Three-Point Stance: Top defenses, Farrell Freshman Five, Heisman contenders
Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s thought-provoking Three-Point Stance is here with thoughts on the best defenses in college football, his Farrell Freshman Five and his Heisman list after Week 5.
1. THE NATION'S TOP DEFENSES
There have been some very impressive defensive performances so far this season, and with a good sample size, I can confidently state the top five defenses in the country. Disagree if you will, and I know you will, but here they are…
1. Michigan: I’m not basing this on stats, it’s based on scheme, how fast and aggressive they are to the football and overall talent, and this Michigan defense is plain nasty. Don Brown is the best defensive coordinator in football.
2. Clemson: The second best defensive coordinator in college football, or how about 1B, is Brent Venables, and his defense is even more athletic overall than Michigan’s. Both do great things with personnel, I just like Brown’s blitz scheme for Michigan a little better. Of course one could argue that Venables doesn’t have to blitz as much because his front line is ridiculous.
3. Georgia: This Georgia defense swarms to the football, it gets pressure up front and the secondary is playing out of its mind. How about 1C, here as you could easily put Georgia’s defense up with Michigan and Clemson for talent, scheme and effort. I especially like the chip on their shoulder they are playing with.
4. Auburn: This is a nasty and well-balanced group; they're giving up only 11 points per game and tracking the ball with ease. They did a great job against Clemson and have been consistent in each outing overall. They're the reason the offense has had the luxury of taking its time coming around.
5. Alabama: The Florida State offense wasn’t really impressive when Deondre Francois went down and hasn’t been since, but Ole Miss has put up numbers and Alabama stepped on its throat. Alabama hasn't played a great offense yet, but it is still as talented as ever..
2. FARRELL FRESHMAN FIVE
It’s time for my Farrell Freshman Five again, the best true freshmen I saw this week. Keep in mind that I didn’t see every game or every play, so these are the players that stood out to me…
1. Malik Davis, Florida: Davis was huge for the Gators with 124 yards and two scores on only 17 carries and helped them break out of an awful scoring slump in a 38-24 win over Vanderbilt. With Davis stepping up, things will get easier for freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks.
2. AJ Dillon, Boston College: Dillon, the former Michigan commitment, was the workhorse for Boston College in its win over Central Michigan, getting stronger as the game wore on. His fellow running back Jonathan Hilliman got the TDs, but Dillon had 120 yards on 25 carries and a score of his own.
5. Josiah Scott, Michigan State: Scott had another big game with a forced fumble and by providing solid coverage. He’s been a huge part of Michigan State’s defense since Week 1 and deserves the shoutout.
3. HEISMAN FRONTRUNNERS
My Week 5 Heisman list looks a bit different from last week, but it’s clear that two players are in the lead in a big way. Here’s how it stands…
1. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (last week No. 1) – He’s still my No. 1 despite the off week and all the hype surrounding Saquon Barkley. The national media will probably rally around Barkley because he is the best player in college football and best pro prospect, but I still think a quarterback will win it this year.
2. Saquon Barkley, Penn State (last week No. 2) – Adding in return scores and throwing touchdowns doesn’t hurt at all, and he could be 1B here. If he continues to put up numbers and has huge games against Michigan and Ohio State, he could be tough to beat because Mayfield doesn’t have as many marquee games left.
3. Bryce Love, Stanford (last week NR) – He’s the only back in the nation over 1,000 yards, and his stats are off the charts. But there’s no way he gets it if Christian McCaffrey didn’t. However, there’s no better No. 3 option right now, as he’s averaging an unheard of 11.1 yards per carry through five games.
4. Luke Falk, Washington State (last week NR) – The win over USC was huge, and his team is undefeated and has a shot at making some playoff noise. He’s my No. 2 quarterback on the list but far, far behind Mayfield.
5. Lamar Jackson, Louisville (last week No. 3) – Jackson keeps putting up big numbers, but unless his team makes a serious run at the ACC, voters will consider last year’s win enough. People still talk about how he finished last season, if you can believe that.
6. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State (last week No. 7) – Rebounding from the loss to TCU, Rudolph is No. 3 in the nation in passer rating and will need to beat Oklahoma head-to-head with big numbers either once or twice to push ahead.
8. Christian Wilkins, Clemson (last week No. 6) – This could be the last week he stays on here. Not because he’s not worth consideration, but because most of what he does never shows in the stat sheet.