So far, Week 1 of the 2021 college season has been entertaining. A week that featured unforeseen upsets and unsung heroes. We experienced phenomenal individual performances. I scoured the landscape and chose my top five performers of the week. These performers will be my guys or “Dame’s Dudes.”
This will be a reoccurring theme each week once the games have concluded. Without further ado, here are my best performers of week one.
Kenneth Walker III, Michigan St, RB
There’s a saying, “you only get one chance to make a first impression”. Kenneth Walker transferred from Wake Forest to Michigan State and did not disappoint in his Spartans debut. In fact, on his first play from scrimmage, Walker took a hand-off the distance for a 75-yard touchdown.
Walker was not a one-run wonder. Instead, he was a terror for Northwestern’s defense all four quarters. He demonstrated the vision, speed, and change of direction that allowed him to terrorize Northwestern. Rushing for nearly 300-yards will secure a spot as one of Dame’s Dudes. I was not the only one impressed by Walker’s dominance, my colleague Russell Brown broke down his performance.
There is no stopping @Kenneth_Walker9 tonight.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 4, 2021
Mataeo Durant, North Carolina, RB
Another explosive season-opening performance, Duke’s Mataeo Durant. Despite losing the game, Duke’s offense would not have kept pace with Charlotte with Durant’s heroic efforts. He carried the ball 29 times for 255 yards and three touchdowns. Durant consistently displayed his explosive burst and long speed as he gashed Charlotte’s defense.
Durant and the Blue Devil’s zone blocking scheme was unstoppable. His innate ability to hit top speed created issues for the second and third-level defenders. Durant is not the bruiser type of runner, but he possesses good contact balance. Performances like Durant’s will be in the discussion as a member of Dame’s Dudes.
MATAEO DURANT DOES IT AGAIN 💨
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 4, 2021
Jack Coan, Notre Dame, QB
What an opening week for Jack Coan. The Wisconsin transfer, Coan had a phenomenal debut with Notre Dame. Coan was 26 of 35 for 366 yards and four touchdowns. In addition to a single interception. The aggressiveness was evident on three of his four scores. He threw touchdowns on third and fourth with four or fewer yards to go.
Like a point guard in basketball, Coan properly distributed the ball to his playmakers. He fed his power forward Michael Mayer all game. Coan threw with great (TTA), touch, timing, and anticipation. His accuracy down the field resembled practice throws in the bucket. It was a treat to watch Coan dissect Florida States’ defense. These type of performances draws attention and the positive kind.
It’s 2021 and Jack Coan is throwing absolute DIMES 🎯
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 6, 2021
Erik Ezukanma, Texas Tech, WR
Erik Ezukanma started his 2021 campaign with a strong performance against Houston. He accounted for 179 of Tyler Shough’s 228 passing yards. Ezukanma was targeted ten times, reeling in seven of them. As a result, the Red Raider leading wideout was a big play waiting to happen. He showcased his run after catch ability with 92 of his 179 yards coming after the catch.
Texas Tech dialed his number on receiver screens, orbit motion/screens, etc. Listed at 6 foot 3 and 220 pounds, Ezukanma moves fluidly with surprising speed for a receiver of his stature. He was tough to bring down in space and showcased his strong hands. He earned his spot on the list as a top performer.
If you don't know who @TexasTechFB WR Erik Ezukanma is, stop scrolling for a minute and check this.
6'3", 220 pounds. Contested catch god. And also makes plays like this. Currently leads the league in receiving yards after one week, and that's no accident. pic.twitter.com/LdkvvuETvZ
— Ian Cummings (@IC_Draft) September 6, 2021
Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame, SAF
The final member of Dame’s Dudes, the elite centerfielder Kyle Hamilton. Against the Florida State offense, Hamilton came away with two incredible interceptions. As a result, the momentum of the game was altered. Listed at 6 foot 4 and 220 pounds, Kyle Hamilton has the insane range to run sideline to sideline. As seen in the tweet below.
Kyle Hamilton from the opposite hash for his second INT of the night. Unbelievable play. https://t.co/HNsDRCsA6y
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) September 6, 2021
Without Hamilton’s incredible effort and athleticism to make game-changing plays, Florida State possibly wins this game. There is no debate that Hamilton is the best safety prospect in the nation. His fingerprints were all over this game. Delivering multiple turnovers in a big primetime matchup creates a strong argument as one of Dame’s Dudes.
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