lanes and kept the offensive line on schedule with his calls in both facets.

Great: Ashton Gillotte. A menace off the edge, Gillotte has been in the backfield of his opponents more often than not. He has three sacks on the season but that hardly counts the total pressures and pass trajectories that he’s altered this season.

Grand: Jamari Thrash. We knew he’d be an impact transfer but Thrash has exceeded even our loftiest expectations so far with the Cardinals. Thrash has recorded 400 yards and five touchdowns, averaging a ridiculous 21.1 yards per catch in doing so.

Wonderful: Jack Plummer. While Plummer came to Louisville with a knowledge of Jeff Brohm’s system, he’s exploded from within the structure of the offense like we didn’t know he could. He’s thrown 10 touchdowns, been accurate to every level of the field, and become a true distributor of the ball as six receivers have caught at least five passes this year.

Miami (FL) Hurricanes

Good: Te’Cory Couch. With three interceptions, Couch has locked down his side of the field. If he does allow a catch, you better believe Couch has limited the yards from his receivers with the best of them.

Great: Xavier Restrepo. Underrated no more, Restrepo has hauled in two touchdowns and 355 yards on 24 catches. He’s always open because of his separation abilities, and he’s quicker than a hiccup over the middle of the field.

Grand: Matt Lee. Arguably one of the top transfer portal victories for any school across the nation, Lee has been dominant on the offensive line for Miami. He’s winning his reps in both pass protection and in the run game, improving in each game and causing havoc for opposing defensive lines.

Wonderful: Tyler Van Dyke. Rewinding the clocks back to the 2021 season, where Van Dyke generated worthy first-round buzz, he’s been lights out so far in 2023. He’s making the right decisions, trusting his arm, and spraying the field with accurate passes to every level. He’s in consideration for eclipsing the top tier among ACC QBs, and that’s a feat in its own right.

NC State Wolfpack

Good: Robert Kennedy. A pick-six and multiple forced incompletions have pushed Kennedy into consideration for top honors on the NC State defense. He’s broken up two passes and has 1.5 sacks to his credit as he’s consistently been around the ball.

Great: Anthony Belton. Moving on the ground and clean in pass protection, Belton has been the bright spot on the Wolfpack offense. Belton has been sharp from his left tackle spot through all four games, notably clearing massive lanes when they rush to his side and keeping Armstrong clean.

Grand: Davin Vann. It’s not the fact that Vann has gotten home with two sacks, it’s where he’s done his damage from that’s impressive. He’s pushing the pocket equally as well from outside the tackle or all the way in as far as shading inside the guard with similar success rates.

Wonderful: Payton Wilson. NC State’s massive linebacker has been a menace to opposing offenses. Wilson leads the team with 46 tackles (21 solo) and has broken up two passes and secured an interception. He may be the best all-around linebacker in the ACC and certainly in consideration as one of the best in the country.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Good: Omarion Hampton. Breaking out this season yet again, Hampton leads the way with 383 yards on the ground and another 53 yards in the air. He’s scored seven touchdowns and proven to be a force with the ball in his hands once again for this offense.

Great: Alijah Huzzie. With four pass breakups and two interceptions, Huzzie has slammed the door shut on multiple opponents this year. Huzzie leads the team in both metrics while also showcasing great instincts and ball-tracking skills.

Grand: Kaimon Rucker. A dominant force off the edge, Rucker has lived up to his nickname: The Butcher. Making mincemeat out of tackles this season, Rucker leads the team with four sacks and has proven unblockable at times, no matter how many linemen he is tasked with beating.

Wonderful: Drake Maye. There isn’t much more to say about Maye at this point as he’s diced up defenses and even thrown a touchdown with his left hand (he’s right-handed). Maye is seeing the field well and has clearly adjusted to the new offensive scheme just fine this season.

Pittsburgh Panthers

Good: Gavin Bartholomew. A talented pass catcher for the Pittsburgh offense, Bartholomew has put it all together in 2023. He’s blocking well to make things even better, but he has proven to be the most reliable receiver for the Panthers offense this season.

Great: Bangally Kamara/Matt Goncalves. With a multitude of stops at or around the line of scrimmage, Kamara was a menace through the first three games. Similarly, Goncalves was dominant on the ground and in his pass sets through the first three outings. They clearly missed both of them in Week 4 against North Carolina.

Grand: Dayon Hayes. Consistently getting home with pressures, Hayes has been one of the few bright spots for this team this season. Hayes has two sacks and batted down two more passes at the line of scrimmage through four games.

Wonderful: Donovan McMillon. The team’s leading tackler, McMillon is racking up the stops at the second level as this team figures out its first-wave defenders. McMillon has left his mark in coverage as well, making matters even more convincing in his favor as the former Florida Gator has earned two consecutive starts after coming off the bench to start the year.

Syracuse Orange

Good: Jeremiah Wilson. We had LeQuint Allen here for his all-around prowess on offense, but we couldn’t leave off Wilson as he’s impressed in 2023. Wilson has five pass breakups and a pick-six and has proven he can lockdown any receiver on the outside for the Orange.

Great: Marlowe Wax. While ‘The Mob’ has been terrific up front, it’s Wax who grabs headlines on defense. He leads the team with 31 total tackles as he’s patrolled the middle of the field well and runs the alley even better. His two sacks are tops on the team as Wax has proven effective at picking and choosing his shots and spying on opposing QBs all the same.

Grand: Receiver Quartet. Together, Damien Alford, Donovan Brown, Umari Hatcher, and Isaiah Jones have combined for 868 receiving yards in 2023. They’ve hauled in eight of nine touchdowns through the air, and the trio of Alford, Brown, and Hatcher each have gone for over 200. They’re nearly unstoppable at this point.

Wonderful: Garrett Shrader. The Orange are 4-0, and they certainly have Shrader to thank for that. He’s been brilliant with his legs, per usual, rushing for six touchdowns and 316 yards at 6.9 yards per rush. But it’s his downfield passing that should scare opponents. Shrader has completed passes at a career-high 66.7% through four games and has added an element with his downfield accuracy.

Virginia Cavaliers

Good: Anthony Colandrea. Sure, he’s made a ton of true freshman mistakes. But let’s face it, Colandrea has given the Cavs a chance to win any game he starts as he’s not afraid to push the ball downfield and throw his receivers open. He’s a true gunslinger and as he improves his decision-making and trust in his arm, Colandrea is a name to watch.

Great: Jonas Sanker. Leading the team with 33 tackles, Sanker has also been excellent in coverage. Dropping back in the intermediate range, Sanker has used his athleticism to make breaks on five passes this season and he’s knocked around his fair share of receivers as well.

Grand: Kam Butler. The team’s leader in sacks, Butler has been the lone Cavalier to get home with pressure consistently this season. Figuring that their opponents know such a thing, Butler’s consistency is that much more impressive.

Wonderful: Malik Washington. Helping his young quarterback out more often than not, Washington’s ball-tracking skills and prowess at the catch point have not gone unnoticed. He’s a threat with the ball in his hands and is averaging 16.4 yards per catch with three touchdowns this season.

Virginia Tech Hokies

Good: Bob Schick. Tech’s right guard has been on one this season. He’s a great pass protector but perhaps an even better run blocker. Schick has shown that this season.

Great: Keli Lawson. Leading the charge with 41 total tackles, Lawson is more than just a guy in the right place at the right time, he’s an instinctual freak with great strength at the point of contact.

Grand: Dorian Strong. The longtime Tech cornerback is up to his usual tricks for the Hokies. Strong has an interception and two pass breakups as he’s shown he can still limit opposing WR1s in coverage.

Wonderful: Antwaun Powell-Ryland. If you’d believe it, Powell-Ryland immediately made a splash for Tech in 2023. Transferring in from Florida, his best game came in Week 1 against ODU, but he’s been a consistent force off the edge for the Hokies.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Good: Mitch Griffis. We had some doubts about how this offense would run without Sam Hartman, but Griffis has calmed those concerns. He’s thrown for 999 yards and nine touchdowns, and though he’s taken far too many sacks on his own accord, he’s moving forward in the right direction.

Great: Jacob Roberts/DaShawn Jones. Leading the way with five sacks, Roberts is picking his blitz locations perfectly. Jones has three picks to lead the team and his additional pass breakup indicates just how sharp he’s been in coverage.

Grand: DeVonte Gordon/Michael Jurgens/Luke Petitbon. The trio of linemen — when on the left side together — have proven too much for opponents. Gordon, the longtime tackle, has shown his talents yet again, while Jurgens and Petitbon have flashed in both facets this year.

Wonderful: Jasheen Davis. What a season it’s been so far for Davis. As good as Wake’s offense has been over the last decade, Davis has taken this defense to new heights. He’s a commanding presence off the edge and has 4.5 sacks so far this season. Yet, he’s been in the backfield on what feels like every dropback for their opponents.

Big Ten

Illinois Fighting Illini

Good: Josh Kreutz. Like his father did for the Chicago Bears, Kreutz has been utterly dominant. On the ground or in pass protection, Kreutz has excelled for Illinois in 2023 as their starting center.

Great: Xavier Scott. What a season so far for Scott. He’s been heavily targeted as opponents are wary of starting anyone else, but Scott’s made opponents regret doing so. He’s nabbed an interception and three pass breakups to his credit.

Grand: Miles Scott. With three pass breakups and a pick-six to his credit, Scott has looked like the heir apparent to the three draft picks from the Illini secondary a year ago. Scott has flown all over the field and proven nearly impossible to throw on.

Wonderful: Jer’Zhan Newton. No surprises here; Newton has dominated up the middle for Illinois. No offense has caught up with the defensive prowess from Newton as he’s ripped home for two sacks and double-digit pressures. He’s a man among boys at times.

Indiana Hoosiers

Good: Tayven Jackson. Improving the quarterback play for the Hoosiers, Jackson has looked the part more than he hasn’t so far in 2023. Jackson has thrown for 749 yards and two touchdowns while adding an element with his ability to buy time in the pocket with his athleticism.

Great: Andre Carter. Pushing the pocket with ease this season, Carter has been an unstoppable force against the pass for Indiana. He’s reached home with two sacks and influenced the passing attack with a couple of pass breakups.

Grand: Aaron Casey. What a missile Casey has been to the football. He leads the team with 41 tackles, 28 of which has been solo stops. He’s also blitzed well with two sacks and even dropped in coverage with the same level of skill.

Wonderful: Phillip Dunnam. With three picks and 29 tackles, Dunnam has been everywhere for the Hoosiers. He’s been stellar in coverage all season long and the Hoosiers secondary is underrated, mainly because of Dunnam’s play.

Iowa Hawkeyes

Good: Tory Taylor. The lone offensive weapon for this Iowa team has been Taylor, and yes, with his skills, you can call him an offensive weapon. Taylor has booted 10 punts inside the 20 so far and is averaging 48 yards per boot. He’s essentially accounted or a handful of safeties over the past two seasons, more points than most offensive players can claim on this Iowa roster.

Great: Jay Higgins. Flying around the field, Higgins has racked up 28 solo tackles and 50 total tackles in 2023. He’s been solid against the run and equally as impressive dropping into coverage.

Grand: Sebastian Castro. A pick-six to his name, Castro has locked down in coverage for the Hawkeyes. He’s limited receivers to very little in his primary coverage and has been a feisty, physical corner with terrific catch-point skills.

Wonderful: Joe Evans. We feel like were just a few plays away from the Joe Evans breakout game. He’s been getting after the quarterbacks at will in 2023 and though he has one sack, Evans has influenced the opponent’s game plan more often than not this season.

Maryland Terrapins

Good: Pass-catching trio. Between TE Corey Dyches and WRs Kaden Prather and Jeshaun Jones, Tagovailoa has had the luxury of one of these three stepping up in each game so far. With 611 receiving yards between this trio, they’ve been almost unstoppable.

Great: Donnell Brown. Despite his position as an outside linebacker who primarily rushes the passer, Brown has started to see more and more snaps as a coverage defender. He’s rewarded the Terps with two picks and a handful of forced incompletions already this season. The St. Francis transfer is a name to watch.

Grand: Taulia Tagovailoa. Starting to find his groove, Tagovailoa has thrown for 1,112 yards and eight touchdowns, excelling when he’s targeting any receiver. Tagovailoa has looked sharp downfield and has seemingly improved his decision-making and accuracy this season. His records are only going to grow within the Maryland program.

Wonderful: Tarheeb Still. Leading the way with three picks this season, Still has secured a game-winning interception and locked down his side of the field. If quarterbacks can complete a pass on him, Still limits that receiver to almost no chance for any YAC with his sticky coverage skills.

Michigan Wolverines

Good: Drake Nugent. A huge get in the portal, Nugent has proven his worth to the Wolverines. The former Stanford center has been dominant in pass protection but even better on the ground.

Great: J.J. McCarthy. Accurate and talented with his arm, McCarthy has taken that proverbial next step it appears. Despite a shaky outing against Bowling Green, he rebounded and performed at a higher level this season than he has throughout his career.

Grand: Blake Corum. Somewhere, Corum just scored another touchdown. He’s been a touchdown machine this season and despite good blocking in front of him, done enough in space and on his own to prove he’s one of the top backs in the country.

Wonderful: Mike Sainristil. It could be said that we still haven’t seen the best of Sainristil yet. That’s scary because the converted wide receiver has done nothing but turn heads this season and last. Playing underneath, Sainristil has shown elite instincts and incredible athleticism this season, picking off two passes, returning one for a score, and generally confusing opposing quarterbacks.

Michigan State Spartans

Good: Jaron Glover. On just nine receptions, Glover leads the Spartans with 203 yards. He’s been a big-play machine so far in 2023, and despite some sluggish offensive play as of late, has put more than enough on tape to impress.

