College football Week 7 saw another slate of jam-packed action with incredible performances from players throughout the nation. Now, it’s time to crown some standout stars as our college football Week 6 players of the week.
Quarterback of the Week: Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
In the immediate aftermath of their stunning defeat to Tennessee, the first for 15 years at the hand of their rival, Alabama head coach Nick Saban told the media, “we didn’t answer the bell today.”
One player who answered the bell every single time that it tolled — like he has done in every game of what is turning out to be a magical season for the Volunteers — was Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, who earns Quarterback of the Week honors after another consummate display of college quarterbacking.
The numbers themselves are impressive. The ascending 2023 NFL Draft prospect completed 21 of 30 attempts for 385 yards and five touchdowns. The dual-threat magician also added 56 yards on the ground as he continues to manipulate even the best college football defenses as he sees fit.
The Tennessee QB drops the ball in the bucket with ease, throws passes in stride so his receivers can maximize after-the-catch opportunities, and is as accurate as any quarterback in the nation. It was all on show against Alabama.
“He played at an unbelievable level,” Tennessee head coach said of Hooker amidst scenes of celebratory chaos in Neyland Stadium. “He’s the key to our ignition.”
When you’re the pivotal component in a historic win for your program, Quarterback of the Week honors isn’t far behind. The Heisman Trophy could well be next for the Tennessee star.
Honorable mentions: Dequan Finn, Toledo: 16/22 passing for 263 yards and 6 touchdowns, 87 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown. Kyle Vantrease, Georgia Southern: 38/64 passing for 578 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Offensive Player of the Week: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
College football Week 7 saw some incredible offensive contributions. As you can see from the list of honorable mentions below, there were multiple players that easily would have earned Offensive Player of the Week consideration in any other week.
Yet, there was no one quite so dominant, no one who captured the imagination of the entire college football world, no one who turned that college football world on its head in Week 7 quite like Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt.
When people wondered about the validity of the Tennessee offense in the wake of the Cedric Tillman injury, it must have lit a fire under the true junior pass catcher. Reeling in six catches for a remarkable five touchdowns and 207 yards, Hyatt was unstoppable on Saturday afternoon.
He won with speed to take the top off the defense. He was combative at the catch point. Hyatt broke tackles and broke Alabama’s hearts. He set a program record for single-game touchdowns and celebrated afterward with Peyton Manning and cigars.
Honorable mentions: Blake Watson, RB, Old Dominion: 18 carries, 256 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns. Trey Palmer, WR, Nebraska: 7 receptions, 237, 2 touchdowns; Tyrone Howell, WR, UL-Monroe: 9 receptions, 244 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns. Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah: 16 receptions, 234 yards, 1 touchdown.
Defensive Player of the Week: Akheem Mesidor, DT, Miami (FL)
When you’re considering a player for Defensive Player of the Week, you want that performance to have left you thinking, “that man is a monster!” and there was a no bigger monster in college football Week 7 than Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle Akeem Mesidor.
The 6’3″, 280 pounds defensive lineman was a handful for a Virginia Tech offensive line that will now be having nightmares for at least the next week as a result of his dominance.
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The junior defensive monster, who could hear his name called in the 2023 NFL Draft next April, was a force in multiple facets of defense. Leading the team with eight tackles, he was disruptive behind the line of scrimmage with an eye-popping 3.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
While limiting Hokies quarterback Grant Wells’ time in the pocket, Mesidor also helped the Hurricanes to hold Virginia Tech under 100 rushing yards.
Honorable mentions: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson: 6 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss sacks, 2 sacks. Deeve Harris, EDGE, Old Dominion: 3 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 quarterback hurry; Sydney Brown, DB, Illinois: 5 tackles, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 interception.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Tanner Brown, K, Oklahoma State
Charlie McGrath’s game-winning 40-yard field goal that saw Tennessee topple Alabama (and Vols fans topple their own goalposts) feels like it should be good enough to earn him the Special Teams Player of the Week award for college football Week 7.
However, 40-yards shouldn’t be a difficult make, and the Tennessee kicker had shanked an extra point earlier in the game that will never be talked about again while he’s drinking for free in Knoxville.
Although he could only watch from the sideline as TCU won in overtime, Oklahoma State kicker Tanner Brown’s contributions were a large part of the Cowboys’ bid to bury their Big 12 rival.
During regulation time, Brown went three for three on field goals while nailing his four extra-point attempts. He was the only Oklahoma State scorer in the third quarter. In overtime, he nailed a 52-yard attempt to give the Cowboys an advantage that the defense would squander.
Honorable mentions: Charlie McGrath, K, Tennessee: Game-winning 40-yard field goal; Bryce Baringer, P, Michigan State: 5 punts, three inside the 20, 68-yard long.
Freshman Player of the Week: Tetairoa McMillan, WR, Arizona
The Arizona Wildcats have been the Pac-12’s whipping boys for several seasons, but there’s a different feel to their team this season. Jayden de Laura’s transfer has given them a legitimate injection of quarterback talent under center, and there are multiple supporting cast characters that are helping the team to be competitive.
One of those players ensured that, despite the defeat, they played Washington close and even threatened a late comeback.
Tetairoa McMillan earns Freshman Player of the Week honors for college football Week 7 after another impressive performance. The true freshman led the Wildcats with seven receptions, 132 receiving yards, and two touchdowns, averaging 18.9 yards per catch.
The Arizona wide receiver showcased after-the-catch speed, breaking a tackle and housing a 42-yard catch. Meanwhile, McMillan flashed his high school multi-sport athleticism with an above-the-rim end zone leaping catch that is the hallmark of basketball experience.
Honorable mentions: Quinshon Judkins, RB, Ole Miss: 25 carries, 139 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 receiving touchdown; Jovantae Barnes, RB, Oklahoma: 21 carries, 69 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns