The Week 1 College Football Team of the Week embraced the chaos that was the first full weekend of action of the 2022 college football season. Like always, this list aims to award the top performers at every position from across the slate of games at each level against any competition.
It’s important to note that the PFN Week 1 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 Saturday and do not look into their future stock or NFL draft prospects.
Quarterback: Todd Centeio, James Madison
Ushering a new era of college football, Todd Centeio led the James Madison Dukes in their first game as a member of the FBS. Centeio, a Colorado State transfer, was incredibly impressive against Middle Tennessee State, leading multiple scoring drives and scoring 44 points in JMU’s debut game. In total, Centeio threw for six touchdowns and 287 yards while toting the rock 14 times for 110 yards on the ground.
Running back: Chase Brown, Illinois
It came in a close loss on Friday night, but Chase Brown was once again dominant for the Illinois Fighting Illini. Brown, the Illini’s bell cow, ran the ball 36 times and nearly hit 200 yards against Indiana. He kept Illinois in the game with multiple first-down carries and chipped in with his ability to block for Tommy DeVito and be a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield.
Running back: Anthony Grant, Nebraska
When the Nebraska Cornhuskers needed it most, they counted on Anthony Grant. Finishing the game with 23 carries for 189 yards and two touchdowns, Grant’s ability to create on his own was on full display. On multiple carries, Grant was met in the backfield by a defender who blew up the point of attack, yet it didn’t matter. Grant was elusive and displayed great speed and balance to weave his way for big run after big run against North Dakota, leading Nebraska to victory.
Wide receiver: Kris Thornton, JMU
The biggest benefactor of Centeio’s eruption from the pocket was JMU WR Kris Thornton. Hauling in 12 receptions for 155 yards, Thornton was on the receiving end of three Centeio touchdown passes. Thornton capitalized on favorable matchups and utilized his impressive route-running skills to create natural separation up and down the field against the Blue Raiders.
Wide receiver: Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State
In what could be considered an unknown new era for Iowa State football, Xavier Hutchinson helped ease Cyclones fans’ nerves with a terrific showing in Week 1. In Hunter Dekkers’ first start, Hutchinson was the most reliable target, hauling in eight receptions for 128 yards and three TDs. Hutchinson worked his way open all over the field and was dominant in doing so.
Wide receiver: Jacob Cowing, Arizona
Jacob Cowing was certainly one of the most sought-after players that hit the transfer portal this offseason. In Week 1, he showcased why as he continually worked his way into open passing lanes against what is a sound San Diego State secondary. Cowing finished the game with eight receptions, 152 yards, and three touchdowns, utilizing his routes and speed as well as his understanding of coverages to find the soft spots in the Aztecs’ defense.
Tight end: Brant Kuithe, Utah
Largely considered one of the top playmaking weapons at any position in college football, Brant Kuithe put his name on the national radar with his performance against Florida. Though it came in a loss to the Gators, Kuithe was his normal self, sprinting passed defenders, catching everything in his radius, and essentially being a mismatch for any kind of coverage defender. Kuithe finished with nine receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Flex: Drake Maye, North Carolina
One of the most improbable games anyone could imagine, North Carolina allowed 40 points in the fourth quarter and still won their game against App State. They can thank their freshman QB Drake Maye for that, as Maye was incredible against the Mountaineers. The Tar Heels needed every single one of his 353 passing yards and five total touchdowns to outlast App State as Maye continued his hot start to the season.
Offensive tackle: Broderick Jones, Georgia
The Georgia offensive line was downright dominant against Oregon, and Broderick Jones was the most impressive. On multiple occasions, Jones was planting defenders in the ground or looking for more work at the second level. It didn’t matter whether it was a run or a pass — Jones simply won the point of attack and commanded the line of scrimmage.
Guard: Clark Barrington, BYU
BYU has had one of the best offensive lines over the past few years, and Clark Barrington is back to ensure they keep that level of play up in 2022. Barrington moved incredibly well against USF, paving large lanes for Chris Brooks, Lopini Katoa, and the rushing attack while also maintaining that prowess in pass protection.
Center: Olusegun Oluwatimi, Michigan
Arguably the most impressive display of blocking from any one player came from Ann Arbor in Week 1. Olusegun Oluwatimi called the shots from the center of the Michigan offensive line and was incredibly effective on the move. The Virginia transfer proved his worth and why Wolverine fans should be optimistic for this unit’s dominance once again.
