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2023 Star Search: Week 5 College Football Standouts


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QB Standout


Jaxson Dart, Ole Miss ( 26 comp / 39 att / 389 yds / 4 TD)

In a historic game attended by 67,000 fans, the #20 Ole Miss Rebels hosted the #13 LSU Tigers, setting an all-time attendance record in the process. LSU's defense struggled throughout the game, unable to effectively defend against the Rebels' ground game or play-action passes. The Ole Miss receivers consistently found themselves wide open due to LSU's defensive woes, with the Tigers ranking 131st in defensive EPA for the year.


The game started explosively, with Dart’s performance resembling a high school prospect's highlight reel. While Dart's first touchdown pass to Judkins showcased his eye movement and field awareness, it was somewhat unnecessary due to the lack of defenders near Judkins as the man coverage defender who mirrored his orbital motion from the wing and into the wheel route out of the backfield ran into a wall of bodies at the snap.


Despite the game's high offensive output largely the result of an embarrassing performance from a struggling LSU defense, Dart displayed promising qualities, including good velocity and accuracy on out-breaking routes and strong ball placement on back-shoulder fades. He exhibited smooth timing and rhythm in his play and didn’t appear flustered by the blitz.


Dart's running ability seems to me a blend that exists somewhere between Matt Corral and Daniel Jones, showing his athletic promise on a few big runs on crucial down-and-distances, a valuable prerequisite for the modern quarterback.


Despite LSU's subpar defensive performance, Dart's strong showing should be recognized. It's not time to crown the 4-star recruit from Draper, UT as a superstar just yet, but his ability to lead a game-winning drive in front of a record crowd marks a significant moment for the Ole Miss program and his career going forward.



RB Standout


Ray Davis, Kentucky (26 att / 280 yds / 3 TD)

Ray Davis is a senior running back at the University of Kentucky, originally from San Francisco, California, and a former 3-star recruit from Blair Academy in Blairstown, NJ. He began his college football career at Temple in 2019 and transferred to Vanderbilt in 2021 before joining Kentucky in 2023 as a mid-year enrollee.


Davis has swiftly risen to prominence as one of college football's top running backs with a stellar performance in Kentucky's 33-14 win over Florida. Davis's versatility and multi-dimensional play style are accentuated by his intangibles, such as heart, determination, and grit. He plays like a student of the sled drill who can move half-hearted tacklers for an extra 5-10 yards with his 5’9” 215 lb frame.


He contributes in multiple aspects of the game, including pass-blocking and receiving. Davis's impressive stats through five games this season include 594 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns, and 11 receptions for 146 yards and three touchdowns. Notably, he recorded the fastest run in college football at 21.7 MPH during a career-long 75-yard touchdown run in the Week 5 matchup vs Florida. Davis himself described his game as that of David Montgomery's, and it couldn't be more spot on.


After his outstanding performance vs Florida, he was named the Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week and the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week. Davis's remarkable outing included a record-breaking 280 rushing yards and three touchdowns, cementing his status as a standout running back. His performance has put him on the radar as a potential NFL Draft sleeper, but what really makes him a new favorite of mine is that he is allegedly a talented poet.



WR Standout


Tai Felton, Maryland (7 rec / 134 yds / 3 TD)

Tai Felton, a junior and former 3-star recruit, delivered a stellar performance for the Terps in their victory against Indiana, making history by securing three receiving touchdowns in a single half, a first in program history. Despite not reaching the end zone in the first four games of the season, Felton exploded against the Hoosiers with seven receptions for 134 yards. It's evident that the Terps' coaching staff is emphasizing his involvement in the offense, with Coach Michael Locksley expressing their high regard for Felton's talent.


Felton's first touchdown came early in the game, less than 30 seconds after kickoff, as he utilized his speed to score on a well-executed screen pass. His second touchdown was a 29-yard reception, taking advantage of busted coverage by the Hoosiers on a wide-open post route to the endzone. Felton's record-setting third touchdown of the half showcased his chemistry with quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa as he found the end zone on a slant route on an RPO at the goal line. He’s a lunch pale and hard-hat football player who excels in the details of his position, which is why this breakout game shouldn't be called a fluke. He has the trust of the coaching staff and is poised to continue making an impact as a deep threat in the Maryland offense.



TE Standout


Charmon Metayer, Cinncinati (3 rec / 59 yds / 2 TD)

Chamon Metayer, formerly a 4-star recruit from Miami, FL, has made a significant impact for the Cincinnati Bearcats in their recent Big 12 games. Against BYU, Metayer converted on a 27-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Emory Jones in the second quarter, marking Cincinnati's first touchdown against a conference opponent since joining the Big 12. He didn't stop there, adding another touchdown later in the third quarter with a remarkable juggling catch at the pylon, demonstrating his concentration and athleticism.


Metayer's breakout performances have coincided with Cincinnati's initial games in the Big 12. The 6’5” redshirt sophomore has showcased his versatility, including a 27-yard run on a fake punt, solidifying his growing role on the team. Metayer's journey to Cincinnati began with his commitment to the university after de-committing from the Miami Hurricanes, and he has certainly made a name for himself in the Bearcats' lineup, displaying both his football and basketball backgrounds from his high school days.

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