2023 Freshman Focus: Week 1

DALLAS (FWAA) – The Football Writers Association of America is presenting its weekly Freshman Focus for its annual freshman honors: the Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach of the Year Award, the Freshman of the Year Award and the Freshman All-America Team. The Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach Award, presented by Chris Doering Mortgage, goes to the top first-year coach (at his school) in FBS Football.

The recipient of the Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach Award, the FWAA's Freshman of the Year, and a Spurrier Legends Coach will be honored at a spcial reception on Feb. 26 in Gainesville, Fla. The weekly Freshman Focus highlights some of the top individual performances by coaches and players who are eligible for the awards and for selection to the annual FWAA Freshman All-America Team.  


Dylan Edwards, RB, Colorado (5-9, 170, Derby, Kan.): 6 rushes, 24 yards, 1 TD; 5 receptions, 135 yards, 3 TD

Edwards erupted for one of college football’s top performances of Week 1, fueling Colorado to a 45-42 upset of No. 17 TCU. The true freshman’s explosiveness and versatility were on full display as he broke tackles as a runner and a receiver. Edwards’ 46-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter gave Colorado the final points it needed to claim one of the biggest upsets of the weekend. Edwards has another chance to dominate a talented defense when the Buffaloes host Nebraska this weekend.

Suntarine Perkins, LB, Ole Miss (6-3, 205, Raleigh, Miss.): 9 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 pass defensed

Perkins spearheaded a dominant Ole Miss run defense in a 73-7 beatdown of Mercer. The true freshman’s nine tackles led a Rebel front that gave up just 93 yards rushing on 37 attempts. Perkins also flashed his pass-rushing speed, running down a scrambling quarterback for his first career sack. Perkins and the Rebels will be tested by an electric Tulane offense on the road this Saturday.

Creed Whittemore, WR, Mississippi State (5-11, 185, Gainesville, Fla.): 2 rushes, 57 yards, 1 TD; 4 receptions, 59 yards, 1 TD

Whittemore’s prowess as a runner and receiver helped Mississippi State to a comfortable 48-7 win over Southeastern Louisiana. The true freshman showed elite speed on both of his touchdowns, torching the Lions’ secondary on a 33-yard reception and a 53-yard run. The former high school quarterback helped spark a Bulldog offense that scored just 10 points by the two-minute mark of the second quarter. Whittemore will look to boost the Bulldogs to a 2-0 start against Arizona on Saturday before hosting LSU in Week 3.

Cardell Williams, QB, Tulsa (6-2, 191, Houston, Texas): 13/14, 233 yards, 3 TD; 6 rushes, minus-9 yards, 1 TD

Williams got red-hot in the second quarter, scoring touchdowns on four consecutive drives en route to a 42-7 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The redshirt freshman filled in for injured starter Braylon Braxton and sparked 42 unanswered points for the Golden Hurricane. The dual-threat flashed big-play ability on the ground and through the air, rushing for a 3-yard touchdown before an 80-yard TD pass on the next drive. Williams will face his first major challenge this Saturday if he leads Tulsa against No. 10 Washington.


Jeff Brohm, Louisville: Brohm and the Cardinals scored 26 unanswered points in the second half to complete a 39-34 comeback win over Georgia Tech. Quarterback Jack Plummer, who followed Brohm from Purdue, led the Louisville offense with 298 total yards and three touchdowns. The Cardinal defense bounced back from allowing 28 points in the second quarter to allowing just six in the second half. Brohm aims to lead his alma mater to its first 2-0 start since 2017 against Murray State on Thursday.

G.J. Kinne, Texas State: Kinne’s Bobcats entered as 26.5-point underdogs and earned a resounding 42-31 upset of Baylor. Quarterback TJ Finley was 22-of-30 passing for 298 yards and three touchdowns with another score on the ground. Texas State struck early and often, taking a 28-13 lead into halftime. Kinne will look to lead his program to its first 2-0 start in a decade when it visits UTSA this Saturday.

Deion Sanders, Colorado: Sanders’ Buffaloes upset No. 17 TCU 45-42 in a classic season-opening shootout. Shedeur Sanders, Deion’s son, threw for a school-record 510 yards with four touchdowns and helped snap Colorado’s 27-game losing streak against ranked opponents on the road. Sanders’ defense was far from perfect, but a key stop on fourth down sealed the win. Colorado will look to play spoiler again this weekend when Nebraska visits Boulder.

Scott Satterfield, Cincinnati: Cincinnati unleashed dominance on Eastern Kentucky in an explosive 66-13 win. Satterfield’s offense totaled 667 yards, spearheaded by quarterback Emory Jones’ seven-touchdown performance. Eight different Bearcats scored in the win. Satterfield and the Bearcats will look to make more noise against Power 5 competition on Saturday at Pitt.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.