Week 7 College Football Team of the Week: Elic Ayomanor, Michael Penix Jr., and Xavier Watts Give Legendary Performances

    The Week 7 College Football Team of the Week is headlined by stars and emerging talent from across the nation including Notre Dame's Xavier Watt's Career night.

    From Tuesday all the way to Sunday morning on the East Coast, the Week 7 slate dazzled, amazed, and left us awestruck. The top players of the week, highlighted by their selections on our Week 7 College Football Team of the Week, come from all corners of the country and showcase just how amazing this week of football was.

    Week 7 College Football Team of the Week | First Team

    It’s important to note that the CFN Week 6 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: Michael Penix Jr., Washington

    A week after Dillon Gabriel had his Heisman moment, the same could be said for Michael Penix Jr. of the Washington Huskies. Battling an injury in his midsection, Penix Jr. gutted out one of the more impressive offensive showings we’ve seen, especially given the strength of the Oregon Ducks on defense.

    Penix Jr. moved his Washington offense down the field in the blink of an eye — including on the game-winning touchdown drive — and thrived under the pressure of this massive contest. He completed 22-of-37 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns. Penix was lights out for the majority of the contest.

    Running Back: Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State

    In true Mike Gundy form, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are once against exceeding expectations and winning games most don’t give him a chance to. On Saturday, the Cowboys were paced by Ollie Gordon II out of the backfield in an impressive victory over Kansas.

    Gordon recorded 116 yards and a score through the air, proving his yards-after-the-catch skills are top-notch. He also ran the rock as the true bellcow, handling it 29 times for 168 yards and a touchdown.

    In total, Gordon recorded 284 yards of total offense and two touchdowns.

    Running Back: Ashton Jeanty, Boise State

    If only Ashton Jeanty could’ve played defense for the Boise State Broncos, they might have won their Week 7 matchup against Colorado State. We wouldn’t put it past Jeanty’s skill set to actually play some plus defense in 2023, but we digress.

    Jeanty led the Broncos on the ground with 212 yards and three scores and was the team’s leading receiver with 42 receiving yards. He is in the conversation as one of the nation’s top running backs but doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his work after contact and the vision-athleticism combination he’s put forth this season.

    Wide Receiver: Keon Coleman, Florida State

    Sometimes, it’s not the biggest statistical showings that get nominated for the Team of the Week. In some instances, it’s the best catch of the day or the hardest hit or the best situational play. In others, it’s a combination.

    For Keon Coleman, it’s the latter. Coleman recorded nine catches for 140 yards and a touchdown for the Florida State Seminoles, including the best catch of the day when he skied over a safety in the middle of the field and needed just one hand to pull down a rocket.

    But Coleman wasn’t done as he nearly returned two punts for touchdowns, one of which was called back due to a penalty away from the play and the other just ran out of room. In a jaw-dropping performance, Coleman recorded six punt returns for 107 yards, giving him 247 all-purpose yards against Syracuse.

    Wide Receiver: Devontez Walker, North Carolina

    No one was more deserving of a dominant performance in Week 7 than Devontez Walker. Just two weeks after the NCAA cleared his return to the field, Walker showcased why he was such a coveted transfer-portal addition for the North Carolina Tar Heels.

    Though he belonged on the field all season long, his addition to this lineup has come at the right time for UNC overall. Walker exploded for three touchdowns against Miami, on just six receptions, with 132 yards.

    Wide Receiver: Elic Ayomanor, Stanford

    A game for the ages was marked by the performance of a lifetime from Elic Ayomanor. Entering the contest against Colorado, the Stanford Cardinal wide receiver had made 15 receptions for 207 yards and a single touchdown in his career.

    It’s safe to say that Ayomanor — the pride of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada — is officially on the up and up after a 13-catch, 294-yard, 3-touchdown performance that opened the eyes of everyone around the nation. Ayomanor was simply unstoppable at every level of the field and it didn’t matter who tried to guard him, where he was targeted, or when; Ayomanor just simply won.

