This past week in college football, many of the top teams held serve. Tennessee continued their winning ways. Ohio State steamrolled Iowa. Michigan handled Penn State. Clemson barely escaped a previously unbeaten Syracuse team. Oregon took down UCLA, giving the Ducks an outside chance at the Playoff for now. TCU continued their winning ways to move a step closer to the Playoff.
This weekend presents some classic rivalries with Ohio State playing Penn State, Michigan taking on Michigan State, and Georgia versus Florida. Ranked on ranked matchups of Oklahoma State versus Kansas State and Tennessee versus Kentucky should be interesting.
Below is a list of players that stood out to me with their performances in Week 8. Let me know what you think, and feel free to add players that you think could help the Commanders.
Max Duggan, QB - TCU
Last year, I remember seeing Max Duggan play, scrambling to keep plays alive, breaking long runs, and doing whatever it takes to help TCU win. He immediately reminded me of Taylor Heinicke. He has taken steps forward in his senior season and is a big reason why the Horned Frogs are ranked in the top 10. The senior went 17 of 26 for 280 yards and three touchdowns against Kansas State. If dual-threat QB can remain consistent as a passer, he has upside as a potential starter at the next level.
Deneric Prince, RB - Tulsa
Senior Deneric Prince may not be the shiftiest runner, but he’s a big back with excellent burst that’s tough to tackle and has the ability to break off long runs. Against Temple, Prince had 20 rush attempts for 231 yards, a TD, and two catches for 29 yards and a touchdown.
Ali Jennings, WR – Old Dominion
If you had a wideout from Old Dominion leading the FBS in receiving yards, then please buy me a few lottery tickets. Ali Jennings transferred from West Virginia and has been productive for the Monarchs. The 6’2”, 196lbs, junior had nine catches for 130 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Georgia Southern. Jennings is faster than you might think and is really good at making catches in traffic.
Payne Durham, TE – Purdue
A big target at 6’5”, 255lbs, Payne Durham has reliable hands and loves to fight through contact. He had six catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in a win over Wisconsin. The touchdown gave him the second-most TDs for a tight end in Purdue history.
Matthew Bergeron, OT – Syracuse
Matthew Bergeron may not be high on the list of top draft prospects, but he has played well for the Orangemen. Despite being 6’5”, 322lbs, he moves very easily. Once he gets hands on a defender, they struggle to disengage. He’s hard to bull rush thanks to a good anchor. In the run game, he locates and neutralizes his target.
The good news is there are a lot of good OL in rd1 in 2023: Jaelyn Duncan, Peter Skoronski, Paris Johnson, Andrew Vorhees. I also really like Syracuse LT Matthew Bergeron. Mocked late 1st/early 2nd but should rise. Good feet, strong punch, grip strength, lateral agility #Bears pic.twitter.com/8GJYIhu7cE— Chicago Football Connection (@CFCBears) October 14, 2022
Karl Brooks, DL – Bowling Green
A defensive lineman that will likely not get a lot of attention leading up to the draft is Karl Brooks. Bowling Green isn’t a hotbed of NFL players, but the 6’4”, 300lbs, senior should contribute at the next level. Against Central Michigan, he had three sacks and a forced fumble. At his size, he appears very quick off the ball, quick enough that Bowling Green deploys him off the edge.
DEFENSE!!!— BG Football (@BG_Football) October 22, 2022
Karl Brooks' strip sack is picked up by Demetrius Hardamon who coasts 45 yards for a HUGE BG Touchdown.
9:49 | 4 QT pic.twitter.com/OaFaFPlgOV
Yasir Abdullah, LB – Louisville
Yasir Abdullah did a little bit of everything to help the Cardinals get a win over Pitt. The stat lined reflected Abdullah’s ability to drop in coverage and get into the backfield. The senior had seven total tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and an interception. The Commanders have to be thinking hard about the linebacker position in the offseason, especially if Cole Holcomb isn’t re-signed.
Yasir Abdullah snags the third interception of his career to stop a Pitt drive. pic.twitter.com/rE6kgEmaUH— Tyler Greever (@Tyler_Greever) October 23, 2022
Eli Ricks, CB – Alabama
Maybe it was injury, maybe it was difficulty picking up the scheme, but Eli Ricks got his first start for the Crimson Tide in a win over Mississippi State. The highly-touted junior transfer from LSU made the most of the start. He provided blanket coverage for most of the night and, even when he was out of position, he used every inch of his 6’2” frame to play through receivers to the tune of four PBUs.
Marcus Fuqua, S – Buffalo
Against Toledo, Marcus Fuqua was always around the ball. The junior was able to make four tackles and three interceptions. It’s clear that he has the ability to make plays on the ball. My question is whether he has the instincts and speed to play deep in the middle in the field.