Great: Noah Kim. To start the season, no one knew what we’d get form Kim at quarterback in East Lansing. Here we are, four weeks into the season and he’s been impressive, all things considered. Though they’ve slowed down as of late, Kim has flashed with his arm talent.

Grand: Angelo Grose. He leads the team with three pass breakups and has the second-most solo tackles on the Michigan State defense. That’s because Grose has flown around the field with precision and accuracy this fall.

Wonderful: Nathan Carter. Doing more than most on his own, Carter averages 5.1 yards per carry and has 369 yards on the ground this season. With four touchdowns, he’s shown he can carry the offensive ground game for the Spartans.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Good: Aireontae Ersery. What a season so far for Ersery as he’s proven more than capable of stepping into the leader role at left tackle for the second season in a row. He’s been great in pass protection for Athan Kaliakmanis but has shown something extra on the ground, clearing massive rushing lane after massive rushing lane.

Great: Maverick Baranowski. Leading the team with 28 tackles, Baranowski has 28 stops and flies around the field well in each facet. He’s recorded two pass breakups in coverage and shown he can run the alley well.

Grand: Tyler Nubin. The all-everything safety has flashed brilliance this season as well, recording two interceptions, including a crucial red-zone INT against Nebraska.

Wonderful: Darius Taylor. A potential special player has emerged for the Gophers this season. Taylor has been terrific in all facets since he came on against Eastern Michigan in Week 2. The stat sheet may say four games played, but he recorded just one carry in Week 1 and all but three of his 532 yards on the ground have come in the past three weeks.

He’s dominant between the tackles and even better in space. The freshman phenom from Detroit has everyone wondering how they missed him on the recruiting trail.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Good: Heinrich Haarberg. Leading the team in rushing yards despite starting just two games, Haarberg has proven to be an elusive threat in the open field. He’s also kept the ball relatively safe in the passing game and if he continues to develop, could be something special in this offense.

Great: Bryce Benhart. The big man at right tackle for Nebraska has been remarkably consistent this season. With sound pass protection sets, Benhart’s biggest impact has been on the ground where he’s routinely found clearing the lane at the first and second levels.

Grand: Luke Reimer. Leading the way with 2.5 sacks this season, Reimer has added a tenacious blitzing presence in the middle of the field for the Huskers. He also has multiple plays in run defense as he’s proven invaluable to this defense.

Wonderful: Isaac Gifford. Leading the team in tackles, Gifford has proven to be more than a lockdown cornerback and instead almost like an additional linebacker in run defense. He’s made multiple plays on the ball and has shown great instincts in 2023.

Northwestern Wildcats

Good: Garnett Hollis Jr. Showing he can stick with any number of receivers, Hollis Jr. has put forth a great start to the 2023 campaign. He’s recorded multiple pass breakups and limited receivers incredibly well in his coverage.

Great: Xander Mueller. Second on the team in tackles and sacks, Mueller has proven once again he’s a three-down threat at linebacker. Mueller has great instincts in all facets and nabbed a pick against UTEP.

Grand: Bryce Gallagher. Leading the team once again in tackles with 44, Gallagher is flying around the field for the Wildcats like he’s done for the past three seasons. Gallagher has recorded an interception and multiple plays in the backfield as he’s the heart and soul of this defense.

Wonderful: Bryce Kirtz. Going off in Week 4, Kirtz was unstoppable in Northwestern’s come-from-behind victory over Minnesota. He’s hauled in team-highs in receptions (17), yards (274), and touchdowns (2) while showcasing a terrific all-around skill set. Kirtz can run clean routes on the outside and should be a huge factor moving forward.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Good: Tommy Eichenberg. With so many talented pass rushers on the Ohio State defense, it may come as a surprise that Eichenberg is actually getting home more frequently than most on a per-snap basis. When he blitzes, Eichenberg has been a tormentor to opposing offenses. He also leads the team with 25 tackles and 19 solo stops.

Great: Denzel Burke. What a rebound campaign Burke is building in 2023. After a quiet season in 2022, Burke has put forth his best effort so far this year, recording four pass breakups and an interception through just four games.

Grand: Josh Fryar. You need to watch No. 70 when this Ohio State offense is on the field. He commands your attention with his run-blocking prowess and clean pockets. With an OL full of stars, Fryar has shone brightest.

Wonderful: Marvin Harrison Jr./Emeka Egbuka/Julian Fleming. In the running for best WR trio in the country, it’s been how this group has done their damage that’s been inspiring. Fleming is arguably the best downfield blocker in the country while Egbuka plays second fiddle nationally to only his teammate Harrison.

Penn State Nittany Lions

Good: Drew Allar. Blossoming in front of our eyes, the Allar Era has officially begun. With the best running back duo in America behind him, Allar has still done enough to warrant a place among the top quarterbacks in the Big Ten this year. He’s completing 67.2% of his passes and has eight touchdowns while taking exceptional care of the ball.

Great: Kaytron Allen/Nicholas Singleton. They’re absolutely in the discussion as top duo in the country this season, as Allen and Singleton have proven that to start 2023. The wave of the future, using two backs as opposed to one bellcow, is how Penn State deploys these two, and they’ve shown how that can work through four games. With 483 combined yards and seven touchdowns, the sky is the limit as this duo should stay fresh all season long.

Grand: Olu Fashanu. We knew Fashanu was going to come back to impress us at Penn State this year; we didn’t know he was going to come back to viciously dominate their opponents. A true mauler, Fashanu has put forth a clinic in both facets this season.

Wonderful: Chop Robinson. We could have also listed Adisa Isaac here, but Robinson has been too good on his own this season. He’s influencing the opponent’s passing game in a variety of ways as his speed to get off the ball, and his ability to translate that to power have been impressive this season.

Purdue Boilermakers

Good: Hudson Card. The arm talent has never been in question for Card and he’s found success in this Boilermakers’ offense quickly in 2023. He’s distributing the ball well and has thrown for 1,027 yards and three scores. A few more better decisions when the plays have broken down, and we’re moving him up here.

Great: Deion Burks. Breaking out to start the year and following that up with multiple big plays, somehow, Burks has caught all three of the receiving touchdowns for the Purdue offense this season. He’s a nimble threat but plays a much bigger game than his 5’11” frame would indicate.

Grand: Dillon Thieneman. Leading the team with 38 total tackles, 29 solo tackles, and two interceptions, Thieneman is the leader for a reason. He patrols the middle well and has shown he’s fully capable of a three-down role yet again.

Wonderful: Kydran Jenkins. A missile to the football, Jenkins has been a man on a mission in 2023. With a team-high three sacks to his credit, that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of his impact. He’s a true pocket pusher and does so with great strength and crafty balance on his pass rushes.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Good: Flip Dixon. With Max Melton locking down the outside, it has been Dixon who has impressed over the middle in coverage. He’ll come downhill well but Dixon’s biggest impact has been in coverage where he has two pass breakups and a pick to his credit in four games.

Great: Gavin Wimsatt. When 2023 is all said and done, it’s highly likely that Wimsatt sets all new career highs in each passing metric. In fact, we’re close to him breaking his best season marks already. It hasn’t come without its flaws, but Wimsatt’s passing mechanics have improved and he’s shown he has plenty of talent to make a game against any opponent with his dual-threat capabilities.

Grand: Aaron Lewis. Leading the way with double-digit pressures, Lewis has shown he’s fully capable of affecting the opposing quarterback in 2023. Lewis has a great frame to work with and has shown he can get after the QB from inside or outside all the same.

Wonderful: Kyle Monangai. Doing more than most have to with the ball in his hands, Monangai has shown he can create plenty of yards on his own. Monangai forces missed tackles at ease and can be seen creating space with his shiftiness all the same. He has patience, vision, and burst, as he’s the complete package.

Wisconsin Badgers

Good: Tanner Mordecai. If you hadn’t seen Mordecai play prior to his time at Wisconsin, you were unaware of his similarities to Baker Mayfield. Mordecai hasn’t quite hit the ground running in the air, but on the ground, he sure has. He’s commanding the ball well and has six total touchdowns this season.

Great: Hunter Wohler. The Badgers’ leading tackler, Wohler gets his business done at or around the line of scrimmage more often than not. Wohler is technically sound in coverage as well with two pass breakups and two interceptions, covering a ton of ground in doing so.

Grand: Ricardo Hallman. Leading the team with three interceptions, Hallman has been stellar in coverage on the outside for Wisconsin. He plays a much bigger game than his frame would indicate, and his physicality in coverage is unmatched.

Wonderful: Braelon Allen/Chez Mellusi. Not to be forgotten in the Big Ten as a formidable RB duo, Allen and Mellusi have somehow shown out in Phil Longo’s offense. With 678 rushing yards between the two of them, it’s been an incredible feat to watch them share touches in the backfield and get the job done in different, albeit similar ways.

Big 12

Baylor Bears

Good: RB trio. Dominic Richardson, Richard Reese, and Dawson Pendergrass had each crossed the 100-yard mark on the ground by Week 3. The OL has done a great job but each has proven capable of making their own yardage.

Great: Drake Dabney. A talented receiving tight end, Dabney is the premier red-zone threat for the Bears.

Grand: Mike Smith Jr. True three-down linebackers are hard to come across but Smith Jr. has certainly shown he’s one of them. He’ll blitz with a high success rate and plays the middle of the field brilliantly.

Wonderful: The OL. Campbell Barrington, Clark Barrington, and Kaden Sieracki haven’t missed a snap together and have proven to be the staple of a Baylor team that dominates the trenches weekly. The going got tough against Texas, yet they still managed to impress.

BYU Cougars

Good: LJ Martin/Chase Roberts. A two-pack of offensive weapons, Roberts’ one-handed catch is already at legend status, while Martin continues to rush into BYU fans’ hearts.

Great: Jakob Robinson. With two picks and 21 tackles, Robinson has been all over the field for the Cougars. He’s proven to be a star in coverage and no slouch against the run.

Grand: Kedon Slovis. There has been some ‘wow’ moments from Slovis this season, finding his receivers and throwing them open. He may want a throw or two back, but he’s more than flashed his potential first-round ability that we saw back during his time at USC.

Wonderful: Kingsley Suamataia. A lock for high draft pick at this point, Suamataia has been dominant in all facets for BYU. Playing against formidable edge defenders, he’s shown he has elite skills in both run and pass blocking.

Cincinnati Bearcats

Good: Dorian Jones. Leading the team in tackles, Jones has ben all over the field. A three-down linebacker, Jones has a sack to go with his pass breakup and team-high 26 total tackles.

Great: Emory Jones. The great from Jones has been just that: great. He’s run for 186 yards and three scores to go with his 970 yards and seven touchdowns through the air. Consistency is the key for Jones moving forward.

Grand: Daniel Grzesiak. Playing a unique role in the Cincinnati defense, Grzesiak has been all over the field for the Bearcats. Playing more in coverage than he ever has, he’s flashed elite ability against the pass while still presenting as one of the top pass rushers in the Big 12.

Wonderful: Byron Threats. A new name to know in the Cincinnati secondary is Threats. His three pass breakups are second on the team while he’s forced another fumble and has a team-high two picks on the year.

Houston Cougars

Good: Parker Jenkins. The true freshman flashed brilliance in Week 4 as Jenkins broke multiple tackles and flirted with one of the best runs we’ve seen this season. The sky is the limit for Jenkins.

Great: Malik Fleming. Interceptions don’t make the man, but when you’ve got three picks through four games, Fleming has certainly become a made man in Houston. Making matters better for Fleming, he’s also recorded 15 total tackles and multiple other forced incompletions.

Grand: Nelson Ceaser. With 3.5 sacks to his credit so far, Sack Ave. has been in good hands with Ceaser. He’s dominant on his pass-rushing reps and Ceaser can win with power or speed all the same.

Wonderful: Patrick Paul, Tyler Johnson, Jack Freeman. The upperclassmen trio from center to the left has been the highlight of the Cougars’ first four games on offense. Paul has stolen the show with his pass-protection skills, while Freeman was dominant in Week 4.

Iowa State Cyclones

Good: Jayden Higgins. The transfer from Eastern Kentucky had started to find his groove before Week 4, but he’s flashed that high-level ability that made him a highly recruiting transfer. Higgins has great catch-point skills and can run slick routes. We just need some consistent QB play to see all he’s got to offer.

Great: Beau Freyler. Leading the team in tackles, Freyler has been all over the field for Iowa State. He’ll make the calls and pick the right holes to blow up in run defense and his skills in coverage have been apparent.

Grand: Jeremiah Cooper. With three picks to his credit, Cooper has returned one for a touchdown and broken up a few more passes in a great start to the season. He’s also third on the team in tackles as he’s proven to limit receivers well in coverage and add value in run defense.

Wonderful: T.J. Tampa. Calling game in Week 4, Tampa has been the most impressive defender for the Cyclones in 2023. Tampa has patrolled the entire side of the field with his physical play, both in coverage and against the run.

Kansas Jayhawks

Good: Devin Neal. Averaging 6.9 yards per carry, Neal is one of the top backs in the country for a reason. He’s chipped in with 11 catches and 145 yards through the air and has six total touchdowns. Honorary shoutout to Daniel Hishaw Jr. and his ridiculous 7.1 yards per carry on the ground.

Great: Mello Dotson. Kenny Logan Jr. turned heads with his pick-six last weekend, but it’s been Dotson who’s locked down for the Jayhawks this season. Dotson has six PBUs already to go with his pick and 10 solo tackles.

