What an exciting week of college football it was in Week 5. Come-from-behind victories, standout defensive performances, and dominant displays from aerial assaults all around the nation are the highlights of this past weekend of action.
The best college football had to offer from College Football Week 5 is here in our Team of the Week.
Week 5 College Football Team of the Week | First Team
It’s important to note that the CFN Week 5 College Football Team of the Week awards players based on their impact in their respective games and is not necessarily based on total statistical output.
The strength of competition is accounted for, as is the situation — both time of the game and score. These individual awards are also solely based on a player’s ability on the field and does not look into any future beyond college football.
Quarterback: Caleb Williams, USC
At times, it looked like USC QB Caleb Williams was playing on ‘easy difficulty’ in a video game. He slung it all over the field and did so with ease against Colorado.
Despite his first interception of the season (it did seem like he got a bit too confident on this one), he still threw six touchdowns and over 400 yards against the Buffaloes. Williams’ arm talent is so rare that he makes the extraordinary seem ordinary and we’ve become accustomed to these kinds of performances.
For any other quarterback, throwing six touchdowns is a lock for QB of the Week, and Williams is no different.
Running Back: Ray Davis, Kentucky
The Kentucky Wildcats literally ran over the Florida Gators on Saturday. Ray Davis and the Kentucky offense took it to the Gators early and often as Davis ran for over 200 yards in the first half alone.
In the end, Davis totaled the third-best rushing performance in Kentucky history, totaling 280 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns. He was unstoppable with the ball in his hands and added a score through the air.
Running Back: Jonathon Brooks, Texas
You can say a long 67-yard touchdown run buoyed him, but Jonathon Brooks flat out dominated against Kansas. Brooks was a consistent force against the Jayhawks’ defense, making first defenders miss all day long. He hardly went down on first contact and it took multiple Kansas defenders to bring him down.
In the end, Brooks helped the Longhorns to a big victory over a potent Kansas team. He finished with 218 yards on 21 carries with his two touchdowns.
Running Back: Kadarius Calloway, Old Dominion
We’ve added a third running back spot for this week because that’s how good Kadarius Calloway was for Old Dominion this weekend. With a ridiculous statistical showing, Calloway did more than his fair share of keeping his team in the game as best he could.
Calloway ran for 236 yards on just 11 carries and scored three times on the ground. Included in those were touchdown runs of 69, 70, and 75 yards. Calloway burst through the middle of the ODU line at will and outran every single Marshall defender at will.
Wide Receiver: Jalen Royals, Utah State
Sparking his offense like a king rallying his kingdom, Jalen Royals lived up to his last name on Saturday. Royals went off in the second half, sparking Utah State’s comeback efforts against UConn.
Royals hauled in seven receptions for 185 yards and three touchdowns, all three scores coming in the second half after the Aggies went to the halftime break, down 17-7.
Wide Receiver: Tai Felton, Maryland
Against Indiana, it felt like Tai Felton was always open. In fact, it felt like the majority of the Maryland wide receivers were open on an outing that saw Taulia Tagovailoa throw for 352 yards and five touchdowns on just 24 completions.
Of those touchdowns, three went to Felton as he ran through the Hoosiers’ defense for 134 yards on seven catches. The Stone Bridge HS alum had a career day, hauling in his first multi-touchdown game and nearly doubling his season total of receiving yards in the process.
Wide Receiver: Tre Harris, Ole Miss
In an absolute shootout between Ole Miss and LSU, the Rebels got the last laugh thanks to Tre Harris. The Louisiana Tech transfer continues to make his presence felt in big ways for the Rebels and has now hauled in six total touchdowns in just three games.
His most recent score came as the game-winning touchdown reception on a screen pass near the goal line. Harris made one defender miss, put another on skates, and cut through two players to score the game-winning touchdown on his eighth reception of the night. In total, Harris had eight catches for 153 yards against LSU.
