Week 7 College Football Team of the Week: Hendon Hooker Sparks Tennessee in Massive Victory (2023)

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The Week 7 College Football Team of the Week is here as the college football schedule was an absolute delight all weekend long. Week 7 was marked by high-octane offenses and top-25 showdowns and this list aims to award the top performers at every position from across the slate of games at each level against any competition.

Week 7 College Football Team of the Week | First Team

It’s important to note that the PFN Week 7 College Football Team of the Week awards players based on their impact in their respective games and is not necessarily based on total statistical output.

The strength of competition is accounted for, as is the situation — both time of the game and score. These individual awards are also solely based on a player’s ability on Saturday and do not look into their future stock or NFL draft prospects.

Quarterback: Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

The Game of the Year happened in Knoxville on Saturday as Hendon Hooker led the charge for the Volunteers. Hooker threw all over an Alabama defense for 385 yards and five touchdowns, adding in another 56 yards on the ground. It was his efforts late. However, that really earned him his spot here.

With just 15 seconds on the clock and the ball at his own 12-yard line, it was Hooker who completed two throws to move the ball into field-goal range for his kicker with the greatest of ease.

Hooker made two big throws on the quick scoring drive that showcased his maturity, poise, and composure, among other facets that he really showed off on a national stage.

It was a Heisman Trophy-worthy moment for Hooker as he pushed the Vols to 6-0, who now have an inside track for the SEC Championship.

Running Back: Blake Watson, Old Dominion

Quite literally running wild on the opposition, Blake Watson totaled a whopping 256 yards on just 18 carries against Coastal Carolina. Previously unbeaten, Coastal’s defense had been terrific against the run this year. That didn’t matter for Watson as he got stronger as the game continued.

In fact, he had touchdown runs of 25, 58, and 67 yards — each progressively further into the game as he wore down the Chants’ defense. Watson was on another level on Saturday.

Running Back: Donovan Edwards/Blake Corum, Michigan

Giving credit where credit is due is a shared task at times. Especially when both running backs in Maize and Blue toppled the 160-yard mark, each scored two touchdowns and had long touchdown runs of over 60 yards.

Against a previously high-ranked run defense from Penn State, Donovan Edwards and Blake Corum combined to run for 339 yards and four touchdowns. Edwards hit a home run with a 67-yard touchdown run that spurned the runaway victory, finishing with 16 carries for 173 yards, while Corum was the efficient workhorse of the duo, running 28 times for 166 yards.

Together, this duo pushed Michigan in front in the second half and never relinquished their hold on the Nittany Lions.

Wide Receiver: Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

There isn’t much more to say about Jalin Hyatt’s five-touchdown performance against Alabama. The offensive scheme was terrific to get Hyatt open as many times as he was but let’s get one thing straight: the offense wasschemed for Hyatt’s skill set.

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As good as the scheme may have been, the athlete had to be better, and that’s what Hyatt was on Saturday.

In a dominant showing, Hyatt shattered records with his 207-yard day that included five touchdowns. He made mincemeat of the Alabama secondary in a game we won’t soon forget.

Wide Receiver: Tyrone Howell, UL-Monroe

It wasn’t quite in a winning effort, but Tyrone Howell put the Sun Belt on notice. Buoyed by his ridiculous 83-yard touchdown in the waning stages, Howell finished the day with 244 receiving yards and three touchdowns against South Alabama.

The big man was a big play waiting to happen against a decent Jaguars defense against the pass. Howell finished with nine receptions for 244 yards and three scores. His scores were game-changing plays of 25, 75, and 83 yards.

Wide Receiver: Trey Palmer, Nebraska

Another receiver dominating in a losing effort, Trey Palmer wowed anyone in attendance. The Nebraska receiver went for 237 yards and two touchdowns, finding his way to the open holes in Purdue’s defense with shifty route-running. It was his double moves on the outside that kept Nebraska in it and ultimately gave the Cornhuskers a chance to win the game.

Palmer is a threat with the ball in his hands as the 6’1″, 190-pound receiver showcased that on multiple occasions against the Boilermakers. He has size, speed, and a full route tree that he works the field with.

Tight End: Dalton Kincaid, Utah

What a game it was between Utah and USC, and what a performance it was for Dalton Kincaid. Now known as Dalton HIMcaid, the Utah tight end finished a dominant outing with 16 receptions, 234 yards, and a touchdown.

HIMcaid was completely unstoppable for Utah, winning at every level while showcasing his after-the-catch abilities on seemingly every reception. It was HIMcaid’s sideline grab that sparked the Utah offense as he came away with one of the catches of the day in the process.

Flex: Dequan Finn, Toledo

Putting up video-game numbers, Dequan Finn accounted for seven total touchdowns against Kent State on Saturday. Despite spotting Kent State a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, it was Finn who led multiple scoring drives and flashed elite talent in both his arm and legs to bring the Rockets back for a 52-31 victory.

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In total, Finn threw for 263 yards and six touchdowns while running another 14 times for 87 yards and a score. He connected on touchdown throws to four different receivers and was dialed in on every possession for Toledo.

Offensive Tackle: Joey Claybrook, Tulane

Winning the hearts of the Green Wave fans, Joey Claybrook paved the way for a big outing from the Tulane running backs. So dominant the day was for Claybrook that he cleared the second-level for Tyjae Spears in the second half so well that he celebrated a long touchdown run with Spears 60 yards from the end zone, knowing he would go the distance.

Claybrook was repeatedly spotted looking for work after beating his defenders at the first level. He was equally as sound in pass protection in an awesome outing against USF.

Guard: Beaux Limmer, Arkansas

The Arkansas Razorbacks ran hog wild over BYU on Saturday. Heading into Provo is no easy task, yet the Razorbacks totaled 644 yards of total offense against the Cougars.

Beaux Limmer and the offensive line dominated as they averaged 6.6 yards per rush on the ground and nearly 10 yards per pass attempt.

Limmer was solid in pass protection, but it was his movement in the run game that really helped pave the way. He was in on multiple huge rushing lanes and found success when he was able to move across the formation for Raheim Sanders and the running backs.

Center: Olusegun Oluwatimi, Michigan

Running wild on Penn State is one thing but paving the lanes that their running backs did was another. Michigan’s offense line — led by Olusegun Oluwatimi — was dominant at the point of contact and at the second level all afternoon long.

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Oluwatimi moved incredibly well and was routinely shown defeating his first-level defender and finding linebackers or safeties to defeat in the run game.

Guard: Zak Zinter, Michigan

Moving to his right, it was Zak Zinter who made more than a few highlight-reel plays for Michigan on Saturday. Zinter was seen in front of Edwards on his long touchdown, while Corum scored one of his touchdowns thanks to Zinter’s kick-out blocking.

It was a dominant effort from the entire Michigan offensive line, but Zinter and Oluwatimi deserved special praise for their efforts.

Offensive Tackle: Caleb Etienne, Oklahoma State

Though not quite in a winning effort, Caleb Etienne did everything he could to get the Oklahoma State Cowboys on the right side of their outing against TCU. Etienne was dominant on the left side for Oklahoma State, posturing up his pass-rushers in the passing game and winning multiple times in the run game.

Etienne thwarted multiple free rushers off the edge and on TCU’s stunts as he moved very well for a man his size. He was also active at both the first and second level in the ground game in a big-time showing.

EDGE: Gabe Jacas, Illinois

Moving like a seasoned veteran, Gabe Jacas has done nothing but impress in 2022. The true freshman had another dominant showing for the Fighting Illini, ripping his way through for a sack and five solo tackles against Minnesota.

Jacas, at 6’3″, 265 pounds, moves incredibly well and put those movement skills on display with his dip and rip sack against Tanner Morgan.

Jacas had several other plays where he broke through and forced errant throws or off-platform decisions from Minnesota quarterbacks as he, and the Illini defense, made life miserable for Minnesota on Saturday.

EDGE: Daniel Grzesiak, Utah State

Getting back on track with their first conference win, Utah State utilized a strong defensive effort to knock off Colorado State. Daniel Grzesiak is largely to thank for that strong defensive effort, as he consistently pushed the pocket against the Rams.

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Grzesiak ripped through for three sacks on the day, nearly matching his total sacks from last season. He won quickly and bent the edge, timing his best pass rushes for seemingly crucial downs. Grzesiak was on another level for the Aggies on Saturday.

Defensive Line: Ahkeem Mesidor, Miami (FL)

A monster in the middle, Ahkeem Mesidor crushed the Virginia Tech offensive line all game long for Miami. Mesidor led the Hurricanes with eight total tackles as his run-defense skills were on full display. Yet, he made the biggest impact on the pass rush.

Mesidor racked up 3.5 sacks on Grant Wells as he pushed the pocket and found his way to the quarterback with several highlight-reel sacks. He commanded double teams and thwarted those just as easily. Mesidor was on another level for the ‘Canes against the Hokies.

Defensive Line: Myles Murphy, Clemson

A thorn in FSU’s side all night long, Myles Murphy started hot and finished hotter for Clemson. Murphy brought down Jordan Travis for two sacks as he was on top of his pass-rushing game.

He also worked up and down the defensive line in run defense and made multiple tackles for loss on a talented running back room for FSU. In total, he had 3.5 tackles for loss, five solo tackles, and two sacks in a dominant outing.

Linebacker: Jacoby Windmon, Michigan State

Getting back on the right track, Michigan State notched its first conference win against Wisconsin. Jacoby Windmon was crucial in their overtime victory, as his edge presence has been on another level in 2022.

Windmon has been a revelation for the Spartans in 2022, and his presence off the edge has been crucial to their success as a defense.

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Against Wisconsin, he ripped through for two tackles for loss and 11 total tackles. He rushed Graham Mertz well and patrolled the flats even better. Michigan State doesn’t come away with a win if it weren’t for Windmon.

Linebacker: Demetrius Hardamon, Bowling Green

Spying Aveon Smith is no easy feat, as the Miami (OH) quarterback is dominant with his legs. Yet, Demetrius Hardamon and Darren Anders did such a feat very well on Saturday.

Hardamon had an ultra-impressive day as he racked up three total tackles for loss, including two sacks on Smith. He was sound in coverage when he dropped back against the RedHawks’ short-area passing attack.

In total, he was pivotal in helping the Falcons limit Miami to just 189 total yards of offense on Saturday.

Linebacker: Jaylan Ford, Texas

Big-time players make big-time plays, and that’s just what Jaylan Ford did for Texas against Iowa State. Ford led the Longhorns in total tackles with eight as he was everywhere on the field against the Cyclones. His run defense was sound as he patrolled the short area of the field and ran the alley with great success.

It was his play in coverage, however, that ultimately saved the day. Despite the early time frame, Ford’s end zone interception of Hunter Dekkers proved pivotal as it kept points off the board. He baited Dekkers with his eyes and tracked the quarterback beautifully, sinking into coverage in the end zone before nabbing an eventual game-winning interception.

Ford had a pick, eight total tackles, and a handful of motivational boosts in the process for Texas.

Cornerback: Zach Sanders, Ohio

The first of two Ohio Bobcats cornerbacks on the Team of the Week, Zach Sanders locked down the outside against Western Michigan. In a defense that needed a spark this season, Sanders ripped off Jack Salopek for two interceptions.

Sanders returned those for a total of 52 yards as he utilized his keen instincts to make the correct reads and jump multiple routes with plenty of open grass in front of him.

Sanders also was a threat when he blitzed from the slot and got home with a sack on Salopek. Sanders had four total tackles, a sack, and two interceptions in a big-time performance.

Cornerback: Torrie Cox Jr., Ohio

The second Ohio cornerback on our National Team of the Week, Torrie Cox Jr.also had two interceptions against Western Michigan. Cox was terrific in coverage, nabbing both interceptions because of his ball skills and vision on the quarterback’s eyes.

Cox kept everything in front of him in coverage and even peeled off his defender to make plays in coverage areas that weren’t his.

The Ohio defense got a big boost from both Cox and Sanders on Saturday, limiting WMU to just 14 points, the first time Ohio has held an opponent under 31 points this season.

Defensive Back: Anthony Wilson, Georgia Southern

Limiting the James Madison offense is no easy feat. Causing turnovers against the JMU offense is even more difficult. And that’s exactly what Georgia Southern did on Saturday. Thanks to a ferocious pass rush early on, the Eagles pulled off a big-time upset over JMU.

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Anthony Wilson and the secondary blanketed in coverage for most of the night as well, with Wilson grabbing one of the three interceptions off Todd Centeio. Wilson proved his worth on multiple occasions, finishing with 11 total tackles that included a sack, as he truly was all over the field for Georgia Southern.

Safety: AJ Finley, Ole Miss

Leading the team with four solo tackles and grabbing one of the game’s biggest plays highlights AJ Finely’s outing against Auburn. Finley snatched an interception off Robby Ashford early in the contest that ultimately helped Ole Miss run away with the game.

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He racked up eight total tackles to boot as he came downhill in run defense very well while also making his presence known in coverage more often than not.

Safety: Hudson Clark, Arkansas

Making multiple plays against a very talented BYU offense, Hudson Clark is right back at home in his safety position. Clark ripped off an interception of Jaren Hall with his great field vision, almost baiting Hall to throw it in the direction he did because he knew his speed and athleticism could carry him over to the ball.

Clark made another few plays in run defense where he stuffed the edge and kept BYU’s offense in long-distance situations. It was a promising performance for the rest of Clark’s season at Arkansas.

Flex: Grayson Cash, S, UAB

Showing his impressive range on more than one occasion, Grayson Cash was dominant for UAB on Saturday. Cash had two interceptions against Charlotte, including one where he crossed about 50 yards of total field coverage to make a toe-tapping sideline grab.

He finished the day with his two interceptions and had another tackle for loss in run defense that was just simply inspiring.

Kicker: Chase McGrath, Tennessee

Making amends for an earlier missed extra point, Chase McGrath kicked the game-winning 40-yard field goal for Tennessee as time expired. And yet, it was almost not to be for McGrath. If you look closely, McGrath actually left his stance a bit early, just slightly ahead of the snap, as if the nerves had overcome him.

With the game on the line, the slightest of mistakes didn’t quite cost him as he was able to knuckleball the kick over the uprights for three points, but it was oh-so-close. In total, McGrath finished with eight total points (5/6 extra points), but three of the season’s most influential points were made as time expired and Rocky Top began.

Punter: Lou Hedley, Miami (FL)

The Miami offense got rolling for a bit, but when they did get stymied, it was surely Lou Hedley that kept Virginia Tech out of scoring range.

Hedley booted it seven times against the Hokies, knocking four of them inside the Virginia Tech 20-yard line, coming close with another one.

Everyone’s favorite tattooed punter was on his A-game against Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Kick Returner: Quentin Redding, Minnesota

It was Quentin Redding’s second-half opening kickoff return that nearly changed the course of the game for the Gophers. Brought down at the 4-yard line, Redding bobbed and weaved his way through Illinois’ coverage unit to open the third quarter.

It was ultimately not to be after he was brought down just shy of the goal line, but the Minnesota offense was able to punch it in on the very next play.

Redding had 151 kick-return yards, almost more yards than the Minnesota offense was able to muster all game long (180).

Punt Returner: Caullin Lacy, South Alabama

He didn’t find the end zone on his punt returns, but it felt like Caullin Lacy was oh-so-close on multiple occasions. Lacy was elusive and shifty on his returns against UL-Monroe, giving South Alabama great field position every time he touched the ball. Lacy finished with 33 return yards on punts but a total of 103 return yards in the outing.

Week 7 College Football Team of the Week | Second Team

Offense

QB: Kyle Vantrease, Georgia Southern; John Rhys Plumlee, UCF
RB: Brad Roberts, Air Force
RB: Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
WR: Rome Odunze, Washington
WR: Amare Jones, Georgia Southern
WR: Charlie Jones, Purdue
TE: Mason Fairchild, Kansas
FLEX: Marion Lukes, Central Michigan
OT: Tylan Grable, UCF
G: Nick Broeker, Ole Miss
C: Andrew Raym, Oklahoma
G: Jonathan Adorno, North Carolina
OT: Asim Richards, North Carolina

Defense

EDGE: Ibrahim Kante, Buffalo
EDGE: Deeve Harris, Old Dominion
IDL: Denzel Lowry, Old Dominion
IDL: Judge Culpepper, Toledo
LB: DeAndre Square, Kentucky
LB: Cole Pearce, Ball State
LB: Josh Chandler-Semedo, Colorado
CB: Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State
CB: C.J. Coldon, Oklahoma
DB: Darius Thomas, Western Kentucky
S: Julius Wood, ECU
S: Bralen Trahan, Louisiana
FLEX: Chris Ojoh, New Mexico State

Special Teams

K: Joshua Karty, Stanford
P: Mike Rivers, Troy
KR: Amechi Uzodinma II, Ball State
PR: Jaylen Hall, Western Kentucky

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