Player of the Week Awards - Week 3

September 19, 2023 by Staff

(NOTE: In addition to numerous other awards,'s Dave Congrove is a season-end voter for these awards in this article: Ray Guy, Bednarik, Maxwell, Lou Groza, Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurski)

Shaun Alexander Award - Freshman Player of the Week

Florida safety Jordan Castell has been named the Shaun Alexander Award Freshman of the Week after leading the Gators to an upset over No. 11 Tennessee. In the 29-16 victory, Castell made 10 tackles and 1 pass break up. The safety’s pass deflection came on a deep shot in the third quarter from QB Joe Milton III on a second and 10 from their own 31. Castell contributed to a Gator defense that held a hard-nosed Tennessee ground game averaging 257.5 rushing yards per game to just 100 rushing yards on 30 carries. The safety was also the highest ranked defender for Florida, according to Pro Football Focus. The Gators now look ahead to welcome the Charlotte 49ers to The Swamp next week.

Week 2 - Anthony Hill, Jr., LB, Texas
Week 1 -
Dylan Edwards, RB, Colorado

Ray Guy Award - Punter of the Week

The Augusta Sports Council and the Ray Guy Award are proud to announce Tyler Perkins of Iowa State as the Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week for Week 3 games. Perkins was chosen from Ray's 8, announced Monday.

Perkins punted 5 times during the game against Ohio for a total of 219 yards. His gross average was 43.8 and his net average was 44 yards due to him having only one punt returned for -1 yards. Four of his punts ended up inside Ohio's 20-yard line and he had a long punt of 51 yards.

Week 2: James Burnip, Alabama
Week 1: Ryan Rehkow, BYU

Outland Trophy - Interior Lineman of the Week

Offensive tackle Joe Alt and Notre Dame earned another dominant win Saturday, besting Central Michigan, 41-17, as the Fighting Irish (4-0) rolled up 578 total yards. Alt helped pace a 236-yard ground effort and protected quarterback Sam Hartman well, allowing him to throw for 330 yards and three touchdowns. For creating the holes springing the FBS’s current rushing yardage leader, Alt earned the Outland Trophy National Player of the Week honor for games during the weekend of Sept. 16, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

Alt, a junior from North Oaks, Minn., and the line made way for 176 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Audric Estime, who gained 8.8 yards per carry in the game to become the FBS’ current rushing yardage leader at 521 yards. Estime set his career-high for yardage for a second consecutive game and it marked his third-consecutive 100-yard performance, one of just three FBS players to do so this season.

Alt and the offensive line didn't give up a sack, keeping Hartman in the pocket long enough to complete two touchdown passes of 75 or more yards. The line's success has kept Nottre Dame’s offense at historic heights. The Irish’s 184 points scored so far this season are the most in their first four games to start a season since 1914 and are the fourth-most in program history in that span. The 41-17 win also marked the first time in program history that the Irish have scored 40 or more points in five consecutive games, dating back to last season’s Gator Bowl win over South Carolina.

Alt earned Second Team All-America honors from the FWAA last season and was an FWAA Freshman All-American in 2021. Notre Dame has had three Outland Trophy winners in its history but only one in the last 75 seasons. Defensive end Ross Browner was the last in 1976, joining guard Bill Fischer in 1948 and tackle George Connor in 1946. Offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg was a finalist in 2020 as was guard Quenton Nelson in 2017.

Notre Dame has had an offensive lineman on the FWAA All-America first or second team in four of the last six seasons.

The Irish face their toughest test yet this Saturday hosting Ohio State at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Week 2: Anez Cooper, G, Miami (FL)
Week 1: Tanor Bortoloini, C, Wisconsin

Maxwell Award - Offensive Player of the Week

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has been named Maxwell Award Player of the Week after leading No. 8 Washington to a 41-7 win against Michigan State this past Saturday. The 6’3 213 senior would throw for 27-of-35 on passes for 473 yards, totaling 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. The Tampa native would also tie the school first half touchdown record. He currently ranks first nationally in passing yards as well as being second in passing touchdowns. The Huskies are back in Seattle this weekend, where they are slotted to face California Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. PT.

Week 2 - Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas
Week 1 - Jordan, QB, Florida State

Bednarik Award - Defensive Player of the Week

South Florida defensive back Daquan Evans has been named the Bednarik Award Player of the week after South Florida’s near historic upset of No. 10 Alabama this past weekend. Evans’ dominant performance against the Crimson Tide would include 8 tackles (4 solo), 3 sacks, 4 TFL, and 1 pass break up. This would earn the 5’11 190 Florida native American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week; a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since 2018. Evans would also propel himself into the national lead for tackles for loss, as well as No. 12 in sacks. South Florida will be at Raymond James Stadium to take on Rice for their Cancer Awareness Game this Saturday at 4 p.m. EST.

Week 2 - Jaden Hicks, DB, Washington State
Week 1 - Kaimon Rucker, LB, North Carolina

Lou Groza Award - Placekicker “Stars of the Week”

College football’s top kicking award, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Orange Bowl, recognizes three of the top kickers each week from FBS division teams as the “Stars of the Week.” This week all three Stars kicked game-winning field goals.

Harrison Mevis kicked the longest field goal in SEC history, connecting from 61 yards as time expired to lift Missouri to a 30-27 upset of Kansas State. The second-longest kick in program history also gave the senior from Warsaw, Ind. 66 career field goals, tied for the most ever by a Mizzou kicker. 11 of those field goals have come from over 50 yards, nearly double the next closest active kickers. Mevis also connected from 30 and 25 yards out, part of a 12-point game.