Guard: Trente Jones, Michigan
Also impressing on the Michigan offensive line was Trente Jones. If it wasn’t Oluwatimi planting defenders, Jones was certainly paving massive lanes for the Michigan rushing attack. Jones was also incredibly impressive with both his anchor in pass protection as well as his balance through contact.
Offensive tackle: Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State
One of the top draft prospect matchups of Week 1 came from Columbus when Paris Johnson Jr. met up with Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey. And on multiple occasions, it was Johnson who got the better of Foskey. At his best when he was on the move, Johnson’s first start at left tackle rounded into form in the second half as he paved the way on the go-ahead drive late in the game.
EDGE: John Morgan III, Pittsburgh
No defensive player had a bigger impact on his team than Pittsburgh’s John Morgan III did in Week 1. Playing in a rotational role to start the game, Morgan was forced into more action following an injury to Deslin Alexandre. As unfortunate as it was for Alexandre, Morgan rewarded Pitt with a ridiculous performance. He was a constant force in the backfield, recording multiple quarterback pressures, sacking JT Daniels, and notching three tackles for loss.
EDGE: Khari Coleman, Ole Miss
Khari Coleman led a stymying performance against Troy. Coleman recorded two sacks and had a handful of other impressive reps all over the field. He finished with five tackles for loss and eight total tackles as he flew up and down the line of scrimmage with a vengeance.
Defensive interior: Michael Hall, Ohio State
Emerging from the shadows of Ohio Stadium, Michael Hall impressed everyone in attendance on Saturday night. Hall recorded multiple tackles for loss and was a constant presence in the Notre Dame backfield. If Hall wasn’t changing the point of attack for running backs, he was pressuring Tyler Buchner into bad decisions or to flee the pocket for his life.
Defensive interior: Dom Peterson, Nevada
Not only is it exciting to watch Dom Peterson play football, but it’s also more and more impressive every single week. Despite playing against an offense whose goal is to get the ball out as quickly as possible, Peterson pushed the pocket even quicker. He recorded two sacks, recovered a fumble, and was unblockable against Texas State.
Linebacker: Jacoby Windmon, Michigan State
Rushing off the edge more than usual, Jacoby Windmon was unstoppable for Michigan State. Windmon utilized his speed and athleticism to get around or through the Western Michigan offensive linemen on a whopping four sacks. He patrolled the underneath lanes when he wasn’t rushing, taking away passing lanes over the middle and in the flats all the same. But it was his pass rushing that was the most impressive.
Linebacker: Max Tooley, BYU
Max Tooley’s awareness was on full display on Saturday night. After a 2.5-hour long weather delay in Tampa, the BYU Cougars started fast and didn’t look back. Tooley jumped an outbreaking route with tremendous read-and-react ability, essentially running the route for the targeted receiver and returning it 33 yards for a touchdown to increase BYU’s lead to 21-0 early in the first quarter. Tooley was impressive the rest of the way as well, totaling five tackles and making an impact at every level.
Linebacker: Jack Campbell, Iowa
A defensive slugfest against South Dakota State yielded some impressive film for Iowa LB Jack Campbell. Already on the list of top linebackers in the country, Campbell was ultra-impressive for the Hawkeyes, recording 11 total tackles as he was a constant force around the line of scrimmage. Campbell’s play in coverage was as good as it has ever been as South Dakota State’s offense ran through their tight ends over the middle of the field, and they couldn’t get their offense working due to Campbell.
Flex: Bentlee Sanders, Nevada
Nevada’s defense really came to work against Texas State. Bentlee Sanders capped an incredible overall performance with a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the third quarter, pushing the Wolf Pack’s lead to 38-7 in the process. Sanders was all over the field against the Texas State passing attack, recording two interceptions as well as two tackles for loss.
Cornerback: Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
Back on Thursday night, it was an impressive season-opening performance for Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. He recorded nearly a half-dozen pass breakups and almost had an interception. In total, Porter led the Nittany Lions in total tackles and was as dominant in coverage as we’ve seen from him in his illustrious career.
Cornerback: Chester Kimbrough, Michigan State
Calling Chester Kimbrough “Johnny on the Spot” wouldn’t be wrong after his performance against Western Michigan. With his keen instincts, Kimbrough was always in the right place at the right time for the Spartans, recording two fumble recoveries and a handful of other memorable plays.
