Updated: Oct 4
Football in the last decade has evolved in such a way that offensive players have taken center stage. Even with this change, defense remains the common denominator for championship teams in college football.
Since Week 0, we have seen a plethora of incredible individual offensive performances. Many of these players may someday be playing on Sundays in the NFL. What has not received enough attention has been the defensive standouts we have seen from week to week.
For this occasion, we will be focusing our Week 5 top performers solely on defensive players. We can safely say that the talent pool on defense is as deep as it has ever been.
Missouri Defensive Back Jaylon Carlies
Stats vs. Georgia: 13 tackles (11 solo), 2 tackles for loss
The Missouri Tigers came a quarter away from pulling off one of the biggest upsets in college football history, narrowly losing to the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Though this did not come to fruition, the Tigers' defense held the fort down as well as any team has done so this season. Junior defensive back Jaylon Carlies was the most impactful player on the Tigers' defense, as he led all defenders in total tackles and tackles for loss. Despite the loss, the Carlies' performance should bode well for the future, as they gained a lot of respect from college football fans.
Utah Cornerback Clark Phillips III
Stats vs. Oregon State: 3 tackles, 3 interceptions, touchdown
In a pivotal Pac-12 contest against Oregon State, Clark Phillips III was virtually a one-man no-fly zone. Every time he was tested, Phillips III came up with a big play, which made one wonder why they were going to his side, especially after he turned his second interception for a 57-yard touchdown. This sophomore sensation has the potential to become the top cornerback in the nation, as he continues to get better with each game he plays. If you didn't know about him before, he would be worth following this season.
TCU Linebacker Dee Winters
Stats vs. Oklahoma: 8 total tackles, 5 solo tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumbles
Let us get this out of the way: TCU's win over Oklahoma was no fluke; they were flat out better than them. This was certainly the case with Horned Frog senior linebacker, Dee Winters. He was a general on the field and gave the Sooner offense very little to work with. There is a reason why Winters was added to the preseason Butkus Award Watchlist. He is the type of player that can be depended on to produce at a high level as the Horned Frogs look to make waves in the Big 12 Conference this season.
Best Of The Rest
CB Emmanuel Forbes - Mississippi State
EDGE Barryn Sorrell - Texas
LB Max Tooley - LB BYU
DT Zaylin Wood - Middle Tennessee
LB Mohamoud Diabate - Utah
LB Dion Hunter - New Mexico
DE Felix Anudike - Kansas State
NT Keeanu Benton - Wisconsin
CB Joey Porter Jr. - Penn State
DT PJ Mustipher - Penn State
DE Colby Wooden - Auburn
DT Daymond Williams - Buffalo
S Christian Morgan - Baylor
EDGE Mike Morris - Michigan