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 8 team
|Quarterback||Luke Falk||Washington State|
|Running back||D'Onta Foreman||Texas|
|Running back||James Flanders||Tulsa|
|Wide receiver||Zay Jones||East Carolina|
|Wide receiver||Amara Darboh||Michigan|
|Tight end||Jordan Leggett||Clemson|
QB: Luke Falk | Washington State
Falk has quietly had an excellent season for a surprising Cougars team. His two biggest games in terms of yardage came in the first two weeks — Washington State’s only two losses, oddly enough — but he has been very consistently solid since then.
After very nearly clearing 400 yards in Week 8, he got over that barrier for the first time since Week 2 with a 415-yard day at Oregon State. The pro-style quarterback also threw for five touchdowns, while not throwing an interception in a narrow win over the Beavers.
RB: D’Onta Foreman | Texas
Week 9 was the week of the running back, making it exceptionally difficult to narrow it down to just two for this team. Eight runners eclipsed 200 yards, including Buffalo’s Jordan Johnson running for 282, Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway destroying Ole Miss and Penn State’s Saquon Barkley picking up 277 yards of offense.
But Foreman gets the ever-so-slight edge for the first spot because of how instrumental he was in the Longhorns upsetting then-No. 8 Baylor. The junior ran on the ground 32 times for 250 yards and found the end zone twice. Foreman has eclipsed 120 yards in each game this season, but Sunday’s performance was by far his biggest.
RB: James Flanders | Tulsa
It came in a much-lower-stakes setting than some of the others, but Flanders’ stat line made him a lock for the other of the two running back spots. The undersized senior put up one of the biggest performances of the season, combining an impressive 249 yards with five touchdowns. The yards were the 14th most in a game this season and the touchdown were only behind Kalen Ballage’s seven for Arizona State against Texas Tech.
WR: Zay Jones | East Carolina
With how many yards running backs cumulatively picked up in Week 9, it’s pretty understandable that it wasn’t a huge week for receivers. Still, Jones impressed in the Pirates’ blowout win over UConn not so much because of his yardage or scoring but his pure workload.
Of the 33 successful passes thrown by East Carolina, 19 ended up in the hands of Jones. Oh, and one of those were thrown by Jones himself, a two-yard touchdown on a reverse. He finished with 185 yards and a receiving touchdown.
The senior moved into second all-time in career receptions in the win. He has the four biggest games in terms of receptions in the nation this season, with his 19 on Saturday only trailing the 22 he had in Week 3 at South Carolina. His 355 career receptions are now 32 back of former teammate Justin Hardy for the record. At his pace, he should break it in the next two or three weeks.
WR: Amara Darboh | Michigan
Amara Darboh is really good at catching footballs. https://t.co/UGvPqQnnqU— Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) October 29, 2016
Darboh did not score any points against Michigan State, but it was highlight play after highlight play for the senior. The Idaho native caught eight passes for 165 yards, including a 43-yard snag with a ridiculous one-handed catch while his other arm was being held. Michigan State’s coverage on him wasn’t horrible, but there was simply nothing the Spartans could do when he was that locked in.
TE: Jordan Leggett | Clemson
After being largely absent from the offense with just one catch for nine yards through the Tigers’ first three games, Leggett has become one of Deshaun Watson’s go-to targets once again. In his last five games, Leggett has 19 grabs for 345 yards and four touchdowns.
No performance was bigger than Saturday’s primetime showdown at Florida State when he had five catches for 122 yards. The reception that truly earned him this spot was the final one, a 34-yard, go-ahead touchdown with just over two minutes remaining, complete with a Superman dive into the end zone.