Tight End: Zach Horton, JMU
What a day it was for Zach Horton and JMU. While making a statement against South Alabama, Horton’s ability on the receiving end of Jordan McCloud passes was integral in the Dukes’ success.
Horton hauled in just three passes but scored twice and ran past the Jaguars’ defense to the tune of 116 yards. He was a tough man to bring down and flashed some impressive elusiveness and contact balance after the catch in the process.
Flex: Brock Bowers, Georgia
Rewriting the Georgia history books, becoming one of the best ever, and simply ruling our Flex Offense spot on the Team of the Week, it was once again the Brock Bowers show for Georgia. Hauling in 157 of the team’s 313 receiving yards, Bowers took over when the Bulldogs needed him to.
Whether it was his one-handed grab or his yards-after-the-catch ability he showcased, Bowers was the spark the ‘Dawgs needed to come from behind against Auburn. He finished with eight catches, 157 yards, a touchdown, and one rush for three yards.
Travis Hunter Award: Jelani Stafford, UConn
What a performance it was for Jelani Stafford. The UConn defensive tackle got involved in a handful of ways, a big handful.
Stafford toted the ball five times for 11 yards and two touchdowns while also catching a pass for 10 yards out of the backfield. On defense, Stafford had three solo tackles and ate up a ton of space on the defensive front.
Offensive Tackle: Marques Cox, Kentucky
Tossing Gator defenders off the line of scrimmage like a bouncer tossing kids out of a club, Cox was a man on a mission on Saturday. He was dominant at the point of attack, setting the edge at will and pushing defenders off the ball with ease.
Cox and Dylan Ray combined to make some impressive plays on the ground game, and didn’t need to do much more than that in a dominant victory over Florida.
Offensive Guard: Dylan Ray, Kentucky
The left side of the Big Blue Wall was absolutely dominant against Florida. With Cox caving the way from the left tackle spot, Ray was consistently seen on the move, from left guard to the right side and clearing massive lanes.
Ray combined with Cox on duo blocks, moved on power, and flat-out dominated with the entire Kentucky offense on Saturday.
Center: Will Putnam, Clemson
Moving early and often for the Clemson Tigers, Will Putnam had quite a day. He was seen on the Tigers’ very first drive, moving defenders off the ball, and it only continued after that.
Putnam was terrific in both facets, all while calling the shots at center for the Clemson offense. He led the way to a quietly dominant offensive output on Saturday.
Offensive Guard: Tellek Lockette, UL-Monroe
It seems like every game for the UL-Monroe Warhawks it’s a Tellek Lockette highlight reel. Against Appalachian State, Lockette was all over the field for ULM, making massive plays in every facet.
Whether it was Jiya Wright’s QB sneak for a touchdown on fourth down, Isaiah Woullard’s rush touchdown directly off his back, or his ability to keep a clean pocket, Lockette has turned heads in this game and all season long.
Offensive Tackle: Jonah Monheim, USC
The USC Trojans manhandled Colorado for the first 45 minutes, and though the final score was a bit too close for comfort, the offense more than did their part. With Williams slinging it, Jonah Monheim had a dominant day on the offensive line for the Trojans.
Monheim was seen picking apart Colorado defenders at the first and second levels on the ground. But it was his ability in pass protection that earns him his spot here. He was nearly perfect and had plenty of highlight-reel moments for USC on Saturday.
EDGE Defender: Josaiah Stewart, Michigan
The big man from Michigan made his presence felt against Nebraska in a big way. Josaiah Stewart’s emergence in the Big Ten was confirmed with his two-sack performance against the Cornhuskers, but that hardly tells the whole story.
Against Nebraska and their talented QB run game, the job of an edge defender is far more important than usual. Stewart set the edge and kept Heinrich Haarberg in the pocket and in the backfield more often than he had been all season long.
In fact, if you remove the garbage-time 74-yard rush touchdown, Stewart and Co. pitched a shutout and held the Nebraska offense to just 32 yards on the ground.
