Written By: Roy Countryman @Blitzalytics
As we keep steaming forward towards conference championship games, and flow right into bowl games, we take a minute to reflect on some of the top performers from last week’s action.
This week’s winner of the Lott IMPACT trophy weekly award is none other than Notre Dame linebacker Te’Von Coney.
Coney is one of the stars of the fighting Irish defense, and one of the main reasons why their defense is helping to keep them in the race for a national championship. This week, while helping keep his team undefeated against Northwestern, all he did was accrue 10 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and chipped in a pass defensed. He is a thickly built ILB with great muscle definition, and is someone who makes his presence felt in the run defense department due to tremendous instincts, click and close ability, and short area quickness to beat O-linemen to rushing lanes. He has the strength to shed blockers and get in position to stun oncoming ball carriers. Coney is not just a two-down thumper though; he has loose enough joints to drop off into zone coverage, utilizing those instincts and combining them with above-average speed to blanket players trickling out of the backfield. He is very intelligent as well, and you rarely find him out of position. He is a steadying presence on the field, and no situation is too big for him.
Coney was not the only standout performer in last week’s games, and we will briefly highlight some of his toughest competition for the award.
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB: Washington
Another week, another dominant performance to put Burr-Kirven in the discussion for Lott IMPACT player of the week. The two-time award winner helped his Huskies defeat Stanford 27-23, and he stuffed the box score with a team-high 12 tackles, a forced fumble, and a pass defensed. Burr-Kirven is a tackling machine who plays like his hair is on fire. He uses great speed and acceleration combined with quality play recognition to close on ball carriers. Not only can the linebacker quickly diagnose plays, but he shows up with authority and with tremendous tackling mechanics. The Washington linebacker can be tasked with dropping off into zone coverage and be able to carry running backs and tight ends downfield due to his well-rounded skill set. With a nose for the ball, he always seems to be in the area when a big play is happening. Although he lacks a prototypical build, he makes up for it with instincts and intelligence. Burr-Kirven is a high-end prospect at the collegiate level who is Washington’s team leader.
Colin Schooler, LB: Arizona
Schooler has put up strong back-to-back performances to jump onto the radar or the weekly award. This week his team defeated Colorado 42-34 and he was all over the field producing 9 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, a sack, and a pass defensed. He is the heart and soul of Arizona’s defense, responsible for play calling and alignment on the defensive side of the ball. He shows outstanding intelligence for such a young player. The Arizona product possesses the speed to cover sideline-to-sideline in run defense and has the ability to utilize his instincts to penetrate gaps and bring ball carriers down. Schooler has a tremendous feel in coverage with the talent to hang with runners or tight end’s downfield. He is a sure tackler who won’t allow many ball carriers to elude his grasp.
Christian Wilkins, DL: Clemson
Wilkins is helping his Clemson Tigers in their charge back to a national championship with a dismantling of Louisville, 77-16. All he did was live in the opponent’s backfield with 5 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack, and chip in an additional QB hurry. Wilkins is a physical freak, who can play up and down the defensive line. He even gets some time as a runner on offense due to his freaky athleticism. He is blessed with great strength and quickness to rock linemen back on their heels, so much so that offensive coordinators must gameplan for him. He possesses the strong hands necessary to shed blocks, and a motor to scrape off linemen and finish plays. He also flashes a variety of pass rushing moves that help him set up OL for failure. Overall, Wilkins displays a non-stop motor that helps him make a ton of plays, and is a sure tackler to boot.
As always, we would like to congratulate Notre Dame’s, Te’Von Coney for winning this week’s award and the other candidates that were in consideration. Best of luck to those playing in Week 11 collegiate contests.