With Alabama dominating a favored Georgia team through the air and Baylor’s defense upsetting Oklahoma State, Championship week certainly brought us some surprises.
Starting with Baylor, their defense absolutely stymied what had been a decent Cowboys offense to that point and their offense did just enough to put the game away towards the end. Then, right after, Alabama’s wide receivers put on a clinic in what had been essentially the undisputed best defense in college football. The Crimson tide ended up largely cruising to a 41-24 victory. Meanwhile, Michigan, Utah and Pittsburgh all dominated in their games. Below are the prospects who stood out during Week 14 of college football.
WR Jameson Williams (Alabama)
Watching wide receivers or even running backs on television, it’s difficult to discern just how fast the players are actually running or how much faster they are than their opponents. Then there are players like Williams who make it incredibly easy to see. His 67-yard touchdown in the second quarter was the result of a broken coverage, but thanks to Williams’s speed he turned it into a touchdown, untouched. Then, because the Bulldogs were wary of his speed, he ate them up on screens and short passes. It was a seven-catch, 184-yard, two-touchdown day for Williams. On top of everything, he made some nasty plays when lined up as a gunner on punt coverage. I think we’re looking at a sure-fire first rounder, should the junior declare.
S Jalen Pitre (Baylor)
Although he didn’t come down with one of the four interceptions that Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders threw up, the senior safety was impactful throughout the game in various other ways. His tight coverage on third down in the first quarter led to a pass break up and a field goal try for the Cowboys. His best highlight was at the end of the game, on 3rd & GOAL from the two. With the quarterback on the move, Pitre kept his head on a swivel, located the receiver and prevented a potential touchdown pass. He finished with seven tackles, two passes defensed and two tackles for a loss.
LB Devin Lloyd (Utah)
Lloyd’s pick-six in the first quarter against Oregon broke that game completely wide open for the Utes and continued to add to his resume as one of the country’s top defensive prospects. The pick was something you’d expect from a safety or slot receiver, anticipating a quick throw on a whip route. Lloyd anticipated it, and used his quick acceleration to jump in front of it and take it to the house. Elsewhere in the game, his pursuit and sure tackling was omnipresent.
RB Jerome Ford (Cincinnati)
The emphasis this week is big plays, and Ford had the longest play of the weekend on a 79-yard scamper where he was able to show off his long speed and vision, as well as his very subtle change-of-direction skills. The Crimson Tide transfer also managed to put the game away in the third quarter, pressing the line, then choosing to bounce out and once again using his speed to go untouched. Ford is a big-play back, with the willingness to be a decent pass protector as well.