- 1. Nick Chubb, Georgia running back
- 2016: 222 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 6.9 yards per carry
When Chubb took the field against North Carolina, his season-ending knee injury in 2015 was readily forgotten. The junior running back tallied his second 200-yard performance of his career against a ranked North Carolina team. Excluding the game of his injury, Chubb has racked up 110 yards in 14 consecutive games, reaching the end zone in 13 of those contests. He delivered the Bulldogs a strong win in the fourth quarter with a 55-yard touchdown late in the season opener. Chubb and Georgia continue with Nicholls State week two.
- 2. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford running back
- 2016: 126 rushing yards, 40 receiving yards, 2 rushing touchdowns
The record-holder for all-purpose yards in a season combated a sturdy Kansas State defense in week one, but still managed to record his 12th 100-yard performance in 13 games. McCaffrey scored two touchdowns of 30-plus yards in a single game – a career first. His final one, a 41-yard scamper, was a signature moment for Stanford, helping seal the Cardinal’s first victory. McCaffrey returned a punt 97 yards in the victory but the remarkable play was negated by a penalty. The junior running back receives a bye week as he prepares to battle Stanford’s challenging schedule comprising of UCLA, Washington and Notre Dame.
- 3. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State quarterback
- 2016: 349 passing yards, 30 rushing yards, 7 total touchdowns
Barrett and Ohio State shattered the scoreboard in a record-breaking week one performance. The junior quarterback tied the Buckeyes’ record for six passing touchdowns in a game and set the record with seven individual touchdowns in the 77-10 victory over Bowling Green. Despite beginning the game with a pick-six, Barrett quickly rebounded by tearing apart the Falcons’ defense. His 349 passing yards were the most of his career, and he has crafted a new assembly of talented playmakers around him. After leading the 2014 National Champion Ohio State team in the regular season, Barrett looks to return the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff once again.
- 4. Greg Ward, Jr., Houston quarterback
- 2016: 321 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions
In his last two games under center, Ward has done the unthinkable for Tom Herman’s program. A member of the American Conference, Houston has defeated the No. 9 Florida State Seminoles and No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners in back-to-back games, dating to 2015. Ward played impeccably under the spotlight Saturday, throwing for over 300 yards for his fourth time as a Cougar. His interception-free play was instrumental in igniting the upset over Oklahoma. In a signature moment, Ward escaped four pass rushers and fired the ball down the sideline to junior receiver Linell Bonner. Bonner made an acrobatic catch maintaining one foot in bounds to set up a field goal in the 33-23 win. As Houston’s schedule moderates, Ward must continue high-level performances.