Grand: Dominick Puni. Paving the way on the ground has been Puni for Kansas. He’s been unstoppable on the move for this offense and has kept Jason Bean and Daniels clean in the pocket more often than not to boot.

Wonderful: Jalon Daniels. Once he returned to the lineup, the trajectory of this entire Kansas lineup went sky-high. Daniels is a dominant athlete and has thrown for 705 yards at 9.4 yards per attempt. The best part about his season so far is the fact that he hasn’t had to do a whole lot with his feet as he’s dishing from inside the pocket.

Kansas State Wildcats

Good: Jacob Parrish. With five pass breakups and a pick, Parrish has impressed anyone watching the Wildcats this season. He’s locked down receivers in his primary coverage and even passed a few off to make plays on the ball.

Great: DJ Giddens. Fresh off a career day that earned him a spot on our Team of the Week in Week 4, Giddens has recorded 530 all-purpose yards this season. He’s a dynamic runner with power through contact and unmatched nimbleness.

Grand: Cooper Beebe. Playing multiple positions this season, it’s been the Beebe show on offense. Paving the lane for huge rushing gains or keeping his QB free from pressure, Beebe does it all and has done it from right tackle, left guard, and left tackle.

Wonderful: Brendan Mott/Khalid Duke. They don’t get enough credit but this pass-rushing duo of Mott and Duke have made life miserable for opposing offenses. It feels like we’re headed for a breakout game at any moment for this duo that’s combined for five sacks but a dozen more pressures.

Oklahoma Sooners

Good: Walter Rouse. The Stanford transfer has made his impact felt in Norman, both on the ground and in pass protection. After four years of dominance in the Pac-12, it’s clear Rouse was ready for the big stage and leads this underrated Sooners offensive line.

Great: Danny Stutsman. With so much talent on this Sooners’ defense, it’s been Stutsman that has flashed brilliance in 2023. We could’ve gone Ethan Downs or Stutsman here, and both deserve recognition, but what Stutsman does on a per-play basis for Oklahoma has not gone unnoticed.

Grand: Nic Anderson. We’re witnessing the emergence of a potential superstar in Anderson. With just eight receptions, he’s recorded 223 yards and four scores, the latter of which leads the team. He has sharp routes and can get open at any level of the field.

Wonderful: Dillon Gabriel. Completing 78% of his passes for 12 touchdowns and 1,227 yards in just four games, Gabriel has been lights out in 2023. Considering he’s played in a full game just twice out of those four, it makes those numbers that much more incredible. He’s cleared 12,000 career passing yards and has 14,000 in his sights.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Good: Alex Hale. Perfect from extra points this season, Hale is also 6-for-7 on field goals. Those six made field goals include three from distance, and two from 50+.

Great: Ollie Gordon II. One of the fastest backs in the country, Gordon has done a great job of creating his own yardage in 2023. He’s up to 230 rushing yards and has done so without a potent passing attack to aid him.

Grand: Kendal Daniels. The Cowboys’ safety has come downhill in run defense like a missile and proved invaluable to this defense. He’s recorded a sack and 31 total tackles, patrolling the flats in coverage equally as well.

Wonderful: Collin Oliver. What a stud Oliver has blossomed into this season. With two forced fumbles, a sack, and 25 total tackles, Oliver has been lights out against the run and any ball carrier coming over the middle. He’s added two pass breakups in coverage, rounding out his ridiculously talented skill set.

TCU Horned Frogs

Good: Brandon Coleman. The Horned Frogs’ massive left guard has clearly taken to his position change yet again in 2023. From right tackle in his freshman season to left guard in 2021, Coleman has now changed back to left guard after starting at left tackle in 2022 and he’s looked all the better for it. Coleman can get off the ball quickly and provides a massive presence on the inside.

Great: Josh Newton. TCU’s do-everything cornerback has flashed yet again in 2023. He’s picked up the most difficult assignment against every team and looked better off for it. Newton has an interception and three PBUs this fall to go with his general sticky coverage skills.

Grand: Jamoi Hodge/Johnny Hodges. The Hodge/Hodges combination has been terrific yet again in 2023. They’ve combined for 41 total tackles and 3.5 sacks as they’ve flown around the field with terrific precision and skill.

Wonderful: Emani Bailey. You either have contact balance or you don’t. And Bailey has plenty of it. In fact, Bailey is a rare blend of contact balance and power with his speed and athletic profile. His first cuts are brilliant and the way he plants his foot in the ground and makes defenders look silly while not losing any speed is rare. Oh, he’s got 483 yards on the ground and another 50 through the air already in a stacked backfield.

Texas Longhorns

Good: Jonathon Brooks. Replacing a legend like Bijan Robinson was going to be difficult but it’s evident that Brooks is up to the challenge. With 379 yards on 65 carries, Brooks has ripped off multiple highlight-reel runs and has 443 yards and four total touchdowns in four games.

Great: AD Mitchell/Ja’Tavion Sanders/Xavier Worthy. This is a safe play here because each of these three has flashed great skill in 2023. From Mitchell’s ball-tracking highlight reel against Alabama to Sanders’ game-changing skills, this is as hard of a trio to figure out as there is in America.

Grand: Jaylan Ford. There have been a host of defenders that have flashed in 2023, but Ford has repeated his success from 2022 and even improved. With two interceptions, Ford may be the best coverage linebacker in the country. Combine that with the fact that he can run the alley in run defense and has terrific instincts, and you’ve got yourself one of the best complete linebackers in the nation.

Wonderful: Quinn Ewers. The next step has been taken by Ewers and all that’s left is a full season of health and continued consistent accuracy from the pocket. We know about the arm talent Ewers possesses, and we’re more sold than ever that had he been able to play the full game against Alabama last year, Texas would’ve won the game. Ewers has found the deep ball and the Big 12 is in trouble one final time.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Good: Tahj Brooks. For as good as the pass catchers are in Lubbock, it’s been Brooks that has stolen the show on offense. With 412 rushing yards on just 61 attempts, we feel like we’re so close to the Brooks breakout game. He’s averaging 6.8 yards per carry and doing plenty on his own in space.

Great: Dadrion Taylor-Demerson. TTU’s long-time safety is having a potential career season. With an interception to his credit already, Taylor-Demerson’s full impact is only felt when you watch the tape as you see him routinely calling out routes, reading and reacting to every play quickly, and covering a ton of ground on the back end in coverage.

Grand: Jaylon Hutchings. Interior pressure is always going to win over those who watch defensive play and Hutchings is one of the best at generating havoc on the inside. Hutchings has two sacks on the season and 16 total tackles as he’s been equally impressive against the run.

Wonderful: Malik Dunlap. With three picks to his credit, Dunlap has done his fair share of damage for the Red Raiders defense. Doing so from the outside, Dunlap has earned his reps this season with sticky coverage as he uses his ridiculous length to his advantage. He’s the complete package.

UCF Knights

Good: Tre’Mon Morris-Brash. The first of the defensive standouts, Morris-Brash has taken that proverbial next step this season, it appears. Morris-Brash has three sacks and has consistently put pressure on the opposing QB in 2023.

Great: Marcellus Marshall. Transferring in with Drake Metcalf and high expectations, Marshall has exceeded those lofty goals already. Having to shift over from right tackle to left guard due to injury, Marshall’s versatility and ability to seamlessly transition has kept this UCF offense on pace.

Grand: Kobe Hudson/Javon Baker. This duo is one of the top duos in the Big 12 and are currently averaging over 20 yards per catch between the two of them. THey’re doing a ton of damage on their own as they’re true after-the-catch threats just as much as they are sharp route runners.

Wonderful: Corey Thornton. With three pass breakups and two interceptions to his credit, Thornton has been dominant on the outside for USF. The Knights’ cornerback has 12 solo tackles to boot as he’s shown he can lock down receivers in his coverage and limit anything after the catch.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Good: CJ Donaldson Jr. We feel like we’re just getting started with Donaldson this season. He’s run for 287 yards and three scores, showing his speed and burst is back. For such big man, Donaldson is such a hard ask to bring down in the open field due to his speed, athletic profile, and elusiveness.

Great: Lee Kpogba. Patrolling the middle of the field underneath for WVU, Kpogba has been in his bag this season. He’s got 29 total tackles and has shown to be a missile to the football in all facets.

Grand: Beanie Bishop Jr. The most impressive coverage defender this year, Bishop has burned bright for the Mountaineers. He’s recorded five pass breakups and has two interceptions so far this season, moving well along the boundary for WVU. After four years at Western Kentucky and one at Minnesota, it’s clear Bishop has found a home in Morgantown.

Wonderful: Zach Frazier/Wyatt Milum/Doug Nester. From the inside out, this offensive line has been terrific. Frazier, we knew, was terrific in all facets, and Nester/Milum, we had seen it in flashes. Together this season, this trio at center and bookend tackles have far exceeded expectations.

Conference USA

FIU Panthers

Good: Jamal Potts/Hezekiah Masses. The cornerbacking duo of Potts and Masses have come up clutch for the Panthers. Masses returned a pick for a TD against North Texas while Potts has forced fumbles two fumbles.

Great: Donovan Manuel. Leading the charge with 54 tackles, Manuel is averaging over 10 tackles per game. His 30 solo tackles lead the team and he’s forced a whopping four fumbles so far in 2023.

Grand: Alex Nobles. What a year it has been for Nobles as he’s consistently rushed the passer at a high rate. He’s recorded 1.5 sacks but has another dozen pressures against some stout pass blockers.

Wonderful: Keyone Jenkins. The future is now for the FIU Panthers and Jenkins is that future. The proverbial training wheels came off and Jenkins has been more boom than bust so far in his young career. He’s thrown for 1,000 yards and five touchdowns, showcasing great command over the offense for a true freshman.

Jacksonville State Gamecocks

Good: Logan Smothers. Giving the Gamecocks a spark on offense, Smothers’ ability on the ground has proven to be necessary as he continues to adjust to the offense in a passing sense. Smothers is as fast as they come and he appears to understand what the offense needs of him as he’s taken over.

Great: Quae Drake. The UL-Monroe transfer has dominated at all three levels of defense for Jacksonville State. Drake is a bully when he rushes the passer and drops back incredibly well in coverage. Run defense is the name of his game, but he’s stepped up his play in every facet this season.

Grand: Larry Worth. Watch the film and you’ll spot Worth all over it on defense for JSU. He’s recorded two sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and 16 total tackles from his hybrid linebacker/nickel alignment. He’s been all over the field.

Wonderful: Clay Webb. The scouting notebook is full of highlights from Webb, both on the ground and in the passing game. Webb’s been immaculate in pass protection and an absolute mauler on the ground, clearing massive holes and wide-open rushing lanes.

Liberty Flames

Good: Jordan White. Liberty’s center, White is fresh off his best game of his college career in Week 4 as he’s flashed dominance in each facet, notably with his skill to get out in space for his running backs or quarterback.

Great: CJ Bazile Jr. Pressuring the quarterback at will this season, Bazile Jr. has ripped through tackles, guards, or centers with ease. Bazile is dominating the point of attack and flashing a handful of pass-rush moves.

Grand: Tyren Dupree. At the right place at the right time because of shear instincts, the ability for Dupree to nab his two interceptions this season has been uncanny. He’s also the team’s leading tackler and the heartbeat of this defense. It’s been an eye-opening campaign.

Wonderful: Kaidon Salter. It feels like a college football forever ago that we had questions about who was going to lead this Liberty offense under head coach Jamey Chadwell. Salter has taken the reins and hasn’t looked back.

For all the credit he gets with his athletic ability (and it’s for sure worthy of mentioning), Salter has been dominant with his passing ability. Salter has 11 touchdowns and is averaging a ridiculous depth of target despite the 10 yards per attempt. And he’s been accurate in doing so.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Good: J’Dan Burnett. He’s missed two games but still flown around the field from the edge with reckless abandon. Making major waves with his pass-rushing ability, Burnett’s quick pressures caught opponents off-guard to start the season.

Great: Smoke Harris. Some things never change and Harris catching balls over the middle from the slot is one of them. A dominant after-the-catch receiver, Harris averages 10.6 yards per catch through five games but the majority of that has been done after hauling in a reception.

Grand: Willie Roberts. Locking down on the outside, Roberts has been a missile to the football in coverage. He leads the team with four pass breakups and an interception, but that hardly tells the story of QBs starting to avoid targeting him altogether.

Wonderful: Myles Heard. What can’t this guy do? Heard leads the team with 50 total tackles, coming downhill incredibly well from his safety position. He’s been a thorn in the side of each opponent this year.

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Good: Jacqui Graham. A consistent force for this Blue Raiders team, Graham has been unstoppable on the ground and solid in pass protection. He’s a great mover in space and the nimble tackle has shown that by getting out in front of multiple runs this season.

Great: Nicholas Vattiato. The MTSU signal-caller has led a spread attack for the Blue Raiders, dishing it to four different receivers for at least 100 yards so far. The decision-making has been sharp for Vattiato and he’s a few throws away from a potential breakout performance.

Grand: Tra Fluellen. Coming downhill like a man possessed, Fluellen has been all over the field for MTSU. Fluellen has sound technique and a great foundation for making plays all over the field.

Wonderful: Sam Brumfield. Not only does Brumfield lead the team with 30 tackles, he’s recorded 20 solo stops and has a team-high two sacks. He patrols the middle of the field incredibly well and has shown he can move at a high level from sideline to sideline.

New Mexico State Aggies

Good: Canaan Yarro. The Aggies center is the leader of the offensive line for good reason. Moving defenders off the ball at will, Yarro has been equally as impressive in pass protection as he has been clearing the way on the ground.

