College football All-Week 7 team: The best players at each position
Each week, we’ll be taking a look at the All-American first team, with the assessment being for the body of work of that week alone. Because the contributions of offensive linemen are more big picture and difficult to gauge on a week-by-week basis, they will be excluded from this exercise.
ICYMI: The All-Week 6 team
|Running back||Jarvion Franklin||Western Michigan|
|Running back||Phillip Lindsay||Colorado|
|Wide receiver||Carlos Henderson||Louisiana Tech|
|Wide receiver||Dede Westbrook||Oklahoma|
|Tight end||Michael Roberts||Toledo|
|Kicker||Tyler Durbin||Ohio State|
QB: Baker Mayfield | Oklahoma
After a rather pedestrian start to the 2016 season by his standards, 2015 Baker Mayfield has graced us with his presence the last two weeks, and Oklahoma has looked much better as a result. He was excellent in a 38-17 win against Kansas State, accounting for 371 yards and four touchdowns. Perhaps most impressive was his 25-of-31 passing mark, his best percentage (80.6) since the middle of last season.
RB: Jarvion Franklin | Western Michigan
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) October 16, 2016
The former freshman phenom is back with a vengeance this season after a middling 2015 campaign. Western Michigan has been having a blast all year and is now up to No. 20 in the AP poll, and Franklin is one of the catalysts of that push. He lit up Akron for 281 rushing yards, gaining an impressive 8.5 yards per carry despite his longest rush being 54 yards, not the 80-plus one that usually accompanies an average like that.
RB: Phillip Lindsay | Colorado
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) October 16, 2016
Lindsay passed the 200-yard rushing barrier on Saturday as well, carrying the ball 26 times for 219 yards. He made his way into the end zone three times in the blowout win over Arizona State and also caught four passes for an additional 20 yards. Lindsay was yet to cross 100 yards in a game coming in, but he did that and then some.
WR: Carlos Henderson | Louisiana Tech
Week 7’s big winner on offense was Henderson, who went bonkers at Massachusetts. The junior caught 12 passes for, wait for it, 326 yards and, wait for it again, five touchdowns. It seems almost impossible for the same guy to light up a defense that many times, but the Minutemen had no solution for Henderson’s speed. He did it in a variety of ways, with three touchdowns over 40 yards and two inside the 10. Over the last two games, he has totaled 558 yards and eight touchdowns.
WR: Dede Westbrook | Oklahoma
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) October 15, 2016
Mayfield has found his favorite target, and it has resulted in some phenomenal numbers over the last few weeks. Despite not starting, the quarterback hooked up with Westbrook nine times for 184, scoring on three of them. One of those touchdowns was an 88-yard bomb late that officially sealed the Sooner victory.
TE: Michael Roberts | Toledo
Roberts was as reliable as they come in a winning effort against Bowling Green. He caught six passes, half of which ended up in the end zone. The Rockets needed those, too, as they had to rally to avoid a major upset at home against 1-6 Bowling Green.
K: Tyler Durbin | Ohio State
On a night where the Buckeye offense struggled throughout much of its primetime game at then-No. 8 Wisconsin, Durbin provided some much-needed reliability. The former walk-on connected on all three of his field-goal tries, as well as all three extra points. He provided all six points for Ohio State in the first half and nailed a 31-yarder to tie the game late in the fourth.
|Defensive line||Derek Barnett||Tennessee|
|Defensive line||Solomon Thomas||Stanford|
|Defensive line||Drew Bailey||Louisville|
|Linebacker||Auggie Sanchez||South Florida|
|Cornerback||Gareon Conley||Ohio State|
|Punter||Matt Haack||Arizona State|
DL: Derek Barnett | Tennessee
— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) October 15, 2016
Tennessee got trounced by Alabama, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying on Barnett's part. The junior could be ticketed for a first-team All-American spot once the season concludes, as he has been one of the top pass-rushers in the nation. He stretched his streak of games with a sack to four on Saturday via a strip-sack. He also intercepted a pass for the first time in his career and finished with two tackles for loss.
DL: Solomon Thomas | Stanford
Thomas took home his second Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week award of the season for an impressive outing against Notre Dame. The junior had a career-high 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks and forced a fumble in the red zone on the final play of the game to lift Stanford to a victory over Notre Dame.
DL: Drew Bailey | Louisville
The Duke offensive line couldn’t contain Bailey, who finished with 11 tackles, three of which came for a loss. The 11-tackle mark was the most for a Louisville lineman since Elvis Dumervil in 2005, and Bailey was a huge part of a wall of Cardinals that held Duke’s rushing game in major check.
LB: Jack Cichy | Wisconsin
Cichy was awesome in front of the primetime audience Saturday night, picking up 15 tackles, 11 of which were solo, 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Between Cichy and T.J. Watt, it’s easy to see why Wisconsin has the defense it does with those playmakers in the middle.
LB: Reuben Foster | Alabama
The Alabama defense was in near-peak form against Tennessee, and Foster was at the forefront. It wasn’t the world’s greatest stat line, with four tackles, a sack and a pass deflection, but he was in complete command of the middle of the field. The Volunteers were unable to get any rhythm going on offense as a result.
LB: Zach Cunningham | Vanderbilt
If a Georgia player came in Cunningham’s vicinity on Saturday, he was probably getting knocked down. The 6-foot-4 junior wowed with 19 tackles in the upset win, and he also broke up a pass for good measure. He received Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week honors in recognition of his big afternoon.
LB: Auggie Sanchez | South Florida
Sanchez had no problems penetrating UConn’s offensive line Saturday, as he dragged down the Huskie quarterback three times. That was part of his 11-tackle day, eight of which were solo stops.
CB: Gareon Conley | Ohio State
Any quarterback deciding to throw in the direction of Conley is doing so at his own peril this year. He was in lockdown mode on Saturday, intercepting one pass and breaking up another. That breakup was originally credited as an unbelievable one-handed interception, but a replay review determined that the ball briefly touched the ground, making it simply an incompletion. Still, it was a huge play to slow a potentially game-winning drive and send it to overtime.
S: Ronnie Harrison | Alabama
— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) October 15, 2016
You might find this hard to believe, but Alabama scored a defensive touchdown on Saturday. It’s just been silly how many defensive scores the top-ranked Tide have racked up this year, and Harrison continued that trend by jumping the route of a screen pass and waltzing into the end zone late in the first quarter. It was just great recognition by the sophomore, plain and simple.
S: Chase Hansen | Utah
Hansen was balling in the first half, heading into the tunnel with six tackles, an interception, a sack and two tackles for loss. His final line was similar, with only two second-half tackles adding to his day, but that was one of the best halves this season that he was able to put up in Utah’s low-scoring win at Oregon State.
CB: Ryan Reid | Baylor
Reid got injured against SMU the week before, but he looked more than healthy for the Bears on Saturday. The senior set the highest mark of interception return yards in the FBS this season with 116 on a pair of picks. He took a pass back 64 yards in the first quarter for a touchdown before grabbing another one a quarter later and returning it 52 yards.
P: Matt Haack | Arizona State
With Arizona State’s offense requiring his services 10 times at Colorado, Haack was one of the few bright spots. He boomed it for 521 total yards, an average of 52.1 yards per punt. That included a majestic 76-yarder. Six of his 10 punts traveled over 50 yards, and two were spotted inside the 20-yard line.