For some teams, being ranked at the top of the polls did not prove too much for them. Georgia, Cincinnati, and Oklahoma held serve. However, that wasn’t the case for Iowa as they had no answers for a Purdue team that dominated them. The loss opened up a spot for Alabama to get back in the playoff picture after a bounce back win against Mississippi State. With three teams in the Big 10 East just outside the top four and another in the top ten, it will be fun to see who emerges as the best on that side of the conference. Oklahoma State remained undefeated and are on a collision course with Oklahoma for the top spot in the Big 12.
I want to focus on a few players from the past week who stood out to me, especially those who should be draft eligible at the end of the season.
Sam Howell, QB - UNC
Without Dyami Brown, Javonte Williams, and Michael Carter, Sam Howell had a shaky start to the season. Since then, he has played at a high level for the Tar Heels. In a hard-fought win against Miami, Howell went 17 of 26 for only 154 yards, but two touchdowns to one interception. What was impressive is he added another 98 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Howell is showing that after losing those elite weapons, he can be a productive and effective quarterback. I’d like to see him improve his decision making to reduce turnovers and play with a little more poise.
David Bell, WR – Purdue
Purdue went on the road and took down Iowa, the second-ranked team in the country. It would not have happened without a career day from wide receiver David Bell. The junior snagged 11 catches for a personal best 240 yards and a touchdown. Bell fits the bill as a possession receiver who may not have blazing speed, but runs routes well and has good hands.
Jelani Woods, TE – UVA
I could’ve highlighted Jelani Woods a few weeks ago because the tight end had been one of Brennan Armstrong’s favorite weapons. At 6’7”, 275lbs, Woods is a mountain of the man who, at the very least, should be an outstanding redzone target. His size does not limit him athletically as he often lines up out wide at receiver. Blocking is a question for him, but he definitely has the physical attributes to do it. Against Duke, Woods hauled in five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Micah McFadden, LB – Indiana
So far, Indiana has not lived up to expectations after an impressive 2020 season. That isn’t because of Micah McFadden. The senior linebacker has been a consistent force for the Hoosiers’ defense. McFadden recorded 9 tackles, 2.5 for a loss, and 1.5 sacks against Michigan State. McFadden may not have elite athletic traits, but he makes up for that with instincts and rarely ever being out of position to make a play.
Indiana LB Micah McFadden with a great game today. 9 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 PBU. 6'2"/232lbs. pic.twitter.com/cFYVbSsfr7— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) October 16, 2021
Jordan Battle, S – Alabama
Alabama always has an abundance of talent, making it difficult to evaluate some prospects. Jordan Battle absolutely stood out in the Crimson Tide’s bounce back win against Mississippi State. Not only did make seven tackles, he also made two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. The junior displays range in deep coverage, but I’d like to see how well he plays in run support or man coverage.
Jordan Battle with a Pick-6 pic.twitter.com/xvk0NpmclR— Alabama DieHards (@DiehardsAlabama) October 16, 2021
Jason Taylor II, CB – Oklahoma State
It might come as a surprise that Oklahoma State is undefeated, but watch their defense play and you see why that’s the case. One of the standouts on that defense is Jason Taylor II. The cornerback scored the first touchdown for the Cowboys by jumping a route and returning the interception 85 yards. He added seven total tackles to go with that pick six. It appears he mostly plays zone for the Cowboys, so he might be a scheme fit in Washington. He also has special teams value as a kick returner and has a blocked kick on his resume.
Jason Taylor II : 7 tackles & a 85-yard pick 6 pic.twitter.com/8RrpYkqKkG— Lee Harvey (@AyeThatsLee) October 16, 2021
Feel free to add players in the comments that stood out to you this week and you think can help the team.