2021 College Football Week 1 Top Performers
Updated: Sep 11, 2021
So many games, so many standouts.
After a colossal week 1 of college football, one would imagine the task of finding top individual performers would be a difficult one. In actuality, this was seemingly an easier task to do than it was in week 0. We had one quarterback dazzled in his debut as a starter, while another broke a school record in his first game on a new team. This was also a week of heartbreak for teams such as LSU and Washington. For one particular team, the heart and soul of their squad may have played his last game, not without giving all he could. This was only one week of the 2021 college football season, and it is only going to get better.
1. Bryce Young - Quarterback - Alabama
Stats vs. Miami: 27-38, 344 passing yards, four touchdowns, 71.1 completion%
When watching Bryce Young on this day against a tough Miami Hurricanes team, it was easy to forget that it was his first ever start as Alabama's quarterback. In essence, Young played like a veteran who was unphazed by the moment. He was aggressive, accurate, and gave the Hurricanes defense problems from their first offensive series. He ended the game setting the school record for passing yards in a debut as a starter with 344 yards, while completing over 71% of his passes. Included in his highlight package was an impressive 94-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jameson Williams. Nick Saban has seemingly found himself yet another gem at quarterback, and perhaps one that can help take his team to yet another National Championship.
2. Bailey Zappe - Quarterback - Western Kentucky
Stats vs. UT-Martin: 28-35, 424 passing yards, seven touchdowns, 80.0 completion%
At this point, we should all get used to the idea that Bailey Zappe is capable of putting up video game-type numbers at any given time. Last season with Houston Baptist, he averaged over 458 passing yards per game, including an incredible 567-yard performance against Texas Tech in September 2020. In this game against UT-Martin, Zappe picked right where he left off, completing 28 passes for 424 yards, and set the program record for touchdowns in a game with a seven. All this in his first game as a Hilltopper. Regardless of the competition in front of him, Zappe has gained a reputation as one of the elite passing quarterbacks in college football.
3. Kenneth Walker III - Running Back - Michigan State
Stats vs. Northwestern: 23 carries, 264 rushing yards, four touchdowns
No running back rushed for more yards in the first two weeks of the season, than Kenneth Walker III did in the Spartans victory over Northwestern. When it came to gaining yards after contact, Walker III did it better than everyone else - 206 yards after contact. His performance sent a clear message that taking him down will be a difficult task, even if defensive units decide to stack the box against him. Walker III is for real and there are no signs he will be slowing down anytime soon.
4. Jack Coan - Quarterback - Notre Dame
Stats vs. Florida State: 26-35, 366 passing yards, four touchdowns, 74.3 completion%
Despite narrowly escaping Florida State with a victory, Jack Coan's debut as the Irish's starting quarterback was a resounding success, as he threw for the most yards ever in a season opener in school history. His surgical approach and ability to throw the ball with accuracy, was very much a well-needed change from the Ian Book era. Coan may not be the most mobile quarterback, but his efficiency makes up for it. From what we saw, he is only going to make the Irish offense more potent than they already are going forward.
5. Mohamed Ibrahim - Running back - Minnesota
Stats vs. Ohio State: 30 carries, 163 rushing yards, two touchdowns, 5.4 yards/carry
If what we saw was Mohamed Ibrahim's last performance in a Minnesota Gophers uniform, he did so, leaving it all on the line. Against the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes, Ibrahim was sensational, as he literally carried the Gophers offense on his back, giving them a chance at a big upset. Instead, he left late in the third quarter with a serious leg injury. His performance should serve as an inspiration to the Gophers this season, as he was willing to do whatever it took to help his team win.
6. Zachary Carter - Linebacker - Florida
Stats vs. FAU: 4 tackles, three tackles for loss, three sacks, one forced fumble.
If you did not know who Linebacker Zachary Carter was prior to this week, we can assure you now know who he is. To say the least, no defender this week had a greater impact on defense than Carter did against Florida Atlantic. In addition to his three sacks, he forced a fumble, which was recovered by Gators teammate Gervon Dexter. It is this type of performance that should dramatically boost his NFL draft stock, and make him the type of player opposing teams should game plan around.
7. Kayshon Boutte - Receiver - LSU
Stats vs. UCLA - nine re : nine receptions, 148 receiving yards, three touchdowns, 16.4 yards/reception
Coach Orgeron and his LSU Tigers did not have the season debut they envisioned, as they fell to UCLA. One of the few bright spots was the play of sophomore receiver. If anything, Boutte was the best receiver on the field in that game, as he finished with three touchdowns while averaging 16.4 yards per reception. It is clear that the Tigers have tons of work to do on their defensive unit; meanwhile, their offense is capable of posting big numbers and giving their team a chance to win. If Boutte Continues to produce numbers like he did against the Bruins, he could find himself among the top players in the nation at his position.
Kyle Hamilton - Safety, Notre Dame | Desmond Ridder - Quarterback, Cincinnati | Mataeo Durant - Running back, Duke | Nakobe Dean - Linebacker, Georgia | Riley Moss - Cornerback Iowa | Bijan Robinson - Running back, Texas | Chris Olave - Ohio State, Wide Receiver | Max Johnson - Quarterback, LSU | Dorian Thompson-Robinson - Quarterback, UCLA | Dillon Gabriel - Quarterback, USF | Shemar Turner - Defensive line, Texas A&M