Week 1 of the college football season was a marathon, starting on Thursday and ending on Monday. In those five days of football, we saw plenty of fantastic performances.
Each week we will make our picks for the National, SEC and Freshman Players of the Week. There were no shortage of players who made their cases for this week’s spots.
National Player of the Week
DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State: Walker was an absolute beast on Monday night against Ole Miss. The Seminoles’ defensive end wreaked havoc on Ole Miss’ offensive line and quarterback Chad Kelly to the tune of 4.5 sacks. That’s a half-season’s worth of production for a good defensive end, and Walker did it in one game. His pressure, especially in the second half, was one of the reasons for the Noles’ 30-0 run that put them in the lead for good on the Rebels. Walker finished the game with six tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble in a dominant showing against a good Ole Miss squad.
SEC Player of the Week
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia: Chubb made his return from an ACL tear that ended his season in 2015 and made up for lost time quickly, rushing the ball 32 times for 222 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ win over North Carolina. Chubb reminded everyone of his talent and showed no rust or trepidation from his knee injury, attacking the line of scrimmage and running around, over and through defenders in a huge game. Georgia still has quarterback questions lingering after the first game, but with Chubb as the star and leader of the offense, it might not matter too much if there’s a quarterback controversy for a few more games.
Co-Freshman Players of the Week
Shane Buechele, QB, Texas and Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State: Yeah, we copped out on this one and made it a tie. Both quarterbacks put on a show in their first career games under center with Buechele leading Texas to an upset victory over Notre Dame and Francois leading the Seminoles to a comeback win over Ole Miss.
Buechele, who split time with Tyrone Swoopes, completed 16-of-26 passes for 280 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Irish in the overtime victory. Unlike many teams that used multiple quarterbacks in Week 1, Texas seems to have a defined plan for how to use both Swoopes and Buechele, and it worked tremendously against the Irish. Buechele is the far superior passer and showed off the arm talent in the opener; Swoopes stepped in as the rushing threat and red zone monster.
Francois did not split any time and put up video game numbers against the Ole Miss defense. Francois completed 33-of-52 passes for 419 yards and 2 touchdowns, leading the offense in an incredible second-half rally to beat Ole Miss by 11. Francois added 59 yards rushing and looked poised despite consistent pressure from the Ole Miss defensive front. As Florida State’s offensive line began figuring things out and its offense adapted to put Francois on the move a little more with rollouts, he got into a rhythm and diced up the Rebels secondary.
Buechele and Francois showed on Sunday and Monday nights that they are the present and future at quarterback for a pair of college football’s biggest programs.
Source: CBS Sports / College Football Players of the Week: DeMarcus Walker’s dominance earns honors