Great: Myles Rowser. Tied for second on the team with 14 solo tackles, Rowser has been a great last line of defense and a solid run filler for New Mexico State this year. Rowser has broken up a pass and forced a fumble to boot.

Grand: Keonte Glinton. The Wyoming transfer has proven his worth early and often for the Aggies, coming in on rotational snaps to boot. Glinton leads the team with three pass breakups and has truly been lock down in coverage if he’s been targeted.

Wonderful: Diego Pavia. Leading the team in rushing, the Aggies signal-caller has given New Mexico State exactly what they’ve needed when they’ve needed it more often than not this year. Pavia has added a downfield accuracy to his game in 2023 and is averaging 11.1 yards per attempt and has done a great job of finding his receivers in space when he has the time.

Reminder, this is about what Pavia’s produced on the field, not what was leaked online.

Sam Houston Bearkats

Good: Chris Scott. Without much of a pass rush this year, the Bearkats haven’t affected the opposing QB as much as they hoped in Year 1 at the FBS level. Still, Scott has shown he can effectively move the pocket at times this season and has one of the team’s two sacks.

Great: Da’Veawn Armstead. Leading the way with three pass breakups, Armstead has been a bright spot this year. He’s done well enough in coverage to hold up against some top wideouts and has recorded four PBUs in three games.

Grand: Kavian Gaither. The team’s second-leading tackler, Gaither has 21 total tackles but 15 solo stops. He’s been racking up tackles due to inefficiency on the defensive front, but he’s certainly done enough to move the needle in his direction.

Wonderful: Trevor Williams. The team’s leading tackler rounds out our top four here as Williams and the Bearkats defense is about the only glimmer of hope in 2023. Williams has 38 total tackles and made his impact felt by running the alley and making multiple stops behind or at the line of scrimmage.

UTEP Miners

Good: Gavin Hardison. What a rocket for an arm Hardison has once again shown off in 2023. Though he’s made some throws he surely wants back, there is no denying the talent Hardison has when he’s got a clean pocket to throw and can dissect a defense.

Great: Andrew Meyer. The UTEP middle man on an incredibly gifted offensive line, Meyer calls the shots and leads the charge of this group that’s been the strength of the offense. Meyer is terrific on the ground and has proven to be a brick wall in pass protection.

Grand: Praise Amaewhule. For a long time now, Amaewhule has been a hidden figure out west. He’s been a terrific pass rusher and a solid defensive end for years at UTEP. This season, however, he’s added some high-level instinctual plays that have seen him catch more than just the savvy college football analyst’s eyes.

Wonderful: Tyrice Knight. The nation’s leader in total tackles, Knight has 66 through five games this year. He’s doing so because he’s always put himself in the right position with keen instincts and great athleticism to hit the hole before pulling linemen can or run the alley and weave through the trash elsewhere. Knight has a pass breakup and 2.5 sacks, rounding out his terrific season to date.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Good: Malachi Corley. We’re just getting Corley back full time and what a feeling that is. He’s hauled in 21 receptions this year for 250 yards, and you better believe most of those yards have been after the catch. When fully healthy, few are better than Corley.

Great: Kendrick Simpkins. Proving to be a tough ask for offenses to figure out, Simpkins is leading the team with 3.5 sacks. He’s blitzed incredibly well off the edge, timing his shots accurately and precisely. In coverage, he’s also been a sound defense, and he’s forced two fumbles this season.

Grand: Upton Stout. Locking down opposing WR1s, Stout has that ‘it’ factor about him. he’s recorded four pass breakups and has a pick-six to his credit, as his instincts have been apparent.

Wonderful: Austin Reed. Commanding the football better than most last year, Reed has returned to the same form that we saw in 2022. He’s spreading the ball around well and reading defenses just as well. As Conference USA play begins, you better believe we’re in for some serious statistical showings from Reed and Co.

FBS Independents

Army Black Knights

Good: Leo Lowin. Among a sea of talented defenders, Lowin has flashed with his side-to-sideline ability and the way he comes down in run defense at the same time.

Great: Cameron Jones. He’s been tested a lot on the outside for Army, but Jones has more than held his own. He’ll limit yards after the catch and dominate at the catch point against any receiver.

Grand: Bryson Daily. Not only does he lead the Black Knights in rushing, Daily’s been the perfect quarterback to usher in the new offense at Army. Daily has shown he’s more than capable of dotting the field with accurate passes from the shotgun, just as he can run a traditional triple-option offense.

Wonderful: Isaiah Alston. A mismatch in the secondary, Alston stands at 6’4″ and 195 pounds yet moves like a graceful gazelle through the secondary. He’s hauled in multiple receptions in every game and is as big of a big-play threat there is for this offense.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Good: Audric Estime. We debated going with the LB duo of Jack Kiser and JB Bertrand here, but Estime has been too special. Creating on his own with great blocking in front of him, Estime has been a tough ask to tackle in space. He’s averaging a whopping 7.7 yards per carry with 591 yards on 77 rushes and five scores.

Great: Benjamin Morrison. With four pass breakups to his credit, Morrison has returned to the same form he left in 2022 so far this year. He’s nabbed an interception and done a great job at sticking with his receivers in coverage all season.

Grand: Joe Alt/Pat Coogan. The left side of the Notre Dame offensive line has been stellar in 2023. Led by Alt, this duo has moved defenders off the line on the ground and kept Hartman clean from pressure in the passing game. Alt is the star but Coogan isn’t far behind him.

Wonderful: Sam Hartman. The blueprint for veteran transfer quarterbacks has been set by Hartman. Notre Dame ushered him in slowly back in Week 0 in Ireland and unleashed him ever since. He’s climbing up the national leaderboards in every career metric a quarterback can, and thrown for 1,236 yards with 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions this year.

UConn Huskies

Good: Victor Rosa. He didn’t get his first start until Week 4 yet Rosa leads the team in rushing yards. One of the top freshman backs from a year ago, Rosa is catching steam once again, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and scoring two touchdowns on the ground.

Great: Jackson Mitchell. The all-everything linebacker is up to his usual tricks. Mitchell leads the team with 32 tackles and has even chipped in this year with a pass breakup in coverage and a half-sack on a blitz.

Grand: Pryce Yates. Interior pressure is king, and Yates is ruling the UConn defense. He’s ripping through the interior well and has done a good job of moving the point of attack for the opposing run game as well.

Wonderful: Christian Haynes. It doesn’t take a football genius to notice a great play in space from a pulling guard when you see how quickly and impressively Haynes does it. Turning heads when UConn played NC State, Haynes has been doing this kind of work regularly for the Huskies this season, and to be honest, as far back as 2019 when he first started for UConn.

UMass Minutemen

Good: Kay’Ron Lynch-Adams. Rushing for 463 yards, Lynch-Adams has proven he can handle the rock on a full-time basis for UMass. He’s up to 97 carries and still pounding forward for every extra yard. He has great vision and even better burst.

Great: Isaiah Rutherford. Limiting receivers in coverage like few have this year, Rutherford consistently seems to be on the end of an incompletion for opponents. Rutherford has two pass breakups to go with a pick-six, as he’s been terrific on the outside for the Minutemen.

Grand: Anthony Simpson. Averaging 20.7 yards per catch, Simpson has shown he has more than enough in his bag to be considered the clear WR1 for UMass. Simpson is a terrific catch-point threat despite his 5’11” frame and has no trouble speeding past defensive backs in the open field.

Wonderful: Billy Wooden. Causing havoc up the middle, Wooden leads the team with four sacks from his interior positioning. He’s bullying his way past smaller linemen and using a great get-off at the line of scrimmage to defeat slower guards and centers. Wooden has been the most impressive player by far for UMass in 2023.

MAC

Akron Zips

Good: Joshua Blanchard. The Zips left tackle has been solid at protecting QB DJ Irons’ blindside as well as clearing paths in the run game.

Great: CJ Nunnally. The big man off the edge has proven to be too much to handle so far this season, recording multiple sacks, QB hits, and pressures.

Grand: Kerry Martin Jr. No surprise here. The former West Virginia safety has patrolled the middle of the field with reckless abandon and great skill. He’s recorded an interception and laid the lumber regularly in each facet.

Wonderful: Lorenzo Lingard. The former five-star recruit and former Florida Gator/Miami Hurricane has found his footing in northeast Ohio. Lingard made shockwaves with his 77-yard touchdown against Temple, and though it’s not been easy sailing, Lingard has proven he’s still got it.

Ball State Cardinals

Good: Marquez Cooper. We had high hopes for Cooper transferring in from Kent State and though he’s taken some time to get rolling, he appears ready to impose his will in 2023.

Great: Tanner Koziol. As MAC play continues, the Cardinals certainly will be able to lean on the impressive ability Koziol has once again put forth in 2023. He’s a sure-handed receiving threat with plus skills in both facets while blocking.

Grand: Damon Kaylor. The Cardinals’ right tackle has proven strong in pass protection and has flashed potential in the ground game. The switch back to tackle has paid off so far this season.

Wonderful: Tyler ‘Red’ Potts. Whether it was the PBU against Brock Bowers in the red zone or any one of his two interceptions so far this season, Potts has flashed a brilliant talent for Ball State in 2023. Potts has seen it all at cornerback for the Cardinals and has emerged as the top playmaker on the entire roster.

Bowling Green Falcons

Good: Odieu Hiliare. The passing attack hasn’t been able to find Hiliare enough. But when he has been targeted, he’s shown his other-worldly skills.

Great: Jordan Oladokun. Picking off Michigan’s JJ McCarthy was the highlight so far, but Oladokun’s instincts have been on display in each game. Targeted heavily, Oladokun has made QBs pay.

Grand: Cashius Howell. A man on a mission on the edge, Howell leads the team with 2.5 sacks and a near-dozen pressures. He’s been unstoppable as a one-man wrecking crew and has started to command more reps, and ultimately more double teams.

Wonderful: Davon Ferguson. The toughest defender to figure out on the BGSU roster, Ferguson has once again played his hybrid safety/nickel spot brilliantly to start 2023. He’ll bend but not break in coverage and can blitz like an edge rusher or stuff the run like a linebacker.

Buffalo Bulls

Good: Charles McCartherens. Since entering the lineup in Week 3, all McCartherens has done is record two interceptions and done a great job of limiting receivers to minimal gains.

Great: Shaun Dolac. No surprises here; the man in the middle for Buffalo has been all over the field. He can go sideline-to-sideline and is one of the best at dropping into coverage.

Grand: Marcus Fuqua. Though he hasn’t notched an INT yet, Fuqua has once again proven to be a missile to the football and essentially another linebacker for this Buffalo defense.

Wonderful: Cole Snyder to Marlyn Johnson. While they both could have been featured on this list, the combination of Snyder to Johnson has been terrific in 2023. They’ve combined for four touchdowns and Johnson has put his catch-point skills on display.

Central Michigan Chippewas

Good: Jase Bauer/Bert Emanuel Jr. The QB duo has been impressive on the ground this season, rushing for a combined seven touchdowns. Despite some ball security issues, this duo knows when to tuck and run.

Great: Keegan Smith. The Chips center has been downright dominant on the ground this year. Paving the way for big holes, it’s likely big No. 77 that’s out in front of a CMU running back in 2023.

Grand: Kyle Moretti. Once again, No. 22 for CMU has been a missile to the football. Leading the team in tackles, Moretti has also flashed in coverage underneath this season.

Wonderful: Jacques Bristol. Big men on the inside shouldn’t be as fast as Bristol is, and the Central Michigan defensive tackle has more than enough speed to get home with pressure on any snap.

Eastern Michigan Eagles

Good: Kempton Shine. Leading the way with three pass breakups, Shine has picked up where he’s left off after improving in each of his last four seasons.

Great: Joe Sparacio. Leading the way with a whopping 52 tackles through four games, Sparacio has shown he can influence the opponent’s game plan like few other linebackers in the MAC can.

Grand: Mikah Coleman. Leading the team with three sacks, Coleman has gotten home with his pass rushes more often than not for EMU. He’s pinned his ears back and has a great set of pass-rush moves at his disposal.

Wonderful: Bennett Walker. Whenever he sees the field, it feels like Williams makes a play. A lengthy cornerback who has started the last two games for the Eagles, he’s recorded three picks and has been brilliant in coverage this season.

Kent State Golden Flashes

Good: Michael Alaimo. In a year of uncertainty at the position, Alaimo has flashed what made him a Purdue Boilermaker on plenty of occasions. Some big plays have been called back but we’re poised for a sound season in MAC play from this offense.

Great: Gavin Garcia. The box score stats showcase 288 yards at 4.1 yards per carry for Garcia, but he’s done so much more than most to get to those totals. He’s forcing missed tackles at high rates and doesn’t go down on first contact, seemingly ever.

Grand: Capone Blue. If there was a ‘time to pass breakup’ metric out there, you better believe Blue ranks among the best in the country. Without pressure from their defensive line, the Kent State secondary has been tasked with covering pass catchers for elongated periods of time and Blue has stuck with his receivers incredibly well this season.

Wonderful: Devin Nicholson. A tackling machine, Nicholson has racked up 29 total tackles, including 18 solo stops. He’s added a pass breakup in coverage and done a great job of moving sideline to sideline this season.

Miami (OH) RedHawks

Good: Brett Gabbert. Back to the levels of play that saw him win the MAC, Gabbert is seeing the field exceptionally well. He’s completing over 62% of his passes and has started taking much better care of the ball with nine touchdowns against three picks, and finding his receivers downfield at will.

Great: Matt Salopek. Flying around the field, Salopek leads the team with a whopping 38 total tackles already. He’s doing the majority of his damage at or around the line of scrimmage, making his season that much more impressive so far.