    Tight End: Jack Velling, Oregon State

    Dominating up the seam and in the open field, Oregon State Beavers TE Jack Velling was unstoppable. UCLA couldn’t contain him all evening long as Velling quickly became DJ Uiagalelei’s favorite target.

    Velling finished the night with three receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns, and his only catch that didn’t score points was the most impressive. Add in the fact that Velling made multiple plays on the ground and in the blocking arena, and you’ve got a tremendous tight end performance.

    Flex: Avery Johnson, Kansas State

    Perfectly describing the flex position here, Avery Johnson wowed at quarterback for the Kansas State Wildcats. Against Texas Tech, Johnson was pressed into duty in a full-time role and was clearly too much for the Red Raiders to handle.

    Johnson threw the ball well enough to keep the defense back, completing 8-of-9 passes for 77 yards, but his biggest impact came on the ground. Up the middle or around the edge, it didn’t seem to matter as Johnson scored five touchdowns on the ground on just 13 carries.

    Travis Hunter Award: Sione Vaki, Utah

    There may have been other running backs rushing the ball more times or for more yards than Sione Vaki, but none have a more impressive feat accomplished. Given the fact that Vaki was a full-time safety just two weeks against Oregon State, his 158-yard performance on the ground for the Utah Utes was impressive.

    Vaki rushed the ball 15 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns, proving to be a valuable two-way weapon. He also recorded four total tackles on defense against Cal.

    Offensive Tackle: Jeremiah Byers, Florida State

    Playing a vicious brand of football on the right side, Jeremiah Byers was dominant for the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday. The Syracuse defensive line is known for their all-around prowess, but Byers, and the FSU line in general, kept ‘The Mob’ in check for most of the game.

    Byers highlights came on the ground, though, as he was seen on multiple occasions moving in front of running backs and clearing large lanes in the run game.

    Guard: Terrell Haynes, UTSA

    Consistently around the ball or the play side, Terrell Haynes was a monster up the middle for the UTSA Roadrunners. Haynes was a people-mover in the run game and was seen on multiple playside blocks for touchdown runs in the first half.

    Haynes was a stalwart in pass protection as well, continuing what appears to be yet another dominant year for the Roadrunners’ long-time guard.

    Center: Sedrick Van Pran, Georgia

    Let’s face it: Sedrick Van Pran can do it all. The Georgia Bulldogs center was the benefit of a botched snap attempt from his quarterback to the tune of a six-yard rush, giving him a place in the stat sheet.

    But he was tremendous in all facets for UGA against Vanderbilt. Van Pran was dominant on the ground and perhaps even better in pass protection, moving well from defender to defender to keep clean pockets all day.

    Guard: Ethan Jackman, Air Force

    Continuing his dominant year so far, Ethan Jackman was a bully from his right guard spot for Air Force on Saturday. Against Wyoming, Jackman and the Falcons’ rushing attack dominated the point of attack and even beyond.

    Jackman had multiple highlight-reel moments with his ability to get to the second level with ease. He was seen on multiple occasions clearing massive lanes and pushing his defenders well out of the play.

    Offensive Tackle: Tyshawn Wyatt, JMU

    In a dominant display of all-around skill, Tyshawn Wyatt was everywhere for the James Madison Dukes on Saturday. Seeking revenge for their game against Georgia Southern a year ago, Wyatt was downright rude to opponents in Week 7.

    Wyatt moved incredibly well from one side of the formation to another as he was routinely seen as the play-side blocker. He could seal off runs away from him nd was clean in pass protection for Jordan McCloud and JMU.

    EDGE Defender: Trey Moore, UTSA

    Causing even more havoc than normal, Trey Moore was on another level for the UTSA Roadrunners on Saturday. Against the quick passing game of UAB, Moore’s impressive stat line read 3.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, and five total tackles.

    His pass-rushing wins were quick and powerful, including a strip sack that set the tone for the UTSA defense to live in the UAB backfield early in the first half. Moore’s day was rounded out by his double-TFL when he smashed the mesh point on an RPO hand-off attempt, tackling both the running back and quarterback before the ball could be pulled for an impressive play.