Jose Pizano’s 36-yard field goal gave UNLV its first ever home win over an SEC opponent, topping Vanderbilt 40-37. The senior from Lehi, Utah also made kicks from 34, 31 and 27 yards out on a 4-for-5 day. In his first three games as a Rebel, the transfer from Missouri State is now 7-for-8, tied for third-most field goals in FBS so far. Pizano added four extra points for a 16-point game that ties the program record for the most points by a kicker.

Noah Rauschenberg’s winner came from 31 yards out on the road to give North Texas its first victory of the season, 40-37 over Louisiana Tech. The senior from Tulsa, Okla. also made three first-half field goals, from 48, 25 and 22 yards out. The 4-for-4 day was the first such performance by a Mean Green kicker since 2019. Rauschenberg now sits at 6-for-6 on field goals this season, tied for second-most by a kicker yet to miss.

Week 2: Colton Boomer (UCF), Caden Davis (Ole Miss), Camden Lewis (Oregon)
Week 1: Josh Karty (Stanford), Andrew Stein (Southern Miss) Brock Travelstead (Louisville)

Doak Walker Award - Running Back of the Week

Florida running back Trevor Etienne rushed for a career-high 172 yards on 23 carries and scored one touchdown as the Gators upset No. 11 Tennessee, 29-16 in Gainesville. The performance earned him the Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 16.

The 5-9, 205-pound sophomore from Jennings, La., opened the scoring for Florida with a 62-yard touchdown run. Coming into the game, Tennessee was yielding just 87 rushing yards per game. The career-best 172-yard effort was the third 100-yard rushing game of Etienne’s career and his first of the 2023 season. He accounted for six of Florida’s eight explosive plays, each of them a rush of at least 12 yards.

Florida has won 17 of 19 in the series from Tennessee, including 10 straight in Gainesville.

The Gators (2-1) host Charlotte on Saturday at 7 p.m. on SEC Network Plus.

Other candidates for the honor in Week 3 included:

Jonathon Brooks, Texas: Helped lead Texas to a 31-10 win over Wyoming in rushing for career highs of 164 yards and 21 carries. The sophomore from Hallettsville, Texas, had a significant role on two fourth-quarter touchdown drives that broke the game open for the Longhorns after a 10-10 third-quarter tie.

Tajh Brooks, Texas Tech: Rushed for a career-high 158 yards in a 41-3 victory over Tarleton. The senior from Manor, Texas, averaged 8.3 yards per carry on 19 attempts and hit the 100-yard mark for the fifth time in his career and the first time this season as the Red Raiders had a season-high 221 rushing yards. His 19 carries also marked a new career high.

Audric Estimé, Notre Dame: Set a career-high for the second-straight week with 176 yards, adding a touchdown in a 41-17 win over Central Michigan. The junior from Nyack, N.Y., now has three consecutive 100-yard performances (134 at NC State; 116 vs. Tennessee State) for the first time in his career and is one of only three FBS backs to have three games over the century mark.

Kyle Monangai, Rutgers: Rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries in a 35-16 win over Virginia Tech, marking the first time a Scarlet Knight has topped 100 rushing yards in consecutive games since 2016. The junior from Roseland, N.J., leads the Big Ten in rushing.

Nate Noel, App State: Ccored from 68 yards out on App State’s second offensive play and posted his fourth straight 100-yard game dating back to last season with a career-high 193 yards on 26 attempts as the Mountaineers topped East Carolina, 43-28.

Week 2: Omarion Hampton, North Carolina
Week 1: Dylan Edwards, Colorado

Bronko Nagurski - Defensive Player of the Week

Carlton Johnson snagged three interceptions and spearheaded Fresno State’s commanding defensive effort in a 29-0 win at Arizona State, tying for the most picks in an FBS game this season. The senior cornerback’s takeaways plus three tackles that led to the Bulldogs’ first shutout of a Power 5 opponent since 1986 earned Johnson the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games during the weekend of Sept. 16, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

The picks, his first of the season, are a career-high for Johnson, a 6-0 senior from Moreno Valley, Calif., and tie the school and Mountain West Conference record. It was an unusual trifecta in that each of Johnson’s three interceptions came against a different ASU quarterback and were part of a hawkish eight takeaways by Fresno State (3-0), five interceptions and three fumble recoveries. 

Johnson’s first interception came on ASU’s second pass attempt. The last Bulldogs player to grab three interceptions in a single game was unanimous All-American safety Phillip Thomas in 2012. Johnson is the sixth Bulldog to have a three-interception game.  

The three interceptions vault Johnson into a tie for the national lead with six other players. He is one of two players to grab three in a single game so far this season. The effort earned Johnson the Mountain West’s Defensive Player of the Week honor – he is the first Bulldogs’ cornerback to win that award since the school joined the league in 2012. 

Fresno State has not had a Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner or a finalist in its past. Thomas, also from the defensive backfield, is the only Bulldog to earn FWAA All-America honors (2012). 

Owner of the FBS’ second-longest win streak now at 12 games (Georgia, 20), Fresno State (3-0) closes its non-conference schedule Saturday hosting Kent State in a 10:30 p.m. ET broadcast on CBSSN.

Week 2: Ron Stone, Jr., EDGE, Washington State
Week 1: Travis Hunter, CB, Colorado