Written By: Roy Countryman @Blitzalytics
Week 8 for college football fanatics was full of heart pumping, pulse-pounding action, that was culminated by a group of individuals putting up some big time production on route to some notable victories.
One such performance was put up by standout Washington linebacker, Ben Burr-Kirven. He is week eights Lott IMPACT trophy player of the week.
Burr-Kirven becomes the first two-time trophy winner, and his playmaking ability is why. He recorded 15 total tackles and snared an interception which he returned for 20 yards. The Huskies linebacker has accrued a staggering 108 total tackles through the first 8 weeks of the season; he leads all players in the country. Ben Burr-Kirven is a tackling machine, who plays like his hair is on fire. He uses great speed, and acceleration combined with an upper-echelon 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. He can be tasked with dropping off into zone coverages and be able to carry running back’s and tight end’s 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. Putting together a statistically dominant year will certainly lead to a selection to the All-American team, with more opportunities to win another weekly award from the Lott Foundation.
Burr-Kirven was not the only key contributor and candidate for this week’s award, so here are a few others that were worthy adversaries.
Josh Allen, Linebacker: Kentucky
After a week off, Allen was back wreaking havoc against SEC backfields. He contributed 8 tackles, 2 Sacks, and a forced fumble to help Kentucky defeat Vanderbilt. Blessed with loose hips, an ability to bend the edge, strong hand usage to slip offensive line blocks, the speed to burn on outside moves, excellent length, and an ability to convert speed to power inside, he can win in a variety of ways to put pressure on the quarterback. He is not only a one trick pony though, with his loose hips, speed, and agility he shows a true acumen for being able to drop off from his usual outside linebacker position and carry tight ends or running backs into the flat.
Chase Hansen, Linebacker: Utah
Back to Back weeks of strong performances for Hansen has led him to be in the conversation for player of the week. All he did was produce 11 tackles, 3 TFL, and grab an interception on route to helping his Utah Utes defeat USC. Hansen is a converted safety that plays with a hard hitting demeanor, and the coverage ability to flourish in combatants with the high flying offenses in college football. He is a terrific open-field tackler who possesses good speed to cover plays sideline-to-sideline. The Utah product displays great hip fluidity for the linebacker position and a prowess for carrying man coverage responsibilities of big-bodied tight end’s and running backs out in the flat. With great instincts, he can read a play developing and will show an outstanding ability to elude or shed oncoming blockers. A true three-down defender, that can influence a game in pass defense and the running game, Hansen truly resembles the meaning of Impact as the team leader at Utah.
Colin Schooler, Linebacker: Arizona
A new addition to our contenders for player of the week, but I am sure it will not be the last time you will hear his name taken into consideration. Schooler is a blue-chip linebacker, who is only a Sophomore, and he took over the game on defense in a heartbreaking loss to UCLA. All he did was accumulate 10 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and one sack. He was named the PAC 12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year last year, and with his skill set, he could make multiple All-American lists until his eligibility is up. The heart and soul of Arizona’s defense, he gets everyone aligned on the defensive side of the ball and shows outstanding intelligence for such a young player. He possesses the speed to cover sideline-to-sideline in run defense and uses his upper echelon instincts to penetrate gaps and bring ball carriers down. Schooler has a tremendous feel in coverage as well and can hang with runners or tight end’s downfield. He is a sure tackler who won’t allow many ball carriers to elude his grasp. His skill mimics a lot of the same traits as this week’s winner.
As always we would like to congratulate Washington’s Ben Burr-Kirven for winning this week’s award and the other candidates that were in consideration. Best of luck to those playing in Week 9’s upcoming slate of games.