    Defensive Interior: Darius Robinson, Missouri

    Playing all over the defensive line, Darius Robinson was all but unstoppable for the Missouri Tigers on Saturday. Robinson ripped through the Kentucky offensive line with ease, cementing his status as a true game-wrecker for Missouri.

    Robinson recorded six total tackles — leading the team — with two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. Robinson’s highlight-reel sack came when he powerfully finished a sack off an unblocked pressure that saw him somehow move his massive 6’5″, 296-pound frame with terrific velocity and acceleration.

    Defensive Interior: James Carpenter, JMU

    The JMU Dukes defense came to play against Georgia Southern in Week 7, atoning for their loss in this exact matchup from 2022. James Carpenter was a consistent force for the JMU defense, ripping through for pressures or simply dropping back and spying Davis Brin’s eyes over the middle of the field.

    The latter situation happened on multiple occasions, leading to multiple pass breakups for Carpenter, one in which he even grabbed his own deflection and almost rumbled in for a pick-six.

    EDGE Defender: Kaimon Rucker, North Carolina

    Utilizing his terrific set of pass-rushing skills, Kaimon Rucker picked his shots brilliantly in a masterful performance against Miami. Understanding the limits of true freshman right tackle Francis Mauigoa, Rucker finished the evening with 2.5 sacks of Tyler Van Dyke.

    Yet those 2.5 sacks don’t even come close to indicating how strong Rucker’s performance was. He was a consistent force in the backfield as he won pass-rush rep after pass-rush rep with ease on Saturday.

    Linebacker: Donyai Taylor, UTSA

    Joining his fellow linebacker Trey Moore, Donyai Taylor returned to top form against UAB. The UTSA linebacker was dominant in all phases of the game, including run defense, pass coverage, and when he blitzed UAB QB Jacob Zeno.

    Taylor was dominant in coverage, dropping back and causing difficult throwing lanes, but his biggest impact came against the run. He was a consistent force in the backfield and made 3.5 tackles for loss on the evening.

    Linebacker: Cedric Gray, North Carolina

    With his fellow defensive standout Rucker, Cedric Gray joins our Week 7 College Football Team of the Week after his dominant showing in all facets. Gray led the team with 10 total tackles, seven of which were solo, as he patrolled the middle of the field brilliantly.

    Gray’s highlight-reel moment came when he read Van Dyke’s eyes with perfection, dropping into coverage and grabbing a huge interception. His interception set UNC up for a go-ahead touchdown that pushed their lead to two possessions, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish from there forward.

    Linebacker: Tre Freeman, Duke

    What a defensive performance it was for the Duke Blue Devils. Led by linebacker Tre Freeman, Duke limited NC State to 305 yards of total offense on 54 plays. Freeman led the way with a whopping 15 total tackles and eight solo stops.

    His 1.5 tackles for loss showcased his ability to come downhill in run defense, but it was his interception that sparked the Duke offense with a short field and a one-play drive that pushed their lead to 14 points.

    Defensive Back: Ryan Cooper Jr., Oregon State

    The Oregon State defense confused and confounded Dante Moore all night long and Ryan Cooper was a big reason why. Cooper and the defense recorded five sacks, a handful of which were coverage sacks as they locked down to their receivers with ease.

    The top play from the defense, however, belonged to Cooper himself as he broke on an outside route along the sidelines with such speed that before anyone on the offense realized he was running the other way, he was 20 yards ahead of them.

    Defensive Back: Millard Bradford, TCU

    Setting the stage for a downright dominant defensive performance, Millard Bradford picked off BYU QB Kedon Slovis on the first throw of the game and just the third play overall. Bradford leaped in front of a pressured pass and scooted down the sidelines 35 yards for a pick-six that all but erased any chance BYU had from the get-go.

    In the end, Bradford led the secondary that kept Slovis to fewer than 50% completions and just 152 yards through the air. Bradford was solid in run defense as well as he set the edge and finished with three total tackles.

