With week two of college football in the books, there is a lot to look back on in terms of individual performances. Week two definitely gave viewers a lot more exciting games and thus, great performances by individual players. While lots of prospects showed out on the big stage, one of the week's most dominant performances was happening in Dallas, Texas.
Courtland Sutton has been the go to guy at SMU for a while and the redshirt junior is off to a strong start to his season. Sutton eviscerated the North Texas defense, catching high passes for over 160 yards and a whopping four touchdowns. This brings his early season total to 10 catches for 185 yards and five touchdowns. Obviously it's a small sample size but scoring on 50% of your touches is pretty incredible.
North Texas had no answer for Sutton as he scored in a variety of ways. His first touchdown came on a short pass where he immediately broke a tackle and sprinted away from the entire defense. As a 6'4", 220 pound receiver; speed is not the thing you are expecting from Sutton. However, he has more than enough athletic ability to make defenses pay deep down the field. His next touchdown also showed off that speed as he was able to get behind the entire defense for a deep touchdown in the end zone. The quarterback actually under threw Sutton, but he was still able to come back and adjust to secure the catch. His next score was a contested grab where pulled one down over coverage at the edge of the end zone. So, in a night he showed off deep speed, yards after catch creativity and the ability to go over defenders to make a catch.
A lot of folks will point to the opponent being North Texas, but understand that Sutton is carrying this Southern Methodist team and his dominance will be directly correlated to their success for the rest of the season. Also, great prospects are supposed to truly dominate their competition, regardless of level, instead of just eking by with okay performances.
At this point in the season, there is still no clear cut top wide receiver in terms of consensus. This class is a little bit more of a question mark in that regard in relation to the last few classes. However, Courtland Sutton has the frame, athleticism and diverse skill set to make NFL teams drool over his potential as a number one wide receiver in the league.
Other Performances of Note:
- Royce Freeman, Running Back, Oregon: Royce Freeman carried the ball 29 times for over 150 yards and two scores for the Ducks in their win against Nebraska. After spending all of last year nursing injuries, Freeman looks close to his regular self. He showed off his power and impressive athletic ability for his size all game and while he did not break any huge runs, he consistently chipped away at Nebraska's defense to give Oregon a win.
- Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Edge Defender, Oklahoma: Oklahoma pulled off a huge upset on Saturday; beating Ohio State in Columbus. While Baker Mayfield deserves credit for the win, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo led a great defense effort to frustrate JT Barrett and limit the Buckeyes offense tremendously. Okoronkwo is somewhat of a hybrid player for the Sooners, playing a bit in coverage while also using the passer and stopping the run. On Saturday, Okoronko accounted for two sacks, one hurry and five total defensive stops (Per Pro Football Focus) to neuter the Buckeye offense. Okoronkwo is an intriguing player at 6'1", 240 pounds and it is yet to be scene if he is a edge defender or an off ball linebacker in the NFL, but his continued strong play with the Sooners is certainly fun to watch.
- Darius Phillips, Cornerback, Western Michigan: Western Michigan has had a tough schedule to start the season, playing USC and Michigan State back-to-back, losing both match ups. What they can take solace in is that their senior cornerback, Darius Philips continues to be their major playmaker. Philips is a good cornerback but he turns into a different player when he touches the ball. In 2016, Phillips returned three of his four interceptions for touchdowns and returned a kick and punt for a touchdown. In his first three years with Western Michigan, Philips has 10 combined return touchdowns between defense and special teams. This year is no different. On Saturday, Philips returned his second kick return touchdown of the season and had a 67 yard fumble return for a touchdown. If that isn't impressive enough accounting for both of his team's scores; Philips picked off a pass, his second interception of the season, forced a fumble, broke up three passes and had a tackle for a loss. Philips' ability to fill up the box score with video game numbers is insane and even as a smaller cornerback at 5'10" and 190 pounds, Philips should be getting some serious attention from NFL teams.