Grand: Caiden Woullard/Brian Ugwu. One of the top pass-rushing duos in the MAC, Woullard and Ugwu have combined for three sacks and about a dozen pressures apiece. They’re rounding into form and have done so against some top-tier tackles. Woullard and Ugwu are absolutely a top edge defender pairing to watch in the MAC this fall.

Wonderful: Gage Larvadain. When we say Gabbert is seeing his receivers well downfield, we actually mean Larvadain. The big-play threat is averaging a ridiculous 24.3 yards per catch on 18 receptions and tied the NCAA’s record for longest pass reception with his 99-yard touchdown this season. Larvadain is must-watch television whenever the RedHawks are on.

Northern Illinois Huskies

Good: John Champe. It’s been a tough start for this offense with two P5 opponents and a rotating door at QB but Champe has been seen making plays multiple times. The Huskies’ guard has moved off the line well and has proven his strength in the run game this year.

Great: Nate Valcarcel. With a pass breakup and a pick to his credit, Valcarcel has flown around the field with precision this year for NIU. Valcarcel is second on the team with 19 total tackles as well, proving he has great instincts and the athleticism to get to the ball carrier.

Grand: Raishein Thomas. Leading the way with 24 total tackles and 14 solo stops, Thomas has done so from his spot along the edge of the defensive line. He’s making tackles in run defense and in the flats in coverage as he’s flashed brilliance in 2023.

Wonderful: George Gumbs. Pressuring QBs from a variety of alignments, Gumbs has been unstoppable. He picks and chooses his shots well and has recorded a team-high 2.5 sacks to go along with multiple edge-setting reps in run defense.

Ohio Bobcats

Good: Jay Amburgey/Kurt Danneker/Parker Titsworth. The left side of the offensive line has been sharp for the Bobcats in 2023. As good as the offense will get through five games, the OU trio of Amburgey, Danneker, and Titsworth have proven to be as sound as they come and have missed but one snap as a trio.

Great: Justin Birchette. Racking up five pass breakups and 10 solo tackles, Birchette has flashed coverage ability and terrific fundamentals in 2023. He’s done a great job of limiting receivers in his primary coverage and been a ballhawk to boot.

Grand: Vonnie Watkins. Go ahead, use the box score to scout college football. You’d be missing out on a player like Watkins who consistently puts pressure on opposing quarterbacks and eats up defenders in the run game. Do yourself a favor and watch big ole No. 17 when Ohio’s on the field.

Wonderful: Bryce Houston. The man’s been everywhere for the Bobcats in 2023, recording a ridiculous 23 solo tackles, 49 total tackles, and a plethora of other highlight-reel plays. Houston has been all over the field, literally, making a sack, forcing a fumble, an nabbing an interception. He’s played inspired football this season.

Toledo Rockets

Good: Peny Boone/Jerjuan Newton. We couldn’t pick between the two so they each get credit. Boone has been a revelation, rushing for 7.7 yards per carry and adding five scores on the ground. Newton has been great (short of some ball security issues) and averages over 13 yards per catch with half of the team’s receiving touchdowns (6) this season.

Great: Nick Rosi/Vinny Sciury. The left side of the Rockets’ offensive line has proved a ton to their opponents this year. Protecting Dequan Finn and Tucker Gleason well, their prowess on the ground has been terrific in 2023.

Grand: Judge Culpepper. The big man on the inside for Toledo has been incredibly sharp. Culpepper has 4.5 sacks and 12 total tackles, proving he can move the pocket and dictate the pace of play for Toledo’s defense, no matter the opponent’s play call.

Wonderful: Quinyon Mitchell. After a dominant year last season, Mitchell has returned to form. He’s broken up six passes already this season and limited receivers in his coverage incredibly well. Mitchell is everything you’d expect him to be and hopefully he returns to form quickly.

Western Michigan Broncos

Good: Tate Hallock. Leading the way with three pass breakups, Hallock has patrolled the middle of the field well. He’s a massive man at 6’4″ and makes sure receivers or running backs know who hit them.

Great: Jacob Gideon. The Broncos’ center has been a terrific asset to their offense in 2023. Gideon is keeping interior pressure from his quarterbacks, but his biggest impact has been moving to the second level on the ground to give WMU a shot at success in the run game.

Grand: Keni-H Lovely. He’s recorded an interception and three pass breakups, but Lovely’s instincts have never been better. Lovely had a scoop-and-score in Week 4 as he saw ball, attacked ball, and knew exactly what to do from there. He’s also locking down in coverage on the outside for WMU.

Wonderful: Jalen Buckley. Even though this offense has struggled to field much of a consistent passing attack, it hasn’t mattered to Buckley. He’s exploded onto the scene with 501 yards on 81 carries with four touchdowns. He’s a bruiser in the middle of the field and an elusive threat with great speed for his size on the outside.

Mountain West

Air Force Falcons

Good: Zac Larrier. Air Force’s QB has led a terrific system approach and has surprised with his reformed arm talent. Larrier, one of the fastest athletes on the field, is as dynamic as they come. He’s run for 298 yards and three touchdowns, with another score through the air.

Great: Emmanuel Michel. The Falcons’ running back has proven capable of being the team’s bell cow back. A much-needed addition to this team in 2023 after the departure of Brad Roberts, Michel is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and has nine touchdowns through four games.

Grand: Offensive Line. Air Force’s offensive line is as stout as they come, proving they can move in space and have opened up rushing lane after rushing lane.

Wonderful: Every facet of defense. Bo Richter and PJ Ramsey off the edge; Alec Mock and Johnathan Youngblood patrolling the middle; Trey Taylor and Jayden Goodwin at safety; Jamari Bellamy, C.J. Boyd Jr., and Jerome Gaillard Jr. at cornerback. They’ve given up just 51 points through four contests.

Boise State Broncos

Good: Taylen Green. Getting he feet under him, Green has slowly gotten into midseason form through their non-conference schedule and is primed for big things inside the Mountain West.

Great: Marco Notarainni. Leading the team with 28 tackles and two sacks, Notarainni has been all over hte field for the Broncos. He’s a missile to the football.

Grand: Jaylen Clark. Locking down in coverage is never easy, especially given their schedule to date but Clark has looked sharp in 2023. He leads with two pass breakups and had a pivotal INT.

Wonderful: Ashton Jeanty. Taking over against San Diego State, it was Jeanty who propelled the Broncos to a win in Week 4. He’s run for 407 yards and six scores on the ground, but been equally as impressive in the receiving game with another two touchdowns and 285 yards.

Colorado State Rams

Good: Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi. Since taking over the starting quarterback role, Fowler-Nicolosi has thrown for 898 yards and seven touchdowns, keeping the Rams in their game against Colorado and knocking off Middle Tennessee. He’s been accurate and shard with his reads as the season has gone on.

Great: Mohamed Kamara. Leading the team with four sacks, Kamara’s presence off the edge has earned him Team of the Week honors already this year. He’s a hard dude to stop with his variety of pass-rush moves and athletic ability.

Grand: Tory Horton. Flashing his elite abilities, Horton’s high-flying routes and ridiculous hands have been evident once again in 2023. Horton leads the team with 313 yards and has been a monster after the catch.

Wonderful: Dallin Holker. What a weapon Holker has been for CSU this season. He leads the team with four touchdowns and has been dominant as a pass catcher while flashing as a blocker to boot.

Fresno State Bulldogs

Good: Elijah Gilliam. Picking up where his predecessors left off, Gilliam has carved a great role for him in the Fresno State offense. He’s racked up 272 yards on the ground, 96 through the air, and five total touchdowns. The scary part for Mountain West defenses: He appears to just be getting started.

Great: Carlton Johnson. With three picks to his name, Johnson has been a ballhawk all season long. He’s also recorded four pass breakups as teams have shied away from targeting Cam Lockridge, Johnson has made them pay.

Grand: Erik Brooks. What a breakout year it’s been for Brooks. Hauling in 448 receiving yards on 32 receptions, he’s found himself open with great routes and terrific separation skills.

Wonderful: Mikey Keene. While some debated whether or not Keene would start the year as the QB1 for Fresno State, it was apparent to us here at CFN that the talented signal-caller was the right fit for this offense. He’s rewarded coach Jeff Tedford and the Bulldogs faithful with 1,205 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, and a 4-0 start.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

Good: Logan Taylor. The heart and soul of the Rainbow Warriors’ defense, Taylor has shown why on the field. Taylor has recorded 21 tackles including 18 solo stops as he’s flashed his ability to drop in coverage all the same.

Great: Pofele Ashlock. For a while, Ashlock led the nation in receiving yards. He’s recorded 439 yards through five games and has three scores, but its the way he does his damage that’s been impressive. Ashlock has elite separation ability and he’s shown that this season.

Grand: Isaiah Tufaga. The Rainbow Warriors middle linebacker has come on strong in 2023. Tufaga has put forth multiple highlight-reel days in each facet, whether it’s been coverage or blitzing, or stuffing the run game from his opponents, he’s been at his best this season.

Wonderful: Brayden Schager. The gunslinging option to run Timmy Chang’s show at Hawaii has not disappointed in 2023. He’s kept them in each game and pushed them to victory twice already this season. Schager has great command over the offense and has thrown for 1,348 yards and 12 touchdowns through five games.

Nevada Wolf Pack

Good: Brandon Talton. The Wolf Pack kicker has drilled all eight of his PATs and is 4-of-6 on field goals with his only misses coming from 50+. He’s been integral to this offense getting on the board this year.

Great: Jaden Dedmon. A pass breakup in hand, Dedmon has actually looked better in coverage than any box score could show. He’s matching up against talented receivers well and showcasing sound instincts with a great ability to limit anything after the catch.

Grand: Aedan Seiuli. Leading the way with two pass breakups, Seiuli has flown around very well from his free safety position. Without being listed as a starter for this defense, Seiuli’s influence has been felt early and often.

Wonderful: KK Meier. Instinctual cornerbacks don’t come very often and Meier’s instincts were on display against Texas State. Jumping a route and plucking it out of the air, Meier returned it for a 98-yard touchdown. He’s improving and should be an integral piece of this defense moving forward.

New Mexico Lobos

Good: Zach Morris. The team leader with four pass breakups, we feel like we’re just a few plays away from Morris coming down with at least one interception this year. He’s been solid on the outside for this Lobos’ defense all season long.

Great: Jacory Croskey-Merritt. Proving his skills in the open field, Croskey-Merritt has also shown he can utilize his vision and patience behind his offensive line to make something out of nothing if necessary. He’s averaging 6.8 yards per carry and has seven touchdowns on just 48 carries.

Grand: Dylan Hopkins. We knew Hopkins was going to be familiar with this scheme as he followed New Mexico OC Bryant Vincent over from UAB. And we know Hopkins’ talent in his right arm. He’s shown that to the Lobo faithful as he’s hit multiple big-time connections to his receivers downfield and done a great job of running the offense.

Wonderful: Tavian Combs. Leading the team in tackles from his safety position, Combs hasn’t just done his damage on the backend. Rather, he’s filled well in run defense and patrols the middle of the field incredibly well.

San Diego State Aztecs

Good: Cade Bennett. With their quarterback leading the charge on the ground, Bennett has shone brightest for this offense. Bennett moves well in pass protection but has put forth quite a display of move and reach blocks on the ground game in 2023.

Great: Dezjhon Malone. With two picks, Malone has made his presence felt this season for SDSU. He’s closed on multiple passes and brought the hit stick on others. In total, he has six pass breakups and an interception to go with 14 solo tackles.

Grand: Noah Tumblin. A team-high eight pass breakups to his credit, Tumblin has shown he’s fully capable of putting the clamps on receivers in his coverage. He’s not allowed much into his coverage and he’s utilized his 6’2″ frame to his advantage.

Wonderful: Cedarious Barfield. The Aztecs certainly know a thing or two about fielding a talented secondary and Barfield is next in line to be considered a great one. Barfield has made multiple plays on the ball this season and leads the team with three interceptions. He’s locking down talented receivers all over the field.

San Jose State Spartans

Good: Fernando Carmona Jr. The big man at left tackle for SJSU has shown he’s capable of leading the charge in San Jose. Carmona has put forth a solid campaign in pass protection but made the highlight reel with some impressive blocks on the move on the ground.

Great: Chevan Cordeiro. Slinging it around the field, Cordeiro has taken his game to new heights in 2023. Though wins didn’t follow in their non-conference schedule, Cordeiro has had the offense moving through the air. He’s thrown for 1,022 yards and six touchdowns, and doing so all over the field.

Grand: Nick Nash. It’s shocking to think that we’re just a couple of seasons removed from Nash being a full-time quarterback. The QB-turned-TE-turned-WR has looked sharp all season long, most notably against USC, and has 234 yards on 25 receptions with three scores.

Wonderful: Jay’Vion Cole. Putting the clamps on receivers in his coverage, Cole has recorded six pass breakups this season. Impressively, the Cal-Poly transfer has done so against some of the top passing teams they’ve faced this season and he didn’t allow a catch against USC.

UNLV Rebels

Good: Tiger Shanks. Mowing dudes down in the run game, Shanks has been aptly named on the ground this year. He’s keeping clean pockets from the right side of the line but been truly impressive on the ground this year.

Great: Ricky White. He doesn’t have a touchdown yet, but we’ve been so close. White is a terrific outside receiver, using his frame and speed/athleticism to defeat any kind of cornerback in his way. At the catch point, few do it better than White.

Grand: Cameron Oliver. Locking down on the outside, Oliver is back in his bag again in 2023. He’s recorded three pass breakups, a forced fumble, and an interception as he’s been a terrific three-down cornerback for the Rebels.