    Defensive Back: Trey Taylor, Air Force

    The heartbeat of the Air Force secondary, Trey Taylor was simply everywhere against Wyoming. Taylor’s biggest impact came on special teams, where he blocked what would have been the go-ahead extra point in the waning stages of the fourth quarter.

    But Taylor was everywhere on defense as well. He recorded 10 total tackles, a tackle for loss, and patrolled the middle of the field brilliantly in coverage all night.

    Defensive Back: Kobe Savage, Kansas State

    With his fellow safety VJ Payne, Kobe Savage and the Kansas State secondary made life miserable for Texas Tech on Saturday. Savage nabbed two interceptions on the day, fielding them like a centerfielder as he roamed the back end in coverage perfectly.

    He finished the day with seven total tackles, four of which were solo, as he proved he could come up in run defense all the same.

    Defensive Back: Xavier Watts, Notre Dame

    Playing the absolute game of his life, Xavier Watts single-handedly destroyed USC’s undefeated season and Caleb Williams’ Heisman campaign in one night. Watts was everywhere for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defense and dominant in every facet.

    With a pair of interceptions and six solo tackles, Watts was brilliant in coverage. He put the proverbial dagger in USC with his scoop ‘n score late in the fourth quarter as he was consistently around the football on every play, it seemed.

    Flex: Antwaun Powell-Ryland, Virginia Tech

    The instant impact transfer has continued to up his game in Blacksburg, and for Antwaun Powell-Ryland, his Week 7 performance may have just been his finest. Powell-Ryland was simply unblockable for any Wake Forest offensive linemen as he exploded for four sacks against the Demon Deacons.

    Powell-Ryland ripped through for 4.5 tackles for loss as he was a consistent force in the backfield for Virginia Tech.

    Kicker: Caleb Griffin, Illinois

    When it all came down to Caleb Griffin, the Illinois Fighting Illini kicker had ice in his veins. Griffin drilled home a 43-yard field goal as time expired to give the Illini their first win in the Big Ten this season.

    Griffin finished just 2-of-3 on field goals, but his game-winner, being the ultimate deciding factor, was good enough to push him into the spot here with ease.

    Punter: Jack Blumer, Kansas State

    Winning at all phases, Kansas State didn’t blow out Texas Tech with some gaudy offensive performance. Instead, it was a defensive slugfest and a dramatic performance from their punter, Jack Blumer.

    Punting five times for 220 yards, each of Blumer’s boots pinned Texas Tech up inside their own 20-yard line, including two that backed TTU up inside their own 10.

    Kick Returner: Jadarian Price, Notre Dame

    Exploding in all facets against USC, the Notre Dame special teams dominated the Trojans. That included Jadarian Price’s 99-yard kickoff return touchdown that pushed the Notre Dame lead to three possessions.

    Showing speed and terrific vision, Price fielded the ball just outside of the end zone and patiently picked his spot. Through the blocking, he came out unfazed before ultimately outrunning the kickoff coverage from USC.

    Punt Returner: Daequan Hardy, Penn State

    For the first time in his career, Daequan Hardy returned punts. That’s shocking to hear because he looked like he’d been doing this his whole life.

    Against UMass, Hardy recorded three punt returns, 129 yards, and two punt return touchdowns. That’s right, two punt returns for touchdowns. Hardy became the first Big Ten player with two punt returns for touchdowns since 2013.

    Week 7 College Football Team of the Week | Second Team

    Offense

    • QB: Ashton Daniels, Stanford
    • RB: Leshon Williams, Iowa
    • RB: Malik Sherrod, Fresno State
    • WR: Ricky White, UNLV
    • WR: Rome Odunze, Washington (8-128-2)
    • WR: Ricky Pearsall, Florida (10-166-1)
    • TE: Tre Watson, Fresno State
    • FLEX: Quinton Cooley, Liberty
    • OT: Caden Barnett, Wyoming
    • G: Zak Zinter, Michigan
    • C: Corey Gaynor, North Carolina
    • G: Tate Ratledge, Georgia
    • OT: Chaz Neal, FAU

