Week 11 of the college football season is in the books, which means we got another look at the potential stars of next year's NFL draft, as well as future classes. Each week, I'll be picking the players from each power-five conference who stood out the most. Thus, this is the 11th edition of TDN Power 5 Players of the Week.
Offense: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson - 14 carries for 112 yards and 2 TDs - 3 catches for 31 yards and 1 TD
For the second consecutive week, Travis Etienne is named TDN's ACC offensive player of the week. Etienne continues his stretch of dominance, rushing for his fifth straight 100-yard game of the season. He’s now up to 1,214 rushing yards on just 137 carries. Quite simply, he’s a home run threat who is firmly putting his name in the first round conversation of the 2020 NFL draft.
Defense: Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, FSU - 22 tackles
TWENTY-TWO TACKLES? You have to go all the way back to 1968 to find a Florida State player who has ever had more tackles in a single game. We know about Nasirildeen’s sideline to sideline range and length in coverage, but his reliability against the run this year has been a big jump in his game.
Offense: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin - 31 carries for 250 yards
Jonathan Taylor got whatever he wanted Saturday against Iowa, specifically when the Badgers needed him most. In the fourth quarter, the star running back racked up a whopping 130 yards on the ground, essentially icing the game. He is the first player to rush for more than 250 yards against Iowa since 2000.
Defense: Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota - 11 tackles, 2 INTs
No defensive player was more instrumental in their team’s victory this weekend than Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr. He continued his stretch of dominance this season with two more interceptions against Penn State, putting his interception total for the season at seven. A redshirt sophomore, Winfield could be one of the 2020 NFL Draft’s top safety prospects, if he decides to declare.
Offense: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma - 8 catches for 167 yards and 2 TDs
All this talk about the Alabama trio of wide receivers, and it seems like we still forget how good CeeDee Lamb is. This game against Iowa State proved why he might be the first wide receiver drafted next April, as his overall skill set almost mirrors DeAndre Hopkins.
Defense: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU - 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 PBUs
Other players in the conference stood out more in the box score, but just from the eye test, Jeff Gladney played better than any cornerback I saw this weekend. He just accepted a Senior Bowl invite, and he was all clamps against Baylor with three pass breakups. With his speed, physicality, and ball skills, Gladney has a real chance to be a first round cornerback.
Offense: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU - 31/39 for 393 yards and 3 TDs - 14 carries for 64 yards
With his performance in this game, Joe Burrow may have cemented his status as the Heisman Trophy winner and number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. There are no more “but ifs” about his profile as a prospect. His ball placement was incredible in this game, but above all else, his poise under pressure and ability to improvise in traffic was what stood out most against Alabama. Burrow is the official QB1 of this draft class.
Defense: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU - 10 tackles, 4 TFL
His stat line doesn’t stand out in the box score like some other SEC defenders this weekend, but no defensive prospect in the conference, or maybe even the country, helped their draft stock more on Saturday. Going up against a top prospect in Alex Leatherwood, K’Lavon Chaisson whipped him all game. He was pressuring Tua Tagovailoa and the pocket throughout, and it wasn’t just with speed either. Chaisson was able to win with power and length at the point of attack as well, which has been a question mark of his game. Chaisson has been a flash player for most of his career, but in this game against Alabama, he looked like a top 10 pick. In the biggest game of his career, he played the best game of his career.
Offense: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC - 13 catches for 146 yards
Michael Pittman Jr. is on an absolute tear, folks. If you look at what he’s done in two of the last three games, against Arizona State and Colorado, he’s put up a combined 20 catches for 302 yards and two touchdowns in those two outings. At 6’4, 220, Pittman Jr. is highly intelligent and nuanced as a route runner, having that knack to get himself open, whether it’s in space or at the catch point. Because he’s on the west coast, a lot of people don’t get a chance to see his game, but when he lines up in the one-on-one’s in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, his stock could really rise.
Defense: Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington - 7 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks
Joe Tryon is the only player on this week’s list who is not draft eligible, but he played like a man on a mission against Oregon State. At 6’5, 260, Tryon has the physical profile of a top EDGE prospect with his length, speed, and power. If he continues to put up numbers like this, he will see his name in the first round of many 2021 NFL mock drafts next summer.