Wonderful: Jerrae Williams. As a safety, Williams somehow leads the team with three sacks and is tied for the team-high with an interception. His presence along the edge as he’s timed his blitz packages perfectly is uncanny. Williams is a high-level player playing even higher-level football this season.

Utah State Aggies

Good: Terrell Vaughn. The benefactor of the rejuvenated offense under Hillstead, Vaughn has hauledin 38 receptions in four games this season. He’s a threat over the middle of the field and a true after-the-catch master. He’s averaging just 9.1 yards per catch, but the majority of those are coming after hauling in receptions. His six touchdowns are half the team’s total receiving scores.

Great: Ike Larsen. A commanding presence at safety, Larsen leads the team with 30 tackles this year. Larsen also has a pick-six, a forced fumble, two pass breakups, and a general leadership around him on the backend.

Grand: McCae Hillstead. There have absolutely been some freshman mistakes since he entered the lineup, but Hillstead has rejuvenated this Utah State offense back to 2021 or Mountain West Championship levels. Despite major game action in just two games, Hillstead has thrown for 629 yards and seven touchdowns, not fearing any defense and testing every level of the field.

Wonderful: MJ Tafisi Jr. They don’t make them like Tafisi very much anymore. A three-down linebacker with a mean streak, Tafisi has 30 total tackles this year but has been a missile to the football. Of those 30 tackles, it feels like every single one of them have been at or around the line of scrimmage.

Wyoming Cowboys

Good: Harrison Waylee. Despite action in just two games, Waylee has turned heads. He was one of the fastest ball carriers of the week in Week 4, and it doesn’t appear that he’s slowing down anytime soon.

Great: John Hoyland. Perfect on the year, Wyoming’s kicker is 14-for-14 on combined kicks this fall. That includes 10 extra points and four field goals, two of which have come from over 50 yards out, including his season-long 56-yarder.

Grand: Easton Gibbs. Do-it-all linebackers are hard to come by nowadays, yet it feels like Wyoming always has one. Gibbs was next in line a few years back and has proven he’s more than capable of carrying the legacy in Laramie.

Wonderful: Wyatt Ekeler. Second on the team in tackles and a downright feisty coverage safety, Ekeler has made a name for himself this season. He’s nabbed an interception and three pass breakups, but done so with speed, power, and elite-level instincts.

Pac-12

Arizona State Sun Devils

Good: Jaden Rashada. He made some freshman mistakes and ultimately may get shut down for the rest of the season depending on his return from an injury, but we saw enough good from him in the early going to be confident in his ability for the future of this program.

Great: Elijhah Badger and Xavier Guillory. We knew Badger would succeed in this offense and we had high hopes for Guillory. Through one quarter, it appears as though we were right. Better and more consistent QB play is the only thing holding these two back.

Grand: Leif Fautanu. The UNLV transfer has dominated in the middle of the Arizona State offensive line. Solid in pass protection and a mauling presence in the run game, Fautanu has officially arrived at the Power Five level.

Wonderful: Demetries Ford. Another transfer with high hopes, Ford has not disappointed. He’s forcing incompletions at a high rate and has a team-high three pass breakups in coveage.

Arizona Wildcats

Good: Blocking. Led by LT Jordan Morgan, the group of RG Jonah Savaiinaea, RT Joseph Borjon, LG Wendell Moe, and C Josh Baker has been terrific in both facets. Their tight ends have flashed with their blocking skills as well — namely Tanner McLachlan.

Great: Ephesians Prysock. A talented defensive back, Prysock has flashed anytime a quarterback has thrown his way. He leads the team with three PBUs.

Grand: Jayden de Laura. There are certainly some throws he wants back but there is no denying the talent of de Laura’s arm and quarterbacking ability.

Wonderful: Tetairoa McMillan. A walking mismatch for anyone in any secondary to cover, McMillan is well on his way to averaging a ridiculous 16.2 yards per catch this season.

California Golden Bears

Good: Xavier Carlton. Pressures don’t show up like sacks do, and Carlton leads them team in each facet. He’s been a menace off the edge and his two sacks pace this Cal pass rush.

Great: Jaydn Ott/Isaiah Ifanse. The RB duo has combined for eight touchdowns and 542 yards through four games, averaging a whopping 5.6 yards per carry in the process.

Grand: Kaleb Elarms-Orr. Leading the Bears in tackles with 29, Elarms-Orr has also proven he can drop in coverage with the best of them and has a team-high four PBUs and a pick to go along with it.

Wonderful: Jeremiah Hunter. Flashing his elite ability on more than enough catches this season, Hunter has undoubtedly turned heads. He’s a catch-point monster and has improved his route running in 2023.

Colorado Buffaloes

Good: Travis Hunter. He woke the nation up with his dramatic snap count in Week 1 and didn’t look back until a lacerated liver sidelined him. Hunter is as dynamic as they come and the only thing holding him back was a late hit against Colorado State.

Great: Shilo Sanders. Making his presence felt in coverage, Sanders pick six against CSU opened the scoring and he has forced multiple big-time plays to keep his defense alive through four weeks.

Grand: Xavier Weaver/Jimmy Horn Jr. The talented receiving duo put on a display prior to their meeting with Oregon in Week 4. Horn Jr. and Weaver are still on pace to potentially topple 2,000 yards combined as they win from a variety of alignments.

Wonderful: Shedeur Sanders. Drawing Heisman hype for a good reason, Sanders has dominated in three of four games against FBS competition this season. Sanders has thrown for 1,410 yards and 11 touchdowns, only stymied when Oregon pressured him in Week 4.

Oregon Ducks

Good: Khyree Jackson. The defense for Oregon has been on another level in 2023. As good as the pass rushers have been, Jackson has won the hearts of Ducks fans with his elite play on the back end. With two interceptions and four pass breakups, Jackson has locked down in man coverage on the outside, limiting the entire half of the field well.

Great: Troy Franklin. As good as the Nix to Tez Johnson duo has been, Franklin consistently has turned heads in 2023. A big-bodied receiver who doesn’t get enough credit for his finesse, Franklin has elite body control, strong hands, and a bevy of shake on his routes to lose defenders all over the field.

Grand: Jackson Powers-Johnson. What a special season so far for Powers-Johnson. The center of this Ducks line, it could be said we could support Powers-Johnson with the rest of his OL here, but he’s been so good on his own that he deserves the shine. Powers-Johnson has dominated on the ground and shined in pass pro. He’s a stud.

Wonderful: Bo Nix. There’s legitimate Heisman hype behind Nix in 2023, for good reason. The Ducks’ signal-caller has dished up 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns and executed this team’s game plan perfectly. He’ll throw his receivers open just the same as he’ll buy time in the pocket, maintain his vision downfield, and tear apart opposing secondaries. Nix has put it all together for the second consecutive year in Eugene and has the Ducks rolling.

Oregon State Beavers

Good: Easton Mascarenas-Arnold. Leading the way with 33 total tackles, Mascarenas-Arnold has flashed at the second level for the Beavers. Oregon State’s linebacker has an interception and multiple run-stuffing plays in the alley so far this season.

Great: Damien Martinez/Deshaun Fenwick. They’ve each had their moments, and they’ve each broken out with the help of this offensive line. Yet, Martinez and Fenwick have utilized their skills in the open field and patience/vision combos to impress to the tune of 685 combined rushing yards.

Grand: DJ Uiagalalei. Turning the corner on his career, DJU’s return to the West Coast has been met with terrific success. Sure, he has the best offensive line of his career at his disposal, but Uiagalalei is finding his receivers open in space and creating his own throwing lanes. His accuracy and arm talent were never in question, and now he’s added clean pocket prowess to his game.

Wonderful: Taliese Fuaga. They don’t make right tackles more physically imposing than Fuaga. He’s 6’6″, 334 pounds, but moves like a nimble, inline tight end. He’s dominating in pass protection, keeping Uiagalalei’s pocket clean but impressing even more on the ground. Fuaga will throw dudes to the ground at the first level and go second-level hunting on seemingly every rep.

Stanford Cardinal

Good: Joshua Karty. Money Karty has returned as he’s perfect from kicks inside 50 yards. He’s drilled nine extra points and all nine of his field goals from 46 yards or less in 2023.

Great: Benjamin Yurosek. Though the majority of his damage was done against Hawaii, Yurosek has been the most reliable pass catcher for the Cardinal. He’s leading the team with 15 receptions, 227 yards, and has one of the three receiving touchdowns this season.

Grand: Gaethan Bernadel. The FIU transfer doesn’t quite get the credit he deserves as he’s not landed a sack, yet. We’re just a few plays away from him breaking out, potentially, as Bernadel has been a constant force with his pass-rushing skill set.

Wonderful: David Bailey. With four sacks already, Bailey has been terrific off the edge. He’s flashed strong hands at the point of contact and enough bend to defeat more lumbering tackles. Bailey is a force and should only continue to command more attention from opposing offensive lines.

UCLA Bruins

Good: Carson Steele/TJ Harden. This running back duo is a special one. The new wave of football is two ball carriers for the price of one bellcow, and Steele and Harden look the part. They’re averaging nearly 7.0 yards per carry between the two of them and have four combined touchdowns.

Great: Dante Moore. There have been freshman mistakes, but there have been plenty of throws that indicate just how special the talent is for Moore. He looked a bit lost against Utah’s defense, but who hasn’t? Moving on from that outing, he’ll continue to hone his craft as Pac-12 play moves on.

Grand: Darius Muasau. The former Hawaii linebacker has stepped his game up in 2023. Muasau has a team-high 24 tackles, 16 solo tackles, and three sacks to go with an interception that saw him drop back in coverage brilliantly.

Wonderful: Laiatu Latu. We could’ve picked Grayson or Gabriel Murphy here all the same, but Latu has been on another level. In fact, this is the same level he played all of last season. Latu is a menace on the outside, and has four sacks this year to go with an interception and a forced fumble. He’s in the backfield more often than he’s not.

USC Trojans

Good: MarShawn Lloyd. As good as the stable of receivers has been, Lloyd has been perhaps more impressive. He’s averaging 8.9 yards per carry, showing he can carry the offense if necessary.

Great: Jonah Monheim/Emmanuel Pregnon. This left side of the USC offensive line could stack up with any left side across the country. Monheim is the bully in both facets while Pregnon has shown he can hold his own against stunting edge defenders or interior big men all the same.

Grand: Solomon Byrd/Bear Alexander. Taking his game to a new level, Byrd is well on his way to career-highs in each pass-rushing metric this season. His presence on the outside has freed Alexander up to some favorable matchups on the inside. Together, they’ve combined for six sacks and nearly two dozen pressures across the board.

Wonderful: Caleb Williams. Well on his way to defending his Heisman Trophy, the road gets a bit trickier down the back half of the season. It shouldn’t matter, however, as Williams is completing 74.3% of his passes for 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns against zero interceptions so far in 2023.

Utah Utes

Good: Karene Reid. One of two Utah linebackers with a pick-six due to shear instincts and athleticism, Reid has been terrific in 2023. He’s made 13 tackles to go with his pick-six, but his three pass breakups indicate the full impact he’s put forth in coverage this year.

Great: Lander Barton. The second of the LBs with pick-sixes, Barton has long since been known for his all-around prowess. He leads the team in tackles and has made multiple highlight-reel plays already this season.

Grand: Jonah Elliss. What a start to the season it’s been for Elliss. With 5.5 sacks already, Elliss is proving invaluable to this Utes defense. He was prone for a breakout season after flashing brilliantly last year, but his start in 2023 has been nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Wonderful: Cole Bishop. There isn’t much more you can say about Bishop. A heat-seeking missile to the football, Bishop has made a living in the backfield, forcing incompletions or just flat-out disrupting the opponent’s game plans. He has a knack for finding the football, and his instincts are apparent on every play. Couple that with his speed, athleticism, and strength, and you’ve got the complete package.

Washington Huskies

Good: Jabbar Muhammad. Flashing in coverage, Muhammad has been absolutely impossible to throw on. He’s grabbed an interception and two pass breakups, proving why he was so sought after in the transfer portal.

Great: Troy Fautanu/Roger Rosengarten. The bookend tackles for the Huskies have been as advertised. Neither has allowed a sack, and each has plowed through defenders in the run game. It’s been inspiring to watch.

Grand: Rome Odunze/Ja’Lynn Polk/Jalen McMillian. The best WR trio in the country, Odunze leads the group with 544 yards already. Polk’s 427 yards see him average 20.3 yards per catch while McMillan is an absolute magician with his routes. Together, they’ve hauled in 11 touchdowns already this season.

Wonderful: Michael Penix Jr. Making a case for his own Heisman campaign, Penix Jr. leads the country with 1,636 passing yards this year. He’s thrown 16 touchdowns and, incredibly, only been sacked once. He can create on his own and is accurate from within the structure or outside. Penix Jr. has plenty of arm talent and can sling it at the flick of a wrist.

Washington State Cougars

Good: Cam Lampkin. With five pass breakups, we’re close to the Lampkin takeover for the Cougars. He’s been in great position all season long and has shown some serious sticky coverage skills.

Great: Jaden Hicks. Terrific this season, Hicks has shown he can completely alter an opposing game plan with his coverage skills. Hicks is also a great run defense and a sneaky good blitzer off the edge when he’s around the line of scrimmage.

Grand: Josh Kelly. Blowing up against the talented Oregon State secondary, Kelly has come on strong as of late. He, Kyle Williams, and Lincoln Victor make up an imposing trio of receivers and have combined for 12 of the 15 receiving touchdowns this year for Wazzu.

