College Football's All-Week 1 First Team: Top Performers at Every Position

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2017

College Football's All-Week 1 First Team: Top Performers at Every Position

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    Only the best teams achieve major success in college football, but standout players emerge from all angled every week.

    Here, we've highlighted the best statistical performances from the recent slate of games. Wins and losses only factored into the choices when breaking a tie between deserving players.

    Competition level and clutch moments also impacted the selections. Special teams contributions were judged independently of an offensive or defensive role.

    The five games from college football's opening weekend—Stanford vs. Rice, for example—were not included.  


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    Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    First Team: Josh Rosen, UCLA

    Are you kidding me? No, really, how did that happen?

    Josh Rosen completed 19 of his 26 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns during the fourth quarter alone, propelling a jaw-dropping 34-point comeback in the final 20 minutes of the game. UCLA stunned Texas A&M 45-44 behind the 491-yard display from Rosen.


    Second Team: Drew Lock, Missouri

    Only one quarterback threw more than four touchdowns in Week 1. Drew Lock tossed seven.

    Missouri State isn't exactly top-tier competition, but the FCS program gave Missouri a legitimate scare. Lock helped the Tigers avoid any embarrassing defeat by leading 11 scoring drives and finishing with 521 yards in a 72-43 triumph.

Running Backs

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    First Team: Saquon Barkley, Penn State

    After an offseason full of Heisman Trophy hype and NFL draft attention, Saquon Barkley lived up to the billing in his 2017 debut.

    Penn State's superstar scampered for 172 yards on just 14 carries, running in touchdowns from three and 30 yards. He ripped off an 80-yard dash, too. Barkley chipped in three receptions for 54 yards while the Nittany Lions torched Akron 52-0.


    First Team: Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M

    Trayveon Williams gave the Aggies plenty of breathing room. It's not his fault the defense collapsed in a historic manner.

    After piling up 201 yards and two touchdowns in three quarters, Williams only received two carries during the closing frame. Texas A&M's collapse will overshadow his night, but Williams wasn't the problem. Nor was his and teammate, Keith Ford, who had 114 yards and three scores.


    Second Team: Royce Freeman, Oregon

    Is Oregon back? At least Royce Freeman is. The powerful runner amassed 200 total yards and four touchdowns while the Ducks cruised to a 77-21 dismissal of Southern Utah. "Royce was an incredible player last year," said quarterback Justin Herbert, per Tyson Alger of the Oregonian. "But what he did today was incredible."


    Second Team: Ronald Jones II, USC

    Western Michigan put up a superb fight, but Ronald Jones II fractured the Broncos' upset dreams. During the first half, he scored touchdowns of 16 and one yard(s). Then in the fourth quarter, Jones sprinted 37 yards to break a 28-28 tie. He totaled 159 yards.

Wide Receivers

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    First Team: Jaleel Scott, New Mexico State

    Highlighted by what should be one of the season's greatest catches, Jaleel Scott played admirably in a 37-31 loss to Arizona State.

    The senior wideout snagged eight passes for 149 yards, including touchdowns from 15 and 29 yards out. New Mexico State fell, but Scott earned a place on the national stage.


    First Team: A.J. Brown, Ole Miss

    It seems Shea Patterson has found his favorite target. A.J. Brown shredded South Alabama during a 47-27 Ole Miss victory.

    Patterson connected with Brown eight times for 233 yards and two touchdowns. He exploded for 71- and 77-yard scores on consecutive drives. Four of Brown's other six catches resulted in a first down.


    Second Team: J'Mon Moore, Missouri

    J'Mon Moore scored a pair of 50-yard touchdowns in Missouri's 72-point outburst, and his other two catches covered 35 and 52 yards. With 187 yards on the day, the senior extended his 100-yard streak to four games dating back to last season.


    Second Team: Gary Jennings, West Virginia

    Although West Virginia's comeback bid fell painfully short against Virginia Tech, Gary Jennings finished the season opener with 13 receptions. That's particularly impressive, given he mustered 10 catches in 11 appearances last year. Jennings had 189 yards and one touchdown in the 31-24 loss.

Tight Ends

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    First Team: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

    He lines up outside often enough to be considered a wide receiver, but Mark Andrews is still listed as a tight end. We won't argue.

    Baker Mayfield connected with his featured target seven times for 134 yards, both of which were team-best marks. Andrews showed off impressive elusiveness in the open field and also caught a five-yard score during Oklahoma's 56-7 triumph.


    Second Team: Adam Breneman, UMass

    The favorite for the Mackey Award might just be Adam Breneman. After opening the campaign with nine receptions and 179 yards against Hawaii, the senior once again reeled in nine passes. Breneman led UMass with 126 yards, though Coastal Carolina won 38-28.

Offensive Line

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    Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

    First Team: Army

    Not only did Army attempt just two passes, the Black Knights failed to complete both. Quite literally, every piece of offensive production in a 64-6 win over Fordham happened via the running game.

