Championship Week has come and gone and the College Football Playoff is set with Michigan, Washington, Texas, and Alabama competing to be national champs. Did the Selection Committee get it right? Texas looked like they might be the best team in the country, but it seems wrong to leave out an unbeaten Power Five ACC champion in Florida State. Alabama’s lone loss was to Texas in Week 2, but they knocked off a Georgia team that had topped polls all season long. Could you really leave the Crimson Tide out? Could you put them in without Texas? All I know is I’m glad I’m not on the Selection Committee.
What I do know is the remaining teams should make for exciting matchups. Washington and Texas both have offenses that can put up points with big plays, but whose defense will show up and limit those plays? Michigan and Alabama have similar styles as ball-control offenses that are tough in the trenches, rely on the run game, and play solid defense. Which team will make enough plays pull out a win?
Hard to believe we are at the end of the college football season. For the folks who checked out the articles during the season, commented, mentioned players, a huge thanks. Your input and thoughts are what makes doing these articles fun and exciting. I’ll be back in a few weeks with previews of the major college football all-star games.
Below are just a few players who had good weeks and might be able to help improve the Commanders’ roster. Let me know what you think of these prospects and feel free to post players that stood out to you.
Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas
As a redshirt sophomore, I expect Ewers to return to school and boost his draft stock next season. However, a championship run by the Longhorns may change my expectations. Ewers struggled with consistency last year, but has improved greatly in that area. The deep throws are accurate, the decision making is better, and he fully grasps the offense. He completed 35 of 46 passes for 452 yards and four touchdowns to win the Big 12 Championship.
Every Quinn Ewers throw of 10+ air yards from the Big 12 Championship.— Shane Black (@shaneblack_) December 4, 2023
- 10/16, 190 YDS, 2 TD
- ADOT: 17.3 YDS
- 3 throwaways
Sark schemed it up, but Quinn executed. A lot of good third-read throws here. pic.twitter.com/CY9zPdyReW
Quinton Cooley, RB, Liberty
Liberty is the only undefeated team from the Group of Five this year. Quinton Cooley has been their primary runner out of the backfield the entire season. The junior transfer from Wake Forest has gone for over 1,300 yards by reading blocks and turning on the jets once he gets in the open field. Being only 5’7” probably helps him stay hidden before he hits the hole. He had 81 yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns as Liberty beat New Mexico State to become Conference USA Champs.
15 on the year now for Liberty’s Quinton Cooley!— Oliver Hodgkinson (@ojhodgkinson) December 2, 2023
Incredible season for the former Wake Forest running back
Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
A junior transfer from Georgia, Adonai Mitchell made a huge impact for Texas by giving them another dynamic playmaker at receiver to go with Xavier Worthy. At 6’4”, 196 lbs, Mitchell gives any QB a huge target. What I like about his game is he makes plays all over, even doing dirty work in the middle of the field. He had six catches for 109 yards and a TD.
Anthony Torres, TE, Toledo
He’s only a junior, so there is a strong possibility Anthony Torres will return to school. Even if he doesn’t, he looks like an NFL tight end. At 6’6”, 250 lbs, he’s got the size and he does a good job of adjusting to the ball and making tough catches in traffic. He’s not the most athletic prospect, but he can attack the seam and find spots in zone coverage. In the Rockets loss to Miami of Ohio, Torres had three catches for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington
Similar to Graham Barton from Duke, junior Troy Fautanu for the Huskies is a tackle that many think could kick inside to guard. He is an athletic tackle who stands 6’4” and 317 lbs and is adept at blocking in space, but strong enough to devastate defensive tackles in a phone booth. He’s a big reason Washington’s RB Dillon Johnson ran for 152 yards as the Huskies topped Oregon in the last Pac-12 Championship Game.
Good lord. Troy Fautanu eating all 330lbs of Taki Taimani on the goal line. UW trench play was stellar last night pic.twitter.com/dJhzab5hvf— connor (Deathrow KP) (@keithpricetrut1) December 2, 2023
Dallas Turner, DE, Alabama
I’ve held off on mentioning junior Dallas Turner because I think his best fit might be a 3-4 OLB. However, at 6-4, 252 lbs, Turner has the size to hold up on the edge of a 4-3. Turner has ideal traits as a pass rusher: excellent speed, power, and flexibility. He also shows excellent technique for a young player. His aggressive play has led to controversial hits, but those can be coached out of him. Turner had four tackles and a sack in the win over Georgia for the SEC title.
Alabama’s Dallas Turner with a vicious long arm pic.twitter.com/5W5flCdnwT— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) December 2, 2023
Tatum Bethune, LB, Florida State
With their top two QBs hurt, the defense carried Florida State to victory and an ACC Championship. Senior Tatum Bethune was a big part of that. The 6’1”, 230 lb linebacker made a huge play in the game, intercepting Louisville in the endzone when the Cardinals had a chance to take the lead. He plays with good instincts and, despite being a little tight in his movements, does a good job in man coverage. Bethune also has good hitting power. He had eight total tackles and a PBU to go along with his pick.
Mike Sainristil, CB, Michigan
Mike Sainristil does it all for the Wolverines. He started his career in Ann Arbor at receiver. Last season, he moved to cornerback. Normally their nickel CB, the senior moved outside against Ohio State to cover Marvin Harrison, Jr. when Michigan had an injury at cornerback. He often blitzes from the slot to make plays in the backfield. That’s exactly how he forced one of his two fumbles against Iowa. His tenacious competitiveness makes up for less than ideal size at 5’10”, 182 lbs. He had two tackles, both for loss including a strip sack, and another forced fumble, and a PBU in the Big 10 Championship Game
Enjoy Mike Sainristil while you can.— Due# (@JDue51) December 4, 2023
He’s stepped up in so many big games.
Perfect hit here to force a fumble and it keeps Iowa from scoring.
Kris Jenkins pounces for a pair of Buffs. pic.twitter.com/E0Ysuie9va
Sebastian Castro, S, Iowa
Tough loss for Iowa, but their defense was stout as usual. It held Michigan to 219 yards. Senior Sebastian Castro is an important part of the Hawkeyes defense. Although he is undersized at 5’10” and 205 lbs, Castro has no problem laying big hits on players. He is also adept at dropping and playing with good awareness in zone coverage. What might be Castro’s most important stat, from PFF: no TDs allowed in coverage. He had nine tackles and a pass breakup in the Big 10 Championship Game.
This play by Sebastian Castro is ridiculous. Castro, listed at 5-11 205, stops Braelon Allen, listed at 6-2 245, dead in his tracks. Honda Civic meets Ford F-150 and Honda wins. Wisconsin retained possession but Aaron Graves cleaned it up shortly thereafter. pic.twitter.com/31Hw0wPR99— Tyler Tachman (@Tyler_T15) October 15, 2023