Wonderful: Cameron Ward. Proving his worth as not just ‘the other QB in Washington,’ Ward has been unstoppable in 2023. The Cougars quarterback has thrown 13 touchdowns against zero interceptions and completed 74.6% of his passes. Ward’s only knock through his career has been ball security issues, but he’s shown those are behind him, and he’s been magnificent with his ball placement this year.

SEC

Alabama Crimson Tide

Good: Dallas Turner. This is no surprise as Turner is just flat-out GOOD at football. He’s got a team-leading 4.5 sacks and has been a menace off the edge.

Great: Terrion Arnold. The talented duo of Kool-Aid McKinstry and Malachi Moore is on everyone’s national radar. But it’s been Arnold who has impressed the most in coverage this season with a team-high five pass breakups and an INT in Week 4.

Grand: JC Latham. Seen pancaking defenders in just about every game this season, JC Latham has vastly improved his game and the overall line play at the same time.

Wonderful: Chris Braswell. The longtime Alabama edge defender has been unstoppable off the edge for the Crimson Tide. One of the feel-good stories of the year, Braswell was once a top-ranked recruit but battled to see the field. Now healthy, Braswell is unstoppable and a prime candidate to be a high-level draft pick.

Arkansas Razorbacks

Good: Dwight McGlothern. Locking down his side of the field yet again, McGlothern is starting to build momentum despite an injury against Kent State.

Great: Luke Hasz. The future for this Arkansas receiving corps is at tight end as the true freshman Hasz has been unstoppable. Averaging 15.9 yards per catch and scoring three touchdowns already, the sky is the limit.

Grand: Andrew Armstrong. The Texas A&M Commerce transfer has proven that his skills translate and has dominated outside. The massive receiver is a mismatch for most SEC defenses.

Wonderful: Jaheim Thomas. A true threat at every level, Thomas is a missile against the run, stout in coverage, and an underrated blitzer. He’s must-watch TV. Thomas leads the team with three sacks and 43 total tackles already.

Auburn Tigers

Good: Alex McPherson. Perfect for the season, McPherson has drilled all 16 of his extra points and is 3-for-3 on field goals. His long of 53 set a new career-high in Week 4 against Texas A&M.

Great: Dillon Wade. Auburn’s left tackle has been stalwart in pass protection and flashed his ability in the run game. He’s a great mover and has proven that on several QB scrambles as well as designed carries from the backfield.

Grand: D.J. James. The former Oregon transfer has proven that 2022 was not a flash-in-the-pan moment for him at Auburn. He’s has locked down in coverage on the outside and shown flashes of brilliance.

Wonderful: Eugene Asante. A missile at the linebacker spot, Asante may be a better pass rusher than anyone else on the Tigers roster. Considering he can also play in coverage and stuff run plays, Asante is the complete package. Just look to the fumble recovery for a touchdown that was called back against A&M.

Florida Gators

Good: Jordan Casteel. Second on the team in total tackles but tied for first in solo stops, Casteel has brought the lumber downhill for Florida. The Gators safety is doing so while also playing sound coverage on the back end.

Great: Trevor Etienne/Montrell Johnson Jr. Combining for 540 rushing yards and five scores, the Gators have rode Etienne and Johnson Jr. to success in 2023. They’re averaging 6.7 and 4.6 yards per carry, respectively.

Grand: Ricky Pearsall. Even before his ridiculous one-handed grab against Charlotte, No. 1 has been making plays for UF. Pearsall leads all Gator receivers with 362 yards, more than triple than anyone else, and is doing so while averaging 13.9 yards per reception.

Wonderful: Princely Unanmielen. What a year it has been for Unanmielen so far. He leads the team with two sacks but he’s been credited for backfield disruption in both facets far more than any box score will ever show.

Georgia Bulldogs

Good: Tate Ratledge. The lesser-known entity of the Georgia offensive line, Ratledge, has been brilliant this season. He’s moved defenders off their spots at will int he run game and has been perfect in pass protection as this line continues to be one of the best in the game.

Great: Brock Bowers. Continually reminding the nation of his prowess, Bowers has averaged 11.6 yards per catch and scored three total touchdowns this year. His catch-point prowess is uncanny and he’s the perfect threat for an offense breaking in a new quarterback this year.

Grand: Malaki Starks. With four pass breakups, Starks has covered so much ground in 2023. He’s a lockdown cornerback and has an uncanny ability to pass off receivers and make plays on balls not even into his zone or coverage assignment.

Wonderful: Tykee Smith. Leading the team in tackles and stops, Smith’s biggest impact has come by way of his team-high three interceptions. Finally back to full health, Smith is once again proving why he was so coveted coming out of the transfer portal from West Virginia. He plays all over the field and is a game-changing defensive back.

Kentucky Wildcats

Good: Trevin Wallace. With 3.5 sacks to his credit, Wallace has gotten home with a multitude of big plays this season. He’s racking up tackles by the bunches as he patrols the field incredibly well.

Great: Ray Davis. What more can you say about Mr. Heisman? Davis has recorded 314 yards on the ground to go with his five rushing touchdowns but added a complete element with his pass-catching ability this season. The Wildcats running back is fourth on the team with 137 receiving yards but tied for second with two receiving touchdowns.

Grand: Deone Walker. Interior pressure is so difficult for offenses to figure out and Walker has physically imposed himself on opponents this season. Walker has 1.5 sacks on the box score, but his impact has been much greater.

Wonderful: Max Hairston. What a season it’s been so far for Hairston. With three interceptions, Hairston’s instincts and athletic ability have led him to two touchdowns on those picks as he’s made incredible leaps in his sophomore season.

LSU Tigers

Good: Brian Thomas Jr. A big-play threat, Thomas has done more than his fair share of damage in this offense next to Nabers. He’ll run some crisp routes and win with his massive catch radius and elite catch-point skills.

Great: Harold Perkins Jr. With the speed of an Olympic sprinter and the instincts of an All-Pro linebacker, somewhere you have Perkins. The leader of this defense, he’s taken a bit to get acclimated to a new position but started to wreak havoc all the same.

Grand: Jayden Daniels. With 1,296 passing yards and another 193 on the ground, Daniels is continuing to put up historic numbers. He’s been accurate and dished more from the pocket in 2023, a sign of good things to come for this LSU offense.

Wonderful: Malik Nabers. The elite make elite plays and that’s what Nabers has done so far in 2023. He’s iced games, separated from defenders, and looked downright unstoppable all over the field.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Good: Jo’Quavious Marks. The big-bodied back bounces off contact and speeds past defenders at will as Marks has reached 352 yards on the ground and another 105 through the air. He’s been dominant at the point of contact and seemingly won’t go down unless a host of defenders get to him.

Great: Will Rogers. Improving his downfield accuracy this season, Rogers has put a little bit more on his balls in 2023. In doing so, he’s averaging the furthest average depth of target of his career and maintaining his accuracy in the process.

Grand: Lideatrick Griffin. After setting the new school record for receiving yards in a game, Griffin was named to our Team of the Week and increased his lead over his teammate with 388 yards on the season. He’s averaging 19.4 yards per catch as he’s been the biggest benefactor of Rogers’ new downfield passing attack.

Wonderful: Jett Johnson/Nathaniel Watson. We’re cheating a bit here because we had to include both linebackers, as they’re both that good. Watson came in with high aspirations and he’s done nothing but impress.

Johnson, on the other hand, has turned heads everywhere. Name me another player who has three sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and leads his team in tackles. He’s been everywhere.

Missouri Tigers

Good: Javon Foster. We all knew how good Foster was last year and he’s exploded back onto the scene for the 4-0 Tigers in 2023. Foster has terrific pass sets and is an absolute mauler in the run game. No defender wants to be out in front of Foster this season, or ever, for that matter.

Great: Brady Cook. He’s shown he can be a masterful passer downfield this season as Cook has recorded 1,073 yards and seven touchdowns against zero interceptions. Cook is dishing the ball well to all of his receivers, but understands the importance of finding Burden downfield where he can use his elite skills after the catch to dominate.

Grand: Johnny Walker Jr./Kris Abrams-Draine. The Tigers lost a few players in the portal, notably along their defensive line, but Walker Jr. has made amends for those losses and then some. Walker has three sacks and a plethora of highlight-reel-worthy reps. Abrams-Draine leads the team with two interceptions and a whopping five pass breakups, what else is new?

Wonderful: Luther Burden III. There was a reason Burden was the top player at wide receiver in his high school recruiting class, and he’s shown why on seemingly every touch of his Missouri career. In 2023, he’s put it all together and as Cook’s accuracy downfield has increased, so has Burden’s impact on the game.

Ole Miss Rebels

Good: John Saunders Jr. The Miami (OH) transfer has made a name for himself with the Rebels so far in 2023. He leads the team with three pass breakups and 13 solo tackles, proving to be a menace around the line of scrimmage from his strong safety spot.

Great: Jeremy James. The Rebels’ right guard can be found moving people off the ball at will as well as keeping interior pressure off his QB. At his best when he’s on the move, it’s no wonder James’ highlight reel is full of him clearing lanes in the run game.

Grand: Cedric Johnson/Suntarine Perkins/Isaac Ukwu. The trio of edge rushers have ripped forth for six total sacks as they’ve rotated in and played brilliantly all season. Ukwu, the JMU transfer, has made multiple impact plays while Johnson has proven his consistency in rushing the passer.

Wonderful: Jaxson Dart. Stepping up his accuracy this season, Dart has shown he’s ready to lead this Ole Miss team and he’s put the Rebels on his back. Whatever they’ve needed, he’s provided and he’s run the offense incredibly well. With 1,096 yards through the air and a team-high 219 yards on the ground, Dart is the spark for this team.

South Carolina Gamecocks

Good: T.J. Sanders. A big man on the inside, Sanders doesn’t get the credit he deserves for this defense. He’s recorded three sacks to lead the way but his influence over the opponent’s passing game goes even further. He’s batted two passes down at the line and he’s proven to be too much for any one interior lineman to handle.

Great: Marcellas Dial. Flashing in coverage, Dial has locked down receivers in 2023. Dial leads the way with four pass breakups this season and he’s shown he can limit big plays just as he can limit receptions in general with his sticky coverage skills.

Grand: Spencer Rattler. It’s effortless when Rattler releases the football, and quite frankly, it’s beautiful when he’s on top of his game. In 2023, Rattler has been everything you’d hope him to be and is dishing the ball around accurately, on time, and to every level of the field.

Wonderful: Xavier Legette. Just wow. That’s all you can say about Legette at times. Take his Week 4 highlight when he torched the Mississippi State defense and reached 22.3 miles per hour as he outsprinted everyone on the field. Legette has been a man possessed in 2023 and there is seemingly no stopping him.

Tennessee Volunteers

Good: Javontez Spraggins. Tennessee’s right guard has looked terrific this season, notably on the ground and out in front of his running backs. Good in pass protection, Spraggins is potentially making himself some money as a high draft pick in the process.

Great: Dylan Sampson. The second-year back is surely in the running for breakout player of the year if he were to get more carries. Sampson has run for 199 yards on just 27 carries, handling the rock for a career-best 139 yards in Week 4 against UTSA. He’s fast, elusive, and skilled with his vision and burst. The Vols just need to feed him the ball.

Grand: Kamal Hadden. With five pass breakups to his credit, Hadden has flashed for Tennessee this season. He’s seeing the field well and understanding passing concepts even better. His athleticism has seen him make multiple plays on balls and cover a ton of ground so far in 2023.

Wonderful: Tyler Baron. He’s ripped through for four sacks this season and Baron has proven to be too much for any one linemen to handle. He’s doing so from as far out as off the tackles or as close to the quarterback as shading inside the guard, proving his versatility and all-around skills in the process.

Texas A&M Aggies

Good: Evan Stewart. The future is sky-high for Stewart as he’s started to realize his full talent this season. Stewart has 22 catches for 307 yards and three scores and he’s done so with a highlight full of sharp routes and quick feet.

Great: Shemar Turner. Speaking of realizing his potential, Turner has looked incredibly improved in 2023. Turner has a team-high three sacks and he’s pushing the pocket even more so than that. He’s a big body on the inside but has the athleticism to shift all around the defensive front.

Grand: Josh DeBerry. Transferring in from Boston College, DeBerry had to prove to SEC fans that he had the talent to keep up with SEC speed. Through four games, that’s more than apparent. DeBerry has secured five pass breakups already, one shy of his career-high, and he’s proven to be sticky in coverage against even the fastest of receivers.

Wonderful: Edgerrin Cooper. The three-down linebacker for the Aggies has been everything you’d hope for him to be and more in 2023. He leads the way with 24 tackles and he’s been Johnny-on-the-spot more often than not because of his instincts and ball skills. He’s recovered a fumble, sacked the quarterback twice, and made many plays behind the line of scrimmage.

Vanderbilt Commodores

Good: Will Sheppard. Somewhere, in someone’s red zone, Sheppard was targeted again and caught a big-time reception. Sheppard’s catch radius has once again been on display and he’s back to his old back of tricks, dominating defensive backs in his way.

Great: De’Rickey Wright. Making two interceptions this season, Wright has been all over the field. He’s flying around with great discipline and making all the right reads in 2023.

Grand: CJ Taylor. A commanding presence at the second level for Vandy, Taylor is starting to demand attention from opposing offenses. He’s played well in coverage, when he blitzes, and against the run as he’s proving to be invaluable to this defense.

Wonderful: Bradley Ashmore. Have you seen Ashmore block for Vanderbilt this season? If not, go back and queue the tape on big ole No. 50. Moving from right guard to right tackle, he’s played his best football yet for Vandy in 2023. Most notably, his run blocking has been stellar as he’s constantly been found clearing the lane at the first level and second level all the same.

