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College Football Week 7: NFL Draft observations and players of the week

NCAA Football: Oregon at Washington Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Week seven of college football is in the books. With big upsets and exciting showdowns between ranked teams, it was a week for the ages. Here are some things that crossed my mind watching this weekend’s games.

  • It was bound to happen eventually with USC. The Trojans could only ride so high on their offense alone before a more physical team came along, punched them in the mouth, and embarrassed them on National TV. Caleb Williams had the worst game of his college career, throwing three interceptions while being sacked six times, and the USC defense couldn’t pick up the offense’s slack. One bad game should not define Williams’ NFL draft profile. If anything, this game illustrates how USC needs him to be perfect to win games more often than not and, usually, he is quite perfect. This was an impressive showing from a Notre Dame team that needed this win.
  • After a down 2023 class, this wide receiver group looks really, really good. College football has produced some excellent wide receivers over the last few years. *Deep breath* Justin Jefferson, AJ Brown, Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Deebo Samuel, Devonta Smith, CeeDee Lamb, Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Terry McLaurin, Tee Higgins, DK Metcalf Michael Pittman, Brandon Aiyuk, Amon-Ra St. Brown, George Pickens, Drake London and quite a few more impressive players all entered the league between 2019 and 2022. Last year’s class has some interesting early contributors like Zay Flowers and Puka Nacua, but it doesn’t really stack up to what we’ve grown accustomed too. This upcoming draft may get us back to the norm. All the headlines are rightfully about Marvin Harrison Jr. being the best wide receiver prospect since Julio Jones, but the group behind him is filled with talent.
    - His running mate at OSU Emeka Egbuka is fantastic in his own right.

    - Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson are carrying FSU’s passing game as the second best wide receiver duo in the country.

- Washington’s Rome Odunze is as big time a playmaker as any player in college football.

- Malik Nabers looks like the next great receiver to come out of LSU.

- Texas’s Xavier Worthy is going to run a 4.3 and go in the top 50 of the NFL draft.

- Players like Oregon’s Troy Franklin, South Carolina’s Xavier Legette, Michigan’s Roman Wilson and Arizona’s Jacob Cowing round out what looks like a really talented group.

Offensive Player of the Week: Michael Penix Jr., Quarterback, Washington

In what was undoubtably the most exciting game of the weekend, Michael Penix Jr. went blow for blow with Bo Nix and the Oregon offense to keep Washington undefeated on the year. Penix threw four touchdowns, including the go-ahead score where he hit a tight window deep down the field late in the game. There were questions regarding Penix’s ability to respond to adversity considering Washington had mostly been blowing teams out. This game was a convincing response to those questions. Penix should be a Heisman favorite at this point. Washington is 6-0, and he has thrown 20 touchdowns to only three interceptions. In what is shaping up to be a good quarterback class, Penix does things every week to stand out among a talented group.

Defensive Player of the Week: Jaylen Harrell, Edge Defender, Michigan

Jaylen Harrell has been a breakout pass rusher for the Wolverines this year. After only 3.5 sacks all season in 2022, Harrell has matched that number in only seven games so far. Two of those sacks came in Michigan’s dominant 52-7 win over Indiana and Harrell also chipped in a forced fumble, his second of the season. Harrell is a speedy, flexible pass rushing specialist who has become a key part of Michigan’s stifling defense. He will be a name to watch through the rest of the season.

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