Defensive Interior: Elijah Alston, Marshall
A bit in between positions, it didn’t seem to matter for Elijah Alston as he moved all around the Marshall defensive front against ODU. The big man for Marshall made multiple plays with his pass-rushing and was a valuable run-stuffer (when Calloway wasn’t on the field).
However, it was his instincts that pushed him to a post here as he nabbed an interception off Jack Shields and rumbled down the field for an 85-yard pick-six that pushed the Herd’s lead to two possessions.
Defensive Interior: Darius Hodges, Tulane
Making life miserable for the UAB offensive line and QB Jacob Zeno, Tulane’s do-everything defensive lineman Darius Hodges did a little bit of everything. Hodges was all over the field and made his presence known far more than any box score could ever show.
He had a sack and three total tackles, but it was his influence over the passing game and hustle plays that landed him a spot here. Hodges’ pursuit of the ball carriers in run defense was almost nearly as impressive as his sack, where he obliterated the tackle in front of him.
EDGE Defender: Yanni Karlaftis, Purdue
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Yanni is indeed former Purdue great George Karlaftis’ brother who has officially begun to forge his own legacy with the Boilermakers. Karlaftis was brilliant against Illinois, both with his pass-rushing skills, his run-defense prowess, and his ability to drop back in coverage.
Doing it all for Purdue, Karlaftis recorded eight total tackles, including a sack as he set the edge and was a remarkable force that helped limit Illinois to just 120 yards on the ground from their running backs.
Linebacker: Aiden Fisher, JMU
Arguably one of the best defensive performances we’ve seen from a team all season came on Saturday when JMU dominated South Alabama. The Dukes limited the Jaguars to just 27 yards rushing, and their linebacker play was a big reason why.
Aiden Fisher flew all over the field for the Dukes, making multiple plays in every facet. There was the tackle for loss on South Alabama’s final drive that put them behind schedule, but that was just the icing on the cake of a dominant performance.
Linebacker: Jalen Green, JMU
While Fisher made consistent plays, it was JMU LB Jalen Green who made big plays for the Dukes. Green recorded a pick-six to push their lead comfortably out of reach or Green’s sack following Fisher’s TFL that really stymied any chance on the final drive for South Alabama.
All told, Green recorded 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and was a menace off the edge, in run defense, or in coverage.
Linebacker: Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Clemson
Keeping Syracuse QB Garrett Shrader in check is no easy task, yet it felt like a walk in the park for Jeremiah Trotter Jr. The Clemson linebacker recorded seven total tackles, combined for a sack, and made an interception against Shrader in an all-around great performance.
Trotter and the Clemson defense made easy work of limiting Shrader and the potent Syracuse offense as he and his linebacker cohort Barrett Carter proved their worth once again.
Cornerback: D’Angelo Ponds, JMU
Yet another Duke on the list of top defenders in Week 5; that’s how impressive the JMU performance was on defense. D’Angelo Ponds got his first start on the outside this weekend and did not disappoint.
Ponds locked down in coverage and had multiple pass breakups and forced incompletions. He limited the receivers in his coverage very well and finished with five total tackles, keeping his pass-catchers in check all game long.
Cornerback: Upton Stout, Western Kentucky
Back on Thursday night, Western Kentucky’s Upton Stout acted like an elite lockdown linebacker for the Hilltoppers. Stout made multiple plays in coverage and filled at the first level of defense like a mike linebacker would.
He was crisp, clean, and powerful, recording three tackles, a tackle for loss, and generally locking down an entire half of the field in coverage.
Defensive Back: Trey Taylor, Air Force
The Air Force Falcons are a scary unit on offense and defense in 2023. Trey Taylor perfectly showcased that on Saturday night when he and the Falcons dominated the San Diego Aztecs for their third straight Mountain West victory.
Taylor’s highlight reel was granted a gem of a play when he stepped up against an RPO and hopped into the throwing lane of Jalen Mayden, grabbing the pick and skirting through the offensive line for a pick-six. Taylor was all over the field for a defense that limited SDSU to just 10 points and just 227 total yards.