K: Daniel Carlson | Auburn
Carlson has been as reliable as anyone in the country this year, with the one kick he has missed being a blocked 56-yarder in Week 6. He came up with 16 big points in Auburn’s 40-29 win at Ole Miss on Saturday by nailing all four of his field-goals and another four extra points. The field goals weren’t all chip shots, either, with distances of 45, 32, 30 and 47 yards.
|Defensive line||Derek Barnett||Tennessee|
|Defensive line||Jarron Jones||Notre Dame|
|Defensive line||DeMarcus Walker||Florida State|
|Linebacker||Shaquem Griffin||Central Florida|
|Safety||Josh Jones||NC State|
DL: Derek Barnett | Tennessee
As has been the theme in each of the games across Tennessee’s three-game losing streak, the loss certainly doesn’t fall on the junior’s shoulders. Not when he continued his assault on opposing offensive lines by picking up three sacks against South Carolina. He is now up to nine sacks on the season, which is tied for the national lead. Incredibly, 26 of his 29 career sacks have come in SEC play, including all nine this year.
DL: Jarron Jones | Notre Dame
It’s hard to be much more of a beast than Jones was in the Fighting Irish’s victory over Miami (Fla.). He set a national season high with six tackles for loss, including a sack. It is also worth noting to highlight just how dominant he was that all six of those tackles behind the line came solo. He picked up one more solo tackle past the line of scrimmage to finish with seven for the game.
DL: DeMarcus Walker | Florida State
Walker was a big reason why Florida State was minutes away from handing Clemson its first loss, applying excellent pressure throughout the evening. He made Watson feel his presence constantly, batting down two passes and ending the game with 10 tackles.
LB: Azeem Victor | Washington
The Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for Week 9 was tremendous in Washington’s big win against Utah. He did have two flags for taunting, but those were made up for by his 16 tackles, including one for loss and a big third-down stop late. Ten of his 16 tackles were solo.
LB: Jabrill Peppers | Michigan
In typical Peppers fashion, the difference between the box score and the impression one who watched the game comes away with was astronomical against Michigan State. His stats certainly weren’t bad — seven tackles and a fourth-down sack — but he was everywhere on the field Saturday. And by that, we mean he played just about every position. No matter where Jim Harbaugh plugged him in he excelled, including a touchdown as a wildcat quarterback.
LB: Shaquem Griffin | Central Florida
Griffin, who starts for the Knights despite having his left hand amputated as a child, was absolutely incredible in UCF’s near-upset at Houston. The redshirt junior finished with a line of 14 tackles, 12 of which were solo, 2.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception. He has 8.5 sacks, just 0.5 back of the national lead. Not bad at all for his first season of getting playing time on defense.
LB: Micah Kiser | Virginia
Virginia gave Louisville a major scare on Saturday, and Kiser was right in the middle of that. The Baltimore native had 14 tackles and two sacks. He did a solid job in the effort to contain Lamar Jackson about as much as a team can, as the Cavaliers only allowed him one big run and kept the passing game in check until the game-winning drive.
CB: Jaire Alexander | Louisville
On the other defense in the Louisville-Virginia game, Alexander came up big with his second multi-interception game of the season. They both came in big spots, too, with the first one being picked off at the Cardinals’ 5-yard line and the other setting up a go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter by being returned 25 yards to the Virginia 12.
S: Nate Gerry | Nebraska
Gerry came up with two interceptions as well to go along with his seven tackles and one pass breakup. His two picks happened on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter as he refused to let Wisconsin pull away. While Nebraska only got one field goal out of those two turnovers, that kick did end up sending it to overtime, where the Badgers prevailed.
S: Josh Jones | North Carolina State
The Wolfpack suffered a pretty bad loss at home to Boston College, but that shouldn’t stop Josh Jones from getting recognized for his great performance. The Walled Lake, Michigan, native picked off a pass that led to a touchdown and finished with 15 tackles.
CB: Josh Holsey | Auburn
Chad Kelly’s decision to keep throwing at Holsey was ill-advised, as the senior was not letting anything get past him. Holsey broke up five passes and intercepted one, returning it 47 yards to the 25-yard line. Ole Miss was driving down by four points with 7:30 left at that point, so Holsey’s takeaway and return were a giant momentum shift late in the game.
P: Michael Dickson | Texas
The second-year Texas punter was blasting the ball in the Longhorns’ upset of Baylor. Dickson punted six times for 316 yards, an average of 52.7 yards per kick. That was aided by a 63-yard boom, and he played a key role in allowing the Texas defense to do just enough to give Foreman and company the upset.