    Ahmad Bradshaw paced the team with 177 yards and two touchdowns, while Darnell Woolfolk scampered for 95 yards and a score. Eleven Army players tallied between 10 and 40 yards, and five of them scored one touchdown apiece.

    The offensive line dominated in such a significant way it rendered the passing game unnecessary, which is a wildly rare development.


    Second Team: Arizona

    With a nod to Oregon's nine-touchdown outburst on the ground in Willie Taggart's debut, Arizona rolled through Northern Arizona 62-24 thanks to the running game.

    Brandon Dawkins led the Wildcats with 92 yards and two touchdowns, and seven more players tallied at least 30 yards. Five others scored once, and Arizona notched 10.8 yards per carry. Dawkins also completed seven passes for 89 yards and one touchdown.

Defensive Ends

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    First Team: Dante Sawyer, South Carolina

    North Carolina State boasts a tremendous defensive line, but Dante Sawyer stole the show in the neutral-site clash.

    The senior collected a total of seven tackles with 1.5 for loss and one sack in South Carolina's 35-28 win. Sawyer forced two fumblesboth of which the Gamecocks recovered and turned into touchdownsand registered two quarterback hurries, per


    First Team: Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois

    Although Boston College managed to steal a 23-20 victory, Sutton Smith made the ACC program earn every inch.

    Smith, who arrived at Northern Illinois as a running back, racked up six tackles with a stunning five stops behind the line of scrimmage. He notched one sack in the narrow loss.


    Second Team: Anthony Winbush, Ball State

    Illinois must've been tired of seeing Anthony Winbush on Saturday afternoon. Ball State's standout rusher amassed a trio of career-high outputs with seven tackles, four stops for loss and three sacks, although the Cardinals fell 24-21.


    Second Team: Chase Winovich, Michigan

    Chase Winovich capped a dominant defensive performance in style. He forced a fumble that teammate Noah Furbush recovered in the end zone, lifting Michigan to the final margin in a 33-17 win against Florida. Winovich gathered four tackles and one hurry beyond the game-sealing sack-fumble, per Michigan's official site.

Defensive Tackles

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    First Team: Tashon Smallwood, Arizona State

    Arizona State certainly encountered some struggles on the defensive side of the ball, but Tashon Smallwood was a playmaker.

    In addition to disrupting a few other snaps, the senior lineman registered five tackles. Four of those stops, including two sacks, were behind the line of scrimmage, and Smallwood forced a fumble in the Sun Devils' 37-31 victory over New Mexico State.


    First Team: Daniel Wise, Kansas

    Kansas had little trouble pulling away from Southeast Missouri State thanks to a superb performance from the defense.

    Daniel Wise tallied five stops from his interior position, making three tackles for loss and one sack. He received credit for two quarterback hurries in the 38-16 win for the Jayhawks, per Kansas' official site.


    Second Team: Hercules Mata'afa, Washington State

    Hercules Mata'afa spent a solid portion of his night in the Montana backfield. Of his five tackles, he helped on four tackles for loss. Mata'afa notched 1.5 sacks and added two assisted stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also logged one hurry, per


    Second Team: Anthony Rush, UAB

    The UAB football program made its official return to the field, and Anthony Rush provided the lasting highlight. He tipped a pass to himself before rumbling 27 yards to the house, adding to what would become a 38-7 Blazers win. Rush also had a tackle for loss.

Outside Linebackers

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    Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

    First Team: Austin Paulhus, Nevada

    Nevada came up short against Northwestern, but Austin Paulhus put together an encouraging performance in the 31-20 loss.

    The senior linebacker gathered 15 tackles and 3.5 stops in the backfieldboth of which were career-high marks. Paulhus contributed on one sack and added one pass breakup, per Nevada's official site.


    First Team: Alex Briones, Central Michigan

    Central Michigan, which needed three overtimes to survive Rhode Island 30-27, received a huge performance from Alex Briones. He paced the Chippewas with 11 tackles (two for loss with one sack), a forced fumble and one of Central's six interceptions.

    "We had people flying around and making great plays," he said, per Andrew McDonald of Central Michigan Life. "Those interceptions were big as they kept us in the game. It set the tone for our defense and I'm really proud of our guys for going out there and creating turnovers."


    Second Team: Perry Young, Cincinnati

    Austin Peay gave Cincinnati a greater fight than expected, but the Bearcats managed a 26-14 victory in Luke Fickell's debut as head coach. Perry Young played a key role on defense. He posted 17 tackles with three stops for loss and one forced fumble.


    Second Team: Jeff Gemmell, Charlotte

    Charlotte lost by 17 points to Eastern Michigan, but Jeff Gemmell and Co. made it difficult for the Eagles to run the ball. He collected a career-best 14 tackles while the 49ers ceded just 3.1 yards per rushing attempt. Gemmell had two stops for loss and one sack.

Inside Linebacker

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    First Team: Josey Jewell, Iowa

    Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen has been touted as a high NFL draft pick. Josey Jewell and the Iowa defense wouldn't let Allen show that ability in Week 1.