Safety: Ike Larsen, Utah State
Breaking on the ball all game long, Ike Larsen can be credited with literally getting the win for Utah State on Saturday. It was Larsen, after all, who blocked UConn’s extra-point attempt that would have sent the game to overtime.
Larsen was also brilliant in coverage on the afternoon and made multiple plays on the ball on the backend. He recorded six solo tackles and limited receivers in his coverage very well.
Safety: Wyatt Ekeler, Wyoming
Flying around everywhere for the Wyoming Cowboys, Wyatt Ekeler came up big time against New Mexico on Saturday. Ekeler recovered a fumble, recorded two sacks, and had four total tackles against the Lobos, all from his safety spot.
He hovered around the line of scrimmage all game long if he wasn’t back in coverage making dominant plays against an array of pass catchers. It was a sound performance to start Mountain West play for Ekeler and the Cowboys’ defense.
Flex: Devean Deal, Tulane
The Green Wave defense employs a unique front four and Devean Deal fits right into that group. At 6’4″ and 245 pounds, Deal is a handful for tackles to handle off the edge with his size and power, or even more of a handful on the inside with his speed and get-off.
The best is still yet to come if Deal’s performance against UAB is any indicator, as he recorded four tackles for loss and was a constant presence in the backfield in all facets for Tulane.
Kicker: Michael Hughes, Appalachian State
Back to Boone victors, the Appalachian State Mountaineers needed every second in Monroe to knock off the Warhawks and needed every stitch of power from Michael Hughes’ leg. Fighting through a tough ULM defense in the waning stages, Hughes booted a game-winning 54-yard field goal as time expired for the victory.
Hughes was perfect on the evening, drilling all five extra points and both of his field goals, none bigger than his game-winning kick that was essentially perfect.
Punter: Oscar Chapman, Auburn
It was going to take all three phases for Auburn to knock off Georgia on Saturday, and that certainly included special teams. And they got a special performance from Oscar Chapman in their near-upset over the Bulldogs.
Chapman booted it five times for 256 yards, including a field-flipping 71-yarder. He drilled four of those punts inside the Georgia 20-yard line as he was truly a weapon the Tigers rode to a near victory.
Kick Returner: Drae McCray, Texas Tech
Utilizing some ridiculous blocking in front of him, Drae McCray picked his shot wisely and darted past the Houston special teams in the process. McCray darted through the mess of blockers and defenders on the right side of the field and toe-tapped his way down the sidelines for a 100-yard kick return touchdown for Texas Tech.
He returned two kicks in the outing as the plan was to kick it away from him after. Special shoutout to McCray’s running mate Loic Fouonji, who recovered a blocked punt for a score as well.
Punt Returner: Cooper DeJean, Iowa
The Iowa Hawkeyes needed some special teams and defensive help to get into the winner’s circle against Michigan State, riding the back of Cooper DeJean in the process.
DeJean fielded a punt with just under four minutes left in the contest and evaded the Spartans’ special teams unit for a 70-yard touchdown that gave Iowa just their second touchdown of the game. His efforts were enough to push Iowa into a 23-16 lead and his kicker — Drew Stevens — later iced it, but DeJean’s spark was the game-winner.
