Week 1 of the college football season can sometimes be a bit of a red herring. Nerves, cupcake games, big stages and varying opportunities mean the best and worst players from the first week might not actually indicate who will be playing well for the rest of the season. First impressions are everything, sure, but we still got a few months left of this thing. Week 2 is more when a picture starts to come into focus about some of college football’s top prospects. We can reset our sites after week one and figure who are the players worth watching this week.
Thayer Munford, OL, Ohio State v. Oregon (12 PM ET on Fox)
Thayer Munford is one of college football’s most experienced and dependable tackles. Ohio State will need to block well against a tough Oregon defensive front, so look for Munford to have a strong game to keep OSU from the upset.
Theo Jackson, DB, Tennessee v. Pittsburgh (12 PM ET on ESPN)
Theo Jackson is a versatile defender who can move around for the Vols and make big plays due to his football intelligence and physicality. He had a huge game last week against BGSU where he made 11 tackles and three PDs. He will need to follow it up against a tougher Pitt team. Jackson is a senior defender who can make a big name for himself this season.
Kaiir Elam, DB, Florida v. USF (1 PM ET on ABC)
Next in line for Florida’s defensive back factory, Kaiir Elam is a long, athletic cover cornerback with extremely high upside. Nephew of former first round pick, Matt Elam, and son of former NFL veteran Abe Elam; Kairr Elam has NFL running through his veins. Against USF, Kairr has a great chance to keep filling out his already impressive resume.
Leon O’Neal, DB, Texas A&M v. Colorado (3:30 PM ET on Fox)
Leon O’Neal is another defensive back who had a great game last week. The senior defender had two picks against Kent State, taking one to the house. This week, The Aggies have stiffer competition in Colorado and O’Neal needs to carry over that playmaking to keep the Buffs at bay.
Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State v. Iowa (4:30 PM ET on ABC)
ISU’s match with Iowa is the headliner of the weekend with the in-state rivals both being ranked in the top ten. Breece Hall is the engine of the Cyclone offense, using a dangerous blend of size and agility. He will see the ball a lot against Iowa, which means plenty of chances to perform on one of the biggest stages he’ll stand on this season.
Bubba Bolden, DB, Miami v. Appalachian State (7 PM ET on ESPNU)
Bubba Bolden is one of the top safeties in the country and a cornerstone of the Miami defense. Unfortunately, the Canes got embarrassed by Alabama last week and Bolden was not exempt from what put them in that position. Now, Appalachian State is far from a pushover but they are also far from Alabama. This could be a great chance for Bolden and the Canes to get back on track with a strong game.
Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas v. Texas (7 PM ET on ESPN)
As far as productive, talented receivers in the SEC go, you would think Treylon Burks would get a lot more hype. Unfortunately Arkansas hasn’t been a hype-worthy team for a moment and Burks loses the spotlight because of it. However, big playmaker has a bigger chance against Texas to introduce himself to the unknowing households of the nation. Burks is one of the best receivers in the country and maybe folks will talk about that after a strong game.
Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan v. Washington (8 PM ET on ABC)
Michigan has been churning out defensive linemen the last few years and Aidan Hutchinson is next in line. The long, strong and physical defender can make offensive linemen’s lives hell for every down. He is a solid, well rounded defender and he could have a field day against a wounded Washington team.
Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah v. BYU (10:15 PM ET on ESPN)
Devin Lloyd has been productive for the Utes in the last few years. The senior linebacker can defend the run, drop into coverage and blitz effectively. Last game he somewhat of a statistical triple crown with a sack, a forced fumble and an interception. He is a three down defender and will show up big in Utah’s rivalry game with BYU.
Drake Jackson, Edge, USC v. Stanford (10:30 PM ET on Fox)
It has been a while since USC had a top notch defensive prospect, but Drake Jackson could be changing that this year. He certainly has the talent to do so. Against Stanford, his run defense will be tested as much as his ability to rush the passer. Here is where Jackson can establish himself after he flew under the radar last season.