Week 10 of college football featured a lot of highlights, lowlights, and downright head-scratching moments. Watching the slate of games Saturday, here is what I came away with.
- Jalen Milroe is well on his way to being an NFL draft prospect. It was unclear early in the year how Alabama would transition to the next era of quarterbacking. They’ve been quite blessed over the last seven years going from Jalen Hurts to Tua Tagovailoa to Mac Jones to Bryce Young. This year, Jalen Milroe was set to step up to the plate but early season struggles put his future in question and had Alabama looking at other options at passer. In hindsight, Milroe just needed reps and, after eight games, he is starting to look like the signal caller Alabama could hope for. Milroe has a nice build at 6’2” and 220 pounds, a big arm to stretch the field and hit tight windows, and great athleticism. Where he has improved over the season is working in the flow of the offense, making better and quicker decisions, and being on time with his throws. Factor in his use as a runner and Milroe is becoming a very nice player for the Crimson Tide. His dominant performance over LSU is a great indicator of what Alabama has in him. He rushed a career-high 20 times for 155 yards and four touchdowns, passed for 219 yards on only 23 attempts and didn’t turn the ball over once. It was a special game for an increasingly special player. Milroe still needs more reps, so the third year quarterback shouldn’t declare for the draft quite yet, but he could be a top prospect by next year with this rate of improvement.
- All this ends with Jim Harbaugh back in the NFL. The Michigan sign stealing scandal looks increasingly worse by the day and pressure is mounting on the Big 10 and NCAA to do something about it. While Michigan is being flippant and trying to lean in to playing the villain, it seems like some big punishment is down the pipeline. Ultimately, the responsibility falls on Harbaugh and I could see him leaving Michigan in some sort of agreement. Of course that means the NFL becomes wide open for him. I’d imagine the Bears and Raiders would love to fight it out for him.
- Do people really care that Caleb Williams cried after losing? Football is an emotional game. It takes a lot of heart to lay it all out on the field and that heart shows in different ways. USC suffered another disappointing loss during homecoming no less. Let’s not be ridiculous. Also, I’d cry too if I had to watch Alex Grinch’s defense one more time.
- The Axeman’s Son is special in his own way. Jeremiah Trotter Junior took over the game on Saturday to help Clemson upset Notre Dame. It was so cool watching the son of an Eagles legend play so incredibly well (it also made me feel old). One thing for sure is that Jeremiah Trotter Junior is a lot different of a player from his dad, and that’s a good thing. Senior was a 6’1”, 260 pound thumping linebacker. He would charge at the line of scrimmage and make life hell for running backs. He wasn’t a liability in coverage, but he was definitely a player of the old school. Jeremiah Trotter Junior, however, looks the part of a new age linebacker. He is one inch shorter and 30 pounds lighter than his dad. He is fast as hell from sideline to sideline and looks natural dropping into short zones and covering the middle of the field. He still has the fearlessness and physicality to attack the line of scrimmage, but his game is built around speed and instincts.
Offensive Player of the Week: Dillon Johnson, Running Back, Washington
The USC v. Washington showdown was set to be a battle between two of the nation’s best quarterbacks. The quarterbacks showed up, sure, but it was Dillon Johnson that stole the show. Johnson rushed for 256 yards at nearly 10 yards a carry while scoring four times. The 6’0”, 215 pound ball carrier shrugged off contact from hapless USC defenders before leaving them in the dust. His herculean rushing effort allowed Washington to control the game and win 52-42 to stay undefeated and in the hunt for a playoff spot. Johnson is a fourth year player and in his first season at UW after transferring from Mississippi State. While Michael Penix and the passing game have been the centerpiece of Washington’s offense, Johnson showing his dominance means the Huskies have a great change up to the way they can play. Johnson has rushed for over 680 yards this season and 10 scores.
Defensive Player of the Week: Jeremiah Trotter Junior, Linebacker, Clemson
Notre Dame thought Clemson would be a pushover and Jeremiah Trotter single handedly flipped the script on the Fighting Irish. The junior defender had 11 tackles, a pair of sacks, and a pick six that proved to be the difference in Clemson’s 31-23 upset. Trotter was all over the field and showed the multiple ways he can impact the game from the linebacker position. At 5-4, Clemson has not played up to their own standard and that has impacted the hype around Jeremiah Trotter Junior. If they can turn their season around, hopefully people will tune in to realize just how damn good number 54 is playing.