    Jewell, who enters 2017 with consecutive seasons of 120-plus tackles, tallied 14 total stops. He notched 2.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage with two sacks and also broke up one pass, per


    Second Team: Tre Watson, Illinois

    Tre Watson accounted for two takeaways in Illinois' slim victory opposite Wimbush and Ball State. Watson picked up a fumble and returned it 34 yards, setting up the Illini's first touchdown of the game. He later intercepted a pass, ending the day with 12 tackles.


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    First Team: Denzel Ward, Ohio State

    In each of the last four years, the Buckeyes have celebrated at least one cornerback getting selected in the NFL draft. Denzel Ward has the talent to extend that streak.

    Ward broke up five passes in Ohio State's 49-21 victory over Big Ten foe Indiana, per the school's official site. And although he ceded one touchdown, Ward atoned for the mistake with an interceptionand four tackles.


    First Team: Jordan Wyatt, SMU

    SMU demolished Stephen F. Austin 58-14, and Jordan Wyatt did a little bit of everything along the way. He returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown, forced a fumble on a sack and recovered the ball in the end zone for another score and registered five tackles, including 2.5 for loss and one sack.

    "Jordan Wyatt picked up right where he left off," SMU head coach Chad Morris said, per Jacob Prothro of the Daily Campus. "I think he is one of the best players in college football."


    Second Team: Byron Murphy, Washington

    Byron Murphy consistently made appearances in offseason articles for his ballhawk mentality. And after one game, the reports appear to have been accurate. The redshirt freshman nabbed two interceptions and made one tackle in Washington's 30-14 victory on the road at Rutgers.


    Second Team: Chris Jackson, Marshall

    Marshall opened its season with a 31-26 against Miami (Ohio). Chris Jackson accomplished a unique feat and intercepted Gus Ragland, who threw just one in 179 attempts last season. Jackson returned the pick 72 yards to the house and added eight tackles and one pass breakup, per


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    First Team: Marvell Tell III, USC

    Marvell Tell III successfully shattered the Broncos' dreams.

    Tell recorded eight tackles and ran back an interception 37 yards for a touchdown to give USC an 18-point advantage with less than four minutes remaining. He chipped in one pass breakup (per the school's official site) as the Trojans held WMU to 94 passing yards.


    First Team: Malik Demby, New Mexico State

    Arizona State probably couldn't wait for the game to end. Only then could the offense finally stop seeing Malik Demby, who accumulated 5.5 tackles for loss and one sack among his seven total stops.

    "He had a really good preseason and went from safety down there to pass rush and his athleticism really gave them problems," teammate Dalton Herrington said, per Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News. "I hope that continues. He could have a huge year because we are going to lean on that [Money] package."


    Second Team: Malik Clements, Cincinnati

    Like his teammate Young, Malik Clements cleaned up the damage. The junior gathered a team-high 18 tackles to help Cincinnati avoid a stunning upset at the hands of Austin Peay.


    Second Team: Brody Hoying, Eastern Michigan

    Brody Hoying opened the scoring with a 35-yard pick-six in Eastern Michigan's 24-7 victory over Charlotte. The EMU secondary ceded just 114 yards on 29 pass attempts, while Hoying finished the contest with six tackles and two pass breakups, per


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    First Team: Colton Lichtenberg, Boston College

    The 5'10" kicker stood tall in Boston College's 23-20 victory over Northern Illinois. Colton Lichtenberg drilled field goals from 42 and 35 yards during the first half before nailing a game-winning 37-yard kick with 2:17 remaining in the fourth quarter.


    Second Team: Quinn Nordin, Michigan

    Remember how Jim Harbaugh took criticism for a sleepover with a recruit? Well, the determined recruiting paid off. Quinn Nordin, in his first game as Michigan's kicker, buried a pair of 50-yard field goals, including a long of 55. He also connected from 25 and 30 yards. Nordin missed two late attempts, but his first four pushed Michigan ahead.


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    ODU coach Bobby Wilder had to be thrilled with Bailey Cate's punting.
    ODU coach Bobby Wilder had to be thrilled with Bailey Cate's punting.Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

    First Team: Bailey Cate, Old Dominion

    Among players who attempted at least four punts in Week 1, Bailey Cate's 50.8-yard average ranked third. The difference was he never had a touchback, and Old Dominion surrendered just two return yards. Cate deadened two punts inside the 10 as well.


    Second Team: Johnny Townsend, Florida

    Townsend ranked first in the above-mentioned category, tallying 54.7 yards per punt. Each of his attempts traveled at least 50 yards, and Townsend consistently flipped the field for a Florida squad that endured significant issues on offense.


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    First Team: Raymond Calais, Louisiana-Lafayette

    Southeastern Louisiana didn't learn quickly enough to kick away from Raymond Calais. In the first quarter alone, he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, ripping off 97- and 100-yard returns. Calais managed 32 yards on two other attempts.


    Second Team: Keion Davis, Marshall

    Keion Davis returned the opening kickoff 99 yards to the house, but he wasn't done there. The junior running back took another kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown in Marshall's 31-26 victory.


    All recruiting information via Scout. Stats from or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.


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