Cornerback: Terry Roberts, Iowa
It didn’t matter whether it was against the run or the pass, Terry Roberts was dominant for Iowa on Saturday. A hard-nosed, gritty defensive performance from the Hawkeyes’ defensive back saw Roberts record four total tackles, most of which came at or around the line of scrimmage. He broke on plays that weren’t even in his coverage area, making multiple stops that cut South Dakota State drives short.
Safety: Jaydon Grant, Oregon State
A dominant first half all but gave Oregon State the win despite a late rally from Boise State. Jaydon Grant was a big reason for that stuffing defensive performance in the first half for the Beavers. Grant recorded an interception that gave Oregon State a short field they capitalized on. He also made a perfect tackle and knocked the ball loose from the Boise State running back at the goal line, keeping the Broncos from scoring points on a goal-to-go situation.
Safety: Christopher Smith, Georgia
The Georgia defenders didn’t quite have to do their best work against the Bo Nix-led Oregon Ducks. But Christopher Smith certainly stood out among his peers. As impressive as his interception was, Smith’s best play came on a throw over the middle of the field to Chase Cota. Despite a botched coverage assignment that allowed Cota to streak open up the seam, Smith laid a beautifully-timed hit on Cota that jarred what would’ve been a sure chunk gain loose for an incompletion. That play set the tone for the rest of the game for Georgia in a drubbing of the Ducks.
Kicker: John Hoyland, Wyoming
John Hoyland made amends for a missed field goal by kicking the game-winner in the second overtime for Wyoming against Tulsa. It was Hoyland’s 55-yard field goal that also pushed the Cowboys to within one possession midway through the fourth quarter as well. He was clutch when they needed him most, and Hoyland finished with eight made kicks, finishing 4 of 5 on field goals and a perfect 4 of 4 on extra point.
Punter: Tory Taylor, Iowa
Single-handedly winning Iowa the game, Tory Taylor put on a show with his leg on Saturday. Taylor was forced to punt 10 times against South Dakota State, reaching 479 punt yards in the process. However, he pinned the Jackrabbits back inside their own 20-yard line on seven punts and inside their own five on multiple occasions. Taylor’s best two punts actually led to such tight areas for South Dakota State that the Iowa defense scored two safeties.
Kick returner: Jimmy Horn Jr., USF
Sparking some life into the USF Bulls, Jimmy Horn Jr. took the opening kick of the second half against BYU for 89 yards and a touchdown. He was electric on special teams. And even with an unfortunate drop or two on the receiving end for USF, Horn flashed what had the Bulls coaching staff raving about his talent all offseason.
Punt returner: Gavin Holmes, Baylor
Gavin Holmes is going to be avoided after his performance against Albany to start the year. It was early in the first quarter when Holmes fielded an Albany punt at his own 28 and scampered and sprinted his way for a 72-yard touchdown. He almost broke another one as he totaled three returns for 96 yards on the day.
QB: Kurtis Rourke, Ohio | Mike Wright, Vanderbilt
RB: Christopher Brooks, BYU
RB: Sean Tucker, Syracuse
WR: Rashee Rice, SMU
WR: Braydon Johnson, Oklahoma State
WR: Zay Flowers, Boston College
TE: Brenton Strange, Penn State
Flex: Keylon Stokes, Tulsa
OT: Warren McClendon, Georgia
G: O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
C: John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota
G: Brandon Kipper, Oregon State
OT: Sataoa Laumea, Utah
EDGE: Nick Herbig, Wisconsin
EDGE: D’Anthony Jones, Houston
IDL: Brandon Brown, UTSA
IDL: Dante Stills, West Virginia
LB: Amari Burney, Florida
LB: Jerry Roberts, Arizona
LB: Anfernee Orji, Vanderbilt
CB: M.J. Devonshire, Pittsburgh
CB: Christian Izien, Rutgers
CB: Keonte Glinton, Wyoming
Flex: Trey Dean III, Florida
S: Angelo Grose, Michigan State
S: Calen Bullock, USC
K: Mitch Jeter, South Carolina
P: Adam Korsak, Rutgers
KR: Barion Brown, Kentucky
PR: Josh Sarratt, James Madison