Washington redshirt senior edge rusher Hau'oli Kikaha is leading the FBS in sacks with 12.5.
Only the half sack is assisted and all are a part of 15.5 tackles for loss. Kikaha has a number of knee injuries in his past, but we and many others have sung his praises since the beginning of the season. Production on its own does not offer a lot of merit, but how that production is achieved is most important. Kikaha offers disruption and production across multiple games.
UCLA sophomore WR Thomas Duarte is considered questionable to play against Colorado.
Freshman Mossi Johnson would be Duarte's replacement if the receiver is not able to play. Johnson filled in for the sophomore for three quarters against California. Duarte is one of the team's leading big play threats.
Stanford redshirt junior WR Devon Cajuste is "questionable to probable" to play against Oregon State.
Stanford does not disclose injury information, so we do not even know what is ailing Cajuste. Thus far in 2014, Cajuste has recorded 18 receptions for 243 yards and three touchdowns.
Ohio State sophomore RB Ezekiel Elliott is a better outside runner and a more natural pass-catcher than former starter Carlos Hyde, according to ESPN's Todd McShay.
Of course, Hyde is the superior inside runner, though Elliott isn't exactly a wilting flower in that department. "Elliott has a good stiff-arm and an excellent center of gravity and balance (he's 6-foot-0, 225 pounds), almost always falling forward," McShay wrote. "His workload is up significantly in recent games (74 touches for 474 yards in OSU's last three games, compared to 31 for 193 in its first three)." Elliott had 262 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 8.7 yards per carry as a true freshman last year.
USC junior DL Leonard Williams "is earning comparisons from scouts to everyone from [J.J.] Watt to Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy," according to CBS Sports' Rob Rang.
"The best player in the NFL this season very well may be Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, but if teams were allowed to draft veterans, a number of Pro Bowl quarterbacks would be selected ahead of him," Rang wrote. "The 2015 NFL Draft could demonstrate the same value of the game's most important position. While Southern Cal defensive end Leonard Williams has been the most impressive player I've seen this season, quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are more likely to generate wins for their future NFL franchises." Williams might be the draft's safest prospect, a player who could be a Pro Bowler in Year 1, but, for the reasons Rang mentioned, he isn't likely to go No. 1 overall. Williams has collected 45 tackles, including five for loss and 4.5 sacks this season.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said freshman QB Deshaun Watson will remain the starter as long as he's healthy.
"Yeah. Yeah. Deshaun’s the starter. Whenever he’s healthy, he’ll be back out there," Swinney said. "Guys don’t lose their jobs because they get hurt. Something unusual would have to happen for that to be the case." Watson, currently sidelined with a broken right hand, will return no later Nov. 15 against Georgia Tech. If he's healthy enough, Swinney will send out Watson, the nation's top-rated dual-threat QB in the 2014 class, on Nov. 6 versus Wake Forest. Cole Stoudt will continue to play until Watson's return.
ESPN's Todd McShay believes Ohio State sophomore WR Michael Thomas "has a chance to be an elite player."
"He has strong hands and great body control and transition quickness after the catch, and he's been getting better at the little things (backside route-running, working back to the QB after the initial play breaks down, blocking in the running and screen games)," McShay wrote. Ohio State's go-to receiver, Keyshawn Johnson's nephew, is averaging 18.0 yards per catch and has five touchdowns.
Washington junior OLB Shaq Thompson possesses "excellent athleticism and awareness in coverage, traits that project well in today's pass-happy NFL," according to CBS Sports' Rob Rang.
"Anxious to get to their playmakers closer to the line of scrimmage, the Huskies moved Thompson to linebacker after he signed with the team as a highly regarded safety, and the move has paid off brilliantly with the instinctive and athletic defender emerging as one of the top defensive playmakers in college football, scoring four defensive touchdowns thus far this season," Rang wrote. The analyst ranks Thompson No. 18 overall on his big board. We see a Ryan Shazier-type defensive playmaker.