An exciting weekend of college football is in the books and dozens of NFL Draft Prospects showed out in a big way in their season debuts. On the offensive side of the ball, it is hard to find a star that shines brighter than Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders. Defensively, few players wreaked havoc like UCLA’s Laiatu Latu on Saturday.
Colorado was always going to be a wildcard this season. With Deion Sanders taking over the program and putting the roster through a huge makeover, it was hard to know what to expect in year one of the Coach Prime Era. Well, if week one is any indicator, the Buffalos are going to be an exciting fixture in college football for the foreseeable future.
Leading the herd is their quarterback, Coach Sanders’ son, Shedeur Sanders. Sanders was a star in his two years at Jackson State, throwing for 70 touchdowns in two seasons while piling up awards. It was a question how the third year signal caller would adjust to the FBS level and he faced a big week one test in a TCU team that was in the National Championship last winter. Sanders responded to the challenge in a truly eye opening way, completing nearly 81% of his passes for 510 yards and four touchdowns. Not only was this a career high for Sanders, but a school record at Colorado.
In a barn burning 45-42 win, Sanders was under pressure on every drive to respond to a potent TCU offense and he delivered and delivered. Somehow more impressive is how he spread the ball around, with four of his receivers going over 100 yards and two catching eleven passes. He was calm, decisive, making big plays with his arms while avoiding turnovers.
The 2023 season might have the most talented spread of quarterbacks that college football has seen in a long time. Sanders is a newcomer to the conversation, but he looks to have the tools, the skills, and the talent around him to climb up the rankings and into NFL draft discussions.
Another Pac-12 player stood out in week one. UCLA edge defender Laiatua Latu was crucial in the team’s 27-13 win over Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers normally have a potent offense with Grayson McCall at the helm, but Latu’s three sacks and constant pressure made it impossible for CCU to much of anything on that side of the ball.
Laiatu Latu’s standout performance is hardly a surprise. He was the key playmaker for the Bruins last year, racking up 10.5 sacks in his first season with the team. He is a big, physical defender with a nonstop motor, putting every offensive tackle through a marathon to block him for four quarters. It looks like Latu only looks to build on his strong 2022 season and establish himself as one of the premier defenders in the country.