Sun Belt

Appalachian State Mountaineers

Good: Joey Aguilar. He didn’t get the season-opening start, but ever since he did take over against Gardner-Webb, Aguilar has played terrific. He’s the QB of the future and the present for this App State team.

Great: The interior offensive line. Led by Damion Daley, the trio on the inside has been dominant for the Mountaineers. Daley, Bucky Williams, and Isaiah Helms have proven to be too much to handle for most defensive fronts.

Grand: Nick Ross. Catching unwitting quarterbacks off guard, Ross has covered a ton of ground in just four games for App State. He’s made splash plays in every game and built off a solid 2022 season (to be honest, the whole second-half defense should be noted as locked the door in the second half this season).

Wonderful: Nate Noel. What else is new? Noel is dominant in the open field and a blur between the tackles. But we knew this already. He’s well on his way to 1,000 yards once again as he’s rushed for 542 yards and four touchdowns in just four games.

Arkansas State Red Wolves

Good: Jaylen Raynor. Perhaps a diamond in the rough, Raynor impressed greatly in Week 4. He rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for 233 and three scores in his first start, getting a win over Southern Miss.

Great: Jacob Bayer. Arkansas State’s center has flashed multiple times in 2023. He’s a dominant run blocker and has shown that in every game.

Grand: Javante Mackey and Melique Straker. The linebacker duo have patrolled the underneath portion of the field in defense well, making huge strides in each facet: run defense and coverage.

Wonderful: Samy Johnson. There has long since been a sneaky good secondary player or two on the Red Wolves over the years. Johnson is absolutely next in that lineup as he leads the team in pass breakups and has locked down in coverage.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Good: Sam Pinckney. Despite a couple of untimely drops, Pinckney has been great in 2023. He leads the team with 311 yards and two scores, averaging a healthy 14.8 yards per catch.

Great: Grayson McCall. It’s taken some time to adjust to a new offensive scheme, but McCall has been the same accurate quarterback that we’ve all come to know and love. He’s thrown just five touchdowns but it really feels like this offense has yet to come together.

Grand: Michael Mason. Interior pressure is crucial for defenses and Mason has proven that for the Chants this season. Mason has 1.5 sacks and has done his fair share of pressuring the quarterbacks this season.

Wonderful: Clayton Isbell. What a start to the year it’s been for Isbell. With three picks in four games, Isbell’s influence hasn’t just been in coverage as he leads the team in solo tackles, most of which have come at or around the line of scrimmage.

Georgia Southern Eagles

Good: Derwin Burgess Jr./Khaleb Hood. The receiving duo for the Eagles have proven terrific this season. Burgess leads the way with 310 yards while Hood has caught steam as of late and has 283 yards off 27 catches. They’ve combined for four touchdowns and are going to be a tough duo to stop in Sun Belt play.

Great: Marques Watson-Trent. Leading the team with 31 total tackles and 19 solo stops, Watson-Trent has been a force at the second level for Georgia Southern. He’s a sideline-to-sideline threat and has great play strength.

Grand: Isaac Walker. Influencing the opponent’s pass game at will, Walker has recorded a sack and eight tackles, but that hardly states the impact he’s had. Walker has broken up four passes at the line of scrimmage as he understands how to use his length to his advantage against any aerial assault.

Wonderful: Davis Brin. Don’t let the disaster that was the Wisconsin game fool you, Brin’s gunslinging ways have been far more good than bad so far in 2023. He’s just getting rolling and if you take out that game against Wisconsin, Brin’s thrown for eight touchdowns against two interceptions. He’s fresh off the heels of his best performance at Southern.

Georgia State Panthers

Good: Bryquice Brown. With five pass breakups, it was the Thursday night performance against Coastal Carolina that continued to push Brown up our lists here. He locked down in coverage all night long, drawing each opponent’s No. 1 WR each week, and making it look easy.

Great: Robert Lewis. Catching the national attention with his dominant outing in Week 3, Lewis has come up big for the Panthers in 2023. He’s recorded 386 yards on just 20 catches as he’s averaging a whopping 19.3 yards per catch with five touchdowns.

Grand: Marcus Carroll. What a season so far for Carroll. He’s recorded 508 yards on 96 carries with eight touchdowns. He has great vision between the tackles and showcased incredible patience and burst as he’s proven to be a first-down machine on the ground.

Wonderful: Darren Grainer. There’s real Heisman hype around Grainger this season as the dynamic dual-threat has improved greatly as a pocket passer. Grainger has thrown for 994 yards and seven touchdowns against zero interceptions while he’s rushed for another 263 yards with three touchdowns. No one’s been able to stop Grainger yet and he’s looking like one of the top quarterbacks in the country.

James Madison Dukes

Good: D’Angelo Ponds. We could have listed any number of defensive backs here but Ponds earns the right as he’s exploded onto the scene during his true freshman season. He’s tied with Jarius Reimonenq for the team lead with three pass breakups and he’s locked down in coverage on the outside during his three games this season.

Great: Jordan McCloud. Even before he took over the starting job, McCloud has flashed this season. He came in in relief back in Week 1 and showcased a downfield touch he hadn’t previously in his career and he hasn’t looked back. With 919 yards and eight touchdowns, he’s just getting started it appears in 2023.

Grand: Reggie Brown. What a relief it’s been for JMU to see Brown step up like he has. Brown has turned just 15 receptions into 354 yards and three scores. That 23.6 yards per reception figure is the third-highest among receivers with at least 15 catches this year.

Wonderful: Pass Rush Unit. There have been too many to list but the starting quartet of Jalen Green and Mikail Kamara off the edge with James Carpenter and Jamree Kromah on the inside have been unstoppable. With a mix of power and speed, this unit is just scratching the surface of what they can do. Between the four of them, they’ve made 13.5 of the team’s 18 sacks this season.

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

Good: Kenneth Almendares. The Ragin’ Cajuns kicker is perfect on the season, drilling all 19 extra points so far and has hit all five of his field goals, the long of which went fo 46 yards.

Great: Zeon Chriss. Starting just a single game so far, Chriss has flashed a dual-threat ability the likes Levi Lewis would clamor for. Chriss has thrown for two scores and been accurate with his throws, but been a terror to opposing defenses with 186 rushing yards and four scores already this season.

Grand: K.C. Ossai. It doesn’t matter the task, Ossai has excelled in 2023. He’s racked up 28 total tackles and a sack, proving to be too much in both run defense and when he blitzes.

Wonderful: AJ Gillie. You’d be wise to learn the name if you are a fan of the Sun Belt or a fan of ridiculously talented offensive line play. Gillie has been around for some time and it feels like this year is just another dominant season for the Louisiana left guard.

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

Good: Tellek Lockette/Keydrell Lewis. The right side of the ULM offensive line paved some huge lanes against Army and could be set up for great success on the ground against the Sun Belt this season. They’ve also been great in the passing game, but right now, running behind these two seems optimal.

Great: Tyrone Howell. Feeding Howell the ball has been integral for the passing success of this team and they can’t get him the ball enough. He’s a master at the catch point and has done more than enough on his own to get open this season.

Grand: A.J. Watts. Leading the team with three pass breakups, the abilities Watts have shown in 2023 are terrific. He’s flying around the field in coverage like a true center fielder and making plays in the run game like he’s a linebacker.

Wonderful: JaTerious Evans. Playing a little bit of everything for the Warhawks, Evans has dropped back in coverage from the edge, rushed the passer, and stuffed the run all the same. He’s rewarded the defense with a handful of QB pressures that include QB hits and an interception in an all-around great performance through three games.

Marshall Thundering Herd

Good: Ethan Driskell. The Herd’s left tackle has been integral to their success both on the ground and through the air. Driskell is paving the way on the move and keeping clean pockets left and right.

Great: Micah Abraham. Once again, Abraham is locking down an entire side of the field. When opposing QBs have tested him, Abraham has made it a mistake to do so, ripping off two interceptions and four pass breakups in just three games.

Grand: Sam Burton. Leading the way with 4.5 sacks through just three games, Burton has been an unstoppable force off the edge. Making a name for himself opposite Owen Porter, this duo has blossomed into perhaps one of the best outside rush end combinations in all of football.

Wonderful: Rasheen Ali. While the offense has had to catch up to their defensive prowess this season, it runs through Ali. His return to the field has been met with 396 yards through three games and seven scores. He’s averaging 6.3 yards per rush and even chipped in with 9.4 yards per catch this fall.

Old Dominion Monarchs

Good: Tahj Ra-El. An underrated player on the ODU defense, Ra-El has broken on four passes for PBUs and limited receivers over the middle of the field very well. He’s third on the team with 28 tackles, as he’s flown around well in 2023.

Great: Javon Harvey. Somehow, with just three receptions, Harvey is second on the team with 166 receiving yards and a touchdown. With his separation ability, it’s shocking that he hasn’t gotten the ball more in space as he’s a dynamic player on the outside for ODU.

Grand: Jason Henderson. The do-everything linebacker has given it his all yet again for the Monarchs. Henderson leads the way with a whopping 60 tackles and has put forth a great display of timing on his blitzes.

Wonderful: LaMareon James. Almost single-handedly defeating Wake Forest, James has scored two defensive touchdowns this year, both in the game against Wake. He’s shown great instincts in coverage and even better athleticism to snap off his receivers and make plays on ball not even into his primary coverage.

South Alabama Jaguars

Good: Carter Bradley. Playing good football, it still feels like we’ve not seen the best in Bradley yet this year. That should scare some Sun Belt defenses as Bradley has still thrown for 854 yards and nearly 70% completions. A quicker release and some faster reads will go a long way at this team competing for the Sun Belt in 2023.

Great: Jaden Voisin. The Jaguars are no stranger to stout defensive back play and Voisin has shown he can cover anyone in his primary coverage this season. He’s also shown he can break off his man or instinctively jump routes in zone to make plays on the ball.

Grand: La’Damian Webb/Kentrel Bullock. Led by Webb, this two-headed rushing attack has been nearly unstoppable in 2023. Webb leads the way with 340 yards on 52 carries while Bullock has reached 255 yards on 49 attempts. Together, they’ve accumulated seven scores and Bullock has flashed in the passing game as well.

Wonderful: Caullin Lacy. The team leader in each receiving category, Lacy has been unstoppable on the outside. He’s averaging 16.7 yards per catch with 26 receptions and 435 yards. He’ll defeat No. 1 cornerbacks off the line and stay ahead of them at any level. He’s the next great WR to come from the program.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Good: Rodrigues Clark. There’s a reason Frank Gore Jr. hasn’t gotten as much run this season and that reason is simple: it’s Clark. Ripping off 7.1 yards per attempt, Clark is a walking big play. He’s flashed an ability between the tackles and in space and has two scores on just 33 carries so far.

Great: Jalil Clemons. A walking game-plan wrecker for the Southern Miss defense, Clemons has recorded two sacks and is second on the team with nine solo tackles. He rushes off the edge well and even plays well in coverage in the flats if the play calls for it.

Grand: Billy Wiles. All things considered, the rise of Wiles as the starting quarterback has given this Southern Miss team an added element: They can pass. Wiles has thrown for 813 yards and five touchdowns, doing all he can to move this offense on the ground and through the air.

Wonderful: Jay Stanley. Stanley is the heart and soul of this defense and though there’s been a bit of boom-or-bust in their game this year, Stanley has been sharp. He’s recorded two interceptions and leads the team in solo tackles with 13. He’s broken up another three passes as he’s certainly at his best roaming the field in coverage.

Texas State Bobcats

Good: Brian Holloway. Leading the team with 37 tackles, Holloway has been all over the field for Texas State. He’s forced two fumbles as his aggressive hits only pale in comparison to the accuracy and athleticism he’s displayed when attacking the ball carriers.

Great: Joey Hobert/Ismail Mahdi. Where to start with this offense, where to start. First, there’s Hobert who has ripped off highlight-reel catch after highlight-reel catch. He’s been terrific with his body control, hands, and consistent nature. Mahdi has rushed for 399 yards and is averaging a whopping 11.1 yards per carry. He’s been special.

Grand: T.J. Finley. What a difference a year makes for Finley. After struggling to find a home at Auburn and LSU, Finley has looked every bit the part of an elite quarterback at Texas State. He’s thrown for eight touchdowns and 1,055 yards while adding an element with his creation ability from within the structure or outside of it.

Wonderful: Ben Bell. As great as this offense has been, the Bobcats have been paced by Bell on defense. Arguably their most impressive player so far this season, Bell has consistently defeated the blocker in front of him and more often than not, gotten home to the quarterback. He’s a menace against the pass and against the rush as he’s a true game-changing edge-setter.

Troy Trojans

Good: Kimani Vidal. A year after blowing up on the national stage, Vidal rushing for 514 yards in four games is nothing new to those who have been watching his career develop. He’s a compact back with a ridiculous ability to create in a phone booth.

Great: Javon Solomon. Ripping through opposing tackles for 2.5 sacks, it feels like Solomon should have had a bigger impact than just that with how much he’s been seen in the backfield. Solomon, Richard Jibunor, Phillips Lee, and the interior defenders have been unstoppable.

Grand: Reddy Steward. A lockdown cornerback, Steward has flashed in 2023. He’s recorded two interceptions and flashed some terrific ball skills in addition to his athleticism along his receiver’s routes.

Wonderful: Chris Lewis. If you haven’t seen Lewis’ ridiculous catches this season, you’re missing out. He’s even hauled in a Hail Mary this year as he’s shown an amazing ability at high-pointing the football. His body control is on another level and Lewis’ hands are as sticky as they come. At 6’4″ and 204 pounds, Lewis has the NFL written all over him.

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