    Defense

    • EDGE: Adisa Isaac, Penn State
    • DT: Patrick Jenkins, Tulane
    • DT: Alex Merritt, Eastern Michigan
    • EDGE: Landon Jackson, Arkansas
    • LB: Kevin Swint, Georgia State
    • LB: Ja’Terious Evans, UL-Monroe
    • LB: Collin Oliver, Oklahoma State
    • DB: M.J. Devonshire, Pittsburgh
    • DB: Kris Abrams-Draine, Missouri
    • DB: Cam Miller, Penn State
    • DB: VJ Payne, Kansas State
    • DB: Tykee Smith, Georgia
    • FLEX: Chris Chukwuneke, JMU

    Special Teams

    • K: Scott Taylor Renfroe, Troy
    • P: Riley Riethman, Navy
    • KR: Demond Claiborne, Wake Forest
    • PR: LaJohntay Wester, FAU

    Week 7 College Football Team of the Week | Third Team

    Offense

    • QB: Josh Hoover, TCU
    • RB: Donavyn Lester, UNLV
    • RB: Kyle Monangai, Rutgers
    • WR: Joey Hobert, Texas State
    • WR: Jaylin Lane, Virginia Tech
    • WR: Ja’Mori Maclin, North Texas (6-163-2)
    • TE: Cade Stover, Ohio State
    • FLEX: Rasheen Ali, Marshall
    • OT: Roger Rosengarten, Washington
    • G: Febechi Nwaiwu, North Texas
    • C: Jack Hasz, UNLV
    • G: Justin Mayers, UTEP
    • OT: Ajani Cornelius, Oregon

    Defense

    • EDGE: Princely Umanmielen, Florida
    • DT: Yahya Black, Iowa
    • DT: Mekhi Wingo, LSU
    • EDGE: Elijah Roberts, SMU
    • LB: JD Bertrand, Notre Dame
    • LB: CJ Taylor, Vanderbilt
    • LB: Harold Perkins Jr., LSU
    • DB: Desmond Igbinosun, Rutgers
    • DB: Ridge Texada, North Texas
    • DB: Keonta Jenkins, Virginia Tech
    • DB: Davon Ferguson, Bowling Green
    • DB: Sebastian Castro, Iowa
    • FLEX: Gabe Jeudy-Lally, Tennessee

    Special Teams

    • K: Camden Wise, JMU
    • P: Grant Gonya, Charlotte
    • KR: Kendric Nowling, Eastern Michigan
    • PR: Dee Williams, Tennessee

    Week 7 College Football Team of the Week | Honorable Mention

    Offense

    • QB: Jason Bean, Kansas
    • RB: Kairee Robinson, San Jose State
    • RB: Marcus Carroll, Georgia State
    • WR: Talique Williams, Georgia State
    • WR: Troy Franklin, Oregon
    • WR: Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington
    • TE: Colston Loveland, Michigan
    • FLEX: LaJohntay Wester, FAU
    • OT: Will Jados, Miami (OH)
    • G: Kamaar Bell, FAU
    • C: Amani Trigg-Wright, UNLV
    • G: Clay Webb, Jacksonville State
    • OT: Tiger Shanks, UNLV

    Defense

    • EDGE: Caiden Woullard, Miami (OH)
    • DT: Rayyan Buell, Ohio
    • DT: Michael Mason, Coastal Carolina
    • EDGE: Brian Ugwu, Miami (OH)
    • LB: Tyren Dupree, Liberty
    • LB: Matt Salopek, Miami (OH)
    • LB: Jalen Green, JMU
    • DB: Benjamin Morrison, Notre Dame
    • DB: T.J. Tampa, Iowa State
    • DB: Rayuan Lane III, Navy
    • DB: Shavon Revel, ECU
    • DB: Charles Woods, SMU
    • FLEX: Maurice Westmoreland, UTEP

    Special Teams

    • K: Tyler Loop, Arizona
    • P: Kyle Ostendorp, Arizona
    • PR: Keon Coleman, Florida State

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