Week 5 College Football Team of the Week | Second Team
- QB: Jayden Daniels, LSU
- RB: Quinshon Judkins, Ole Miss
- RB: Harrison Waylee, Wyoming
- WR: Tory Horton, Colorado State
- WR: Jaelen Gill, Fresno State
- WR: Brian Thomas Jr., LSU
- TE: Mitchell Evans, Notre Dame
- FLEX: Jaxson Dart, Ole Miss
- OT: Olu Fashanu, Penn State
- OG: John Champe, Northern Illinois
- C: Nofoafia Tulafono, Wyoming
- OG: Quantavious Leslie, Western Kentucky
- OT: Christian Jones, Texas
- EDGE: T.J. Parker, Clemson
- EDGE: Jonah Elliss, Utah
- IDL: Zane Durant, Penn State
- IDL: Walter Nolen, Texas A&M
- LB: Easton Mascarenas-Arnold, Oregon State
- LB: Payton Wilson, NC State
- LB: Bryson Washington, Western Kentucky
- DB: Jakob Robinson, BYU
- DB: Caden Jenkins, Baylor
- DB: Max Hairston, Kentucky
- DB: Anthony Switzer, Utah State
- DB: Kamal Hadden, Tennessee
- DB: Tyrek Funderburk, Appalachian State
- FLEX: Sean Martin, West Virginia
- K: John Hoyland, Wyoming
- P: Anthony Venneri, Buffalo
- KR: Ismail Mahdi, Texas State
- PR: Smoke Harris, Louisiana Tech
Week 5 College Football Team of the Week | Third Team
- QB: Jaylen Raynor, Arkansas State
- RB: Tyrone Tracy Jr., Purdue
- RB: Jaydn Ott, Cal
- WR: Monaray Baldwin, Baylor
- WR: Adonai Mitchell, Texas
- WR: Luther Burden III, Missouri
- TE: Dallin Holker, Colorado State
- FLEX: Christian Horn, Appalachian State
- OT: Kingsley Suamataia, BYU
- OG: Keaton Bills, Utah
- C: Sedrick Van Pran, Georgia
- OG: Jalen Grant, Purdue
- OT: Keydrell Lewis, UL-Monroe
- EDGE: Chris Hardie, Jacksonville State
- EDGE: Tre’Mon Morris-Brash, UCF
- IDL: Aaron Lewis, Rutgers
- IDL: Ja’Mion Franklin, Duke
- LB: Edgerrin Cooper, Texas A&M
- LB: Kyle Moretti, Central Michigan
- LB: Khadry Jackson, Georgia Southern
- DB: Myles Heard, Louisiana Tech
- DB: Kris Abrams-Draine, Missouri
- DB: Angelo Grose, Michigan State
- DB: Evan Williams, Oregon
- DB: O’shai Fletcher, Troy
- DB: Billy Bowman Jr., Oklahoma
- FLEX: Chris Chukwuneke, JMU
- K: Alex McNulty, Buffalo
- P: Lachlan Wilson, Cal
- KR: Jacques Stuart, Toledo
- PR: Lewis Bond, Boston College
Week 5 College Football Team of the Week | Honorable Mention
- QB: Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland
- QB: Brady Cook, Missouri
- RB: Terion Stewart, Bowling Green
- RB: Makhi Hughes, Tulane
- WR: Finn Hogan, Bowling Green
- WR: Jeshaun Jones, Maryland
- WR: Junior Vandeross III, Toledo
- WR: Sean Atkins, USF
- WR: Marquis Shoulders, Tulsa
- TE: Terrance Ferguson, Oregon
- FLEX: Silas Bolden, Oregon State
- OT: John Young, Miami (OH)
- OG: Michael Mokofisi, Utah
- C: Devan Rogers, Toledo
- OG: Preston Nichols, Purdue
- OT: Mahamane Moussa, Purdue
- EDGE: Mikail Kamara, JMU
- EDGE: Caiden Woullard, Miami (OH)
- IDL: Judge Culpepper, Toledo
- IDL: Aeneas Peebles, Duke
- LB: Quae Drake, Jacksonville State
- LB: Ty Wise, Miami (OH)
- LB: Matt Jones, Baylor
- LB: Kaleb Elarms-Orr, Cal
- DB: Tykee Smith, Georgia
- DB: Tyler Nubin, Minnesota
- DB: Jack Henderson, Minnesota
- DB: Deshawn Jones Jr., Bowling Green
- DB: Keyron Crawford, Arkansas State
- FLEX: Javante Mackey, Arkansas State
- K: Jose Pizano, UNLV
- P: Emilio Duran, Toledo
- KR: Elijhah Badger, Arizona State
- PR: Micah Davis, Utah State