Week 0 College Football Players of the Week: Sam Hartman Leads the Notre Dame Standouts

Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman leads the top college football players for Week 0 after an action packed opening to the 2023 season.

College football is back! Man, how good does it feel to say that? From Notre Dame’s torpedoing of Navy to USC getting their campaign off to a commanding start, there was plenty of action and standout performances to enjoy in Week 0. Who were the top college football players in the opening slate of games? Let our Week 0 College Football Players of the Week enlighten you.

PFN Mock Draft Simulator - Desktop

Week 0 College Football Players of the Week

Quarterback of the Week: Sam Hartman, Notre Dame

All eyes were on Dublin, Ireland as Notre Dame kicked off the 2023 college football season. There’d been many questions over the offensive identity of the team with a change in coordinator any many analysts doubting Sam Hartman’s ability to operate outside of the Wake Forest scheme. He answered them with aplomb, emerging as the top college football player in Week 0.

MORE: Sam Hartman Leads the Notre Dame Fight in Ireland

Hartman was methodical, efficient, and accurate as we dealt dime after dime, completing 83% of his passes and tying the Notre Dame record for passing touchdowns in a debut. He flashed pocket management, and his ability to read and adapt to a challenging Navy defense was praised by both head coaches. Notre Dame could be very fun to watch in the 2023 season.

Honorable mentions: Caleb Williams, USC. Taisun Phommachanh, UMass.

Offensive Player of the Week: Smoke Harris, WR, Louisiana Tech

The old adage goes, “there’s no smoke without fire” and Louisiana Tech wide receiver Smoke Harris was on fire for the Bulldogs as they survived an early shock to come from behind and beat FIU in their all-CUSA clash in Week 0. We knew that the diminutive WR was going to be a key part of the La. Tech offense this fall, but he was the spark plug that powered the 22-17 win.

The epitome of reliability, Harris reeled in all of his team-high 11 targets for 155 yards. The redshirt-senior pass catcher created 129 of those for himself after the catch, showcasing his exquisite play-making potential. His 64-yard touchdown late in the second quarter while the Bulldogs were down two scores changed the flow of the game in Louisiana Tech’s favor.

Honorable mentions: Shomari Lawrence, RB, FIU. Audric Estime, RB, Notre Dame. Will Sheppard, WR, Vanderbilt. Mark Redman, TE, San Diego State. 

Defensive Player of the Week: De’Rickey Wright, DB, Vanderbilt

Shoutout to Hawaii who played Vanderbilt significantly closer than anyone anticipated in their Week 0 clash in Nashville. If it hadn’t been for defensive efforts of senior defensive back De’Rickey Wright then we could have been talking about the shock of college football Week 0. Wright deserves to be heralded as one of the top college football players from opening night.

His stat line alone is impressive. Three solo tackles, two interceptions, one pass breakup, and a forced fumble. But, then you throw in the situational importance of those statistics and you begin to understand Wright’s game-changing impact. The Vanderbilt DB’s athletic, perfectly-executed, toe-tap, second interception sealed the win for the Commodores.

Honorable mentions: Jamal Potts, DB, FIU. Noah Tumblin, CB, San Diego State. Jeremiah Harris, DB, Jacksonville State. Zukudo Igwenagu, DE, UMass. Marist Liafau, LB, Notre Dame.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Cameron Carson, K, UMass

On a night where college football kickers lived up to their national reputation for awfulness — there was a missed kick in every single game where one was attempted — Cameron Carson represented “The Brand” impeccably by nailing 100% of his kicks. While both were less than 35 yards, he was clearly the top college football player at his craft on opening weekend.

Honorable mentions: Zachariah Branch, PR/KR, USC. Jacob Barnes, K, Louisiana Tech.

Freshman Player of the Week: Jaden Greathouse, WR, Notre Dame

Notre Dame kicked off the college football season in Dublin, and wide receiver Jaden Greathouse started his college football career in style. Although we’d identified the former Westlake High School four-star as an immediate impact true freshman WR, even we didn’t anticipate the Fighting Irish freshman breaking out on the global stage.

Greathouse secured every single one of his second-on-the-team three targets, tallying 68 yards with an outstanding two touchdowns. His first, a 35-yard snag, showcased his ability to secure a catch even when being draped by a defensive back. Although he was wide open for his second, the young WR showcased nice route-running on his way to the end zone.

Honorable mentions: Zachariah Branch, WR, USC, Jeremiah Vessel, DB, New Mexico State