College Football Star Power Index: Quinn Ewers' fashion train rolls, CJ Stroud excels on the road

College Football Star Power Index: Quinn Ewers’ fashion train rolls, CJ Stroud excels on the road

As the halfway point of the college football season arrives, some of the sport’s biggest stars are beginning to separate themselves from the pack as true national difference makers. Stars can come from anywhere in college football, and they often catch our eye for a variety of reasons. A sport with 131 FBS teams produces a fun mix of characters, some of whom end up as one-hit wonders and others who stay in the spotlight for their entire careers.

The theme for Week 6 was outstanding performances as players like TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston and Wisconsin wide receiver Chimere Dike exploded onto the scene with massive performances in crucial games. Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers also had a big week as he recorded his first full game against a Power Five opponent in Texas’ No. 22 49-0 win over rival Oklahoma.

College football may not be a star-run business, at least not compared to most other top-tier sports in the country. But player influence is growing in the so-called “era of player empowerment” as relaxed transfer restrictions and new name, image and likeness rules give athletes more power. So let’s give them their due and jump into this week’s Star Power Index to see who shines brightest.

The College Football Star Power Index is not a Heisman Trophy watch list or NIL earning potential ranking, nor is it a NFL wrong draft. There are plenty of places to find them. Here’s a look at the players who are maximizing their rigs – whether for quality performances or for other reasons – to stand out as the biggest names in the sport, whether just for a moment or for an entire career. .

College Football Star Power Index

Quinn Ewers, Texas quarterback

The hype surrounding Ewers is spiraling out of control after completing 21 of 31 passes for 289 yards, four touchdowns and an interception in Texas’ 49-0 loss to rival Oklahoma last week. Would the Longhorns be 6-0, in control of the Big 12 and on course for the college football playoffs if he had never injured his shoulder against Alabama? These are the assumptions surrounding Texas right now, and it’s a little presumptuous. Any quarterback on the Texas roster could have led the Longhorns to a resounding victory over that lifeless Oklahoma team, and the only other full game Ewers played this season was against Louisiana-Monroe. during week 1.

Too much of the collective anointing currently given to Ewers is focused on his two big-game quarters against Alabama before the injury. Well, the Crimson Tide nearly lost at home as a 24-point favorite to an Aggies team playing quarterback Haynes King last week. The point here is that Ewers played 10 quarters of college football, and while he clearly showed elite talent in that span, it would be nice to see him deliver in the fourth quarter of a close game before to preemptively award him the 2023 Heisman Trophy.

He should get that chance a few times over the next six weeks as the Longhorns play six straight Big 12 games, including four against teams currently ranked in the top 20 of the AP Top 25 poll. If Ewers can deliver on a plus great sample, then it will deserve all the adulation it gets. For now, he belongs on the Star Power Index simply for the way he managed to grab the sport’s spotlight while playing less than half of the attacking snaps for a No. 4-2 ranked team. 22 nationally.

CJ Stroud, Ohio State quarterback

It’s time for CJ Stroud to be recognized here. The Buckeyes’ rather unremarkable 6-0 start to overmatched foes made Stroud easier than he should be. Halfway through the season, he’s able to throw for about 3,500 yards and 48 touchdowns. He completes 70.6% of his passes, leads the nation in passing efficiency by a significant margin and guided his team to an absolutely dominant start. In a 49-20 victory at Michigan State last week, Stroud completed 21 of 26 passes for 361 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. Any time you throw more touchdowns than road passes against a conference opponent, you probably had a good game.

Quentin Johnston, TCU

Johnston’s big game was a long time coming after a relatively quiet start to the season, but the 6-foot-4 TCU target picked the perfect timing for a breakout game. He had 206 yards and a touchdown on 14 catches in the Horned Frogs’ 38-31 win at Kansas. In other words, Johnston accounted for 60.9% of quarterback Max Duggan’s completions and 66.9% of his passing yards. The Jayhawks had no answer for Johnston, who produced several plays worthy of inclusion on his NFL draft reel. Johnston ranks No. 46 in the CBS Sports 2023 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings, and it was easy to see why against Kansas.

Xavier Thomas, Clemson EDGE pitcher

The scary thing about Clemson’s defense is that it hasn’t been 100 percent this year. Either way, he played at an elite level against opponents not named Wake Forest. Xavier Thomas made his season debut in the Tigers’ 31-3 victory at Wake Forest on Saturday and earned ACC Lineman of the Week honors in just six snaps. In those six snaps, Thomas picked up two sacks and forced a fumble as the Tigers stifled the Eagles in the second half. Thomas underwent pre-season surgery for a foot injury, and now that he’s back, he looks capable of taking Clemson’s defense to an even higher level.

Chimere Dike, Wisconsin wide receiver

The Wisconsin offense came to life in Jim Leonhard’s first game as interim coach as the Badgers smoked Northwestern 42-7. No one has benefited more than Chimere Dike, who set career highs with 10 catches for 185 yards and three touchdowns. Putting those numbers for Wisconsin — or any Big Ten West team — in a single game equates to an Ohio State receiver catching 25 passes for 380 yards and six touchdowns. Dike’s outburst offered Badgers fans a taste of legitimate offensive execution, and he could become a name to know in the race for the division title. With 15 catches in Wisconsin’s last two games, he’s become quarterback Graham Mertz’s top target and is in line for another big game this week against Michigan State’s inept pass defense.

Pittsburgh running back Israel Abanikanda

Any time you break a record owned by Tony Dorsett while joining the company of LaDanian Tomlinson and Ricky Williams, you’ve had a great day. Pittsburgh running back Israel Abanikanda rushed for 320 yards and six touchdowns on 36 carries in the Panthers’ 45-29 win over Virginia Tech, breaking Dorsett’s single-game program rushing record. He also joined Tomlinson and Williams as the only Power Five running backs in the past 25 years to go for 300 yards while scoring six rushing touchdowns in a single game, according to ESPN Stats & Info. After the performance, Abanikanda is first nationally in rushing touchdowns with 12 and second in rushing yards with 830.

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