Discover more from VolumePigs
The Itis: CFF Treats - Observations from Week Five
In this week's recap, VP takes a look at a player some are calling the 'G5 Kyler Murray', UGA's unlikely volume pig at RB, and the state of the TE and RB positions in CFF currently.
I present to you "The Luther." A full-pound burger patty covered in cheese, grilled onion, five strips of bacon, all sandwiched between—Two Krispy Kreme doughnuts!
- Granddad, The Boondocks
UGA RB Daijun Edwards to Continue ‘RBU’ legacy?
I’ve been a Dawgs fans ever since I started following CFB. Perhaps ironically, I really like defensive football, and the way Kirby Smart built that program is exactly how I’d (attempt to) do it if I could. One thing I’ve found funny, however, is how UGA has been trading off the ‘RBU’ name for several years now without really having a stud RB come through the program since… I guess De’Andre Swift? Former five-star Zamir ‘Zeus’ White was one of the best high school players I ever saw. But two horrific ACL injuries later and he just wasn’t the same player. It’s a testament to the athlete that he still found his way to the NFL despite that. But really, if we look at it, UGA is not RBU and hasn’t been for a few years now. LBU? Oh yea. DTU? Can’t really be debated at this point. TEU? The casuals will disagree, but that’s because they’re usually several years behind the information curve. I’d say UGA is TEU at this moment of time, given what’s coming down the pipeline, the way they recruit that position, etc. etc. The masses will catch up to what we know is coming around… I don’t know… three or four years from now?
I guess the point is, like with the ‘RBU’ moniker, these types of things take a long time to establish and — evidently — disestablish amongst the wider audience. But there is a young man in the UGA program who I’ve been following since his high school days in South Georgia when he was playing at powerhouse program Colquitt County High School. Daijun Edwards was not a player many UGA fans were fired up about when he signed. He was seen as a consolation prize, a ‘plan B’ after the staff slow played West Georgia star ‘Tank’ Bigsby in their pursuit of Houston North Shore’s wondered kid Zach Evans. We all know what eventually happened with Evans and UGA, and Bigsby—tired of waiting—signed with UGA’s rival, the Auburn Tigers. This cleared the runway for RB Daijun Edwards to ultimately sign with the Dawgs (what a luxury it must be for UGA’s staff to sign players like this as backup options) .
From his freshman season, it was evident that Edwards was difficult to tackle. He was a tough runner. He reminded me a bit of Minnesota’s Mo Ibrahim, and — in my moments of weakness — would often fantasize about how productive Edwards could be if he were at a program like Minnesota, where he could potentially carry the rock 30 times a game. I knew he’d never see that type of volume at UGA—well, not unless some crazy shit happened.
Enter 2023, and some crazy shit has happened. RBs Kendall Milton, Branson Robinson, Andrew Paul, and freshman Roderick Robinson all went down with injury early in the season. Even Edwards himself started the season on IR, and was unavailable for the first two weeks of the season. But as soon as Edwards came back into the rotation in Week Three, he immediately took hold of the backfield carries. He carried the rock 20 times vs. South Carolina, and accumulated 118 yards and a score in the process. I don’t expect this to be a season-long ordeal, but as long as literally every other RB remains on IR, Edwards — the unlikely hometown hero — is officially making that ‘RBU’ moniker accurate again.
In an era where so few of the top players in Georgia choose to play college ball at the University of Georgia, Edwards is a rare bright spot in this regard.
Early contenders for TE1
“All control is fading out. Warm beds are taken up. We’re stranded waiting for a lie. With half-cut tongues, We struggle endlessly for naught…” — Currents
Speaking of UGA football, they have a contender for CFF TE1 in Brock ‘Lord of the Rings’ Bowers. After a slow start to the season, Bowers has now produced outputs of 30+ points in back-to-back weeks. I think we all knew he’d be in this discussion ahead of time—after all, he was selected in the first/second rounds of drafts.
A name that’s more surprising (unless you were subscribed to VP back in April) is CSU’s Dallin Holker. Holker has been consistently torching it all season, and I’d actually classify him as TE1 currently due to his consistency. Bowers has been dealing with nagging injuries, which likely played a part in his lower production early on. Nonetheless, I can only go by the numbers currently at my disposal. Syracuse’s TE/WR hybrid Orande Gadsden was in this discussion before his injury. That’s an unfortunate blow for those who spent first round picks on him.
But after LOTR and Bud Fox (IYKYK), there really isn’t much consensus on who the next name would be. Ball State’s Tanner Koziol was strong — albeit, inconsistently — to start the season, but has faded lately. Notre Dame’s Mitchell Evans, in a somewhat opposite fashion, started out slow, but appears to have ascended as the starting TE for ND now. He’s been strong two weeks in a row.
But a name I’d place into that third spot currently is actually Colorado’s TE/WR hybrid Michael Harrison. Since Travis Hunter went down, Harrison has scored every single game, and twice vs. CSU. He is averaging a very strong 18.73 points per game since Hunter’s been out. Of course, Hunter is expected to return at some point, so Harrison’s role could diminish some over time, but maybe it won’t?
KState’s Ben Sinnot is another solid option currently.
Besides those names, I’d say it’s been a rough season for those who drafted TEs early. Players like RJ Maryland, Jalin Conyers, Brady Hunt, or Brant Kuithe have either been disappointments, or are just straight up not playing due to injury. A frustrating experience undoubtedly for many who analyzed the TE pool tirelessly this offseason, just to end up in the same position everyone else is.
Simply put, the TE position is just a shit show every year.
Coming Back to the RB1 Discussion
Some names have faded, but some are still in the discussion since the last time that I did an overview of the RB1 race.
Since I already made reference to Brock ‘LOTR’ Bowers, I should mention Rasheen ‘Return of the King’ Ali first. Ali continues to score TDs. He continues to get strong usage. He’s elite for the level he plays at. Good. Good. Good. Enough said. I am in three leagues this season, and (miraculously) Ali was my first round pick in every single one of them. It’s going well so far.
Georgia State’s Marcus Carroll is continuing his run of dominance also. We’re actually going to get a chance to see both of these RBs in the same game two weeks from now when Marshall travels to GSU. I don’t know if there’s anybody seeing the level of carry volume week to week that Carroll is right now. He’s really the only RB that gets carries for them. That’s amazing in this day and age.
Mississippi State’s RB Jo’ Marks has faded some since the last update. The Bulldogs got absolutely molly-whopped by LSU in Week Three. After that it was tough sledding vs. South Carolina and Alabama. We’re reaching the point now where it looks like Marks might have just been an OOC-warrior. Another ‘Mr. September’ if you will. Except in his case, it didn’t even last until the end of the month. They’ve got a great matchup that I expect Marks to dominate this weekend vs. MAC opponent WMU. Unfortunately, it appears that in games where the Bulldogs are trailing, Marks is not going to see nearly the same level of volume he would otherwise, and the Bulldogs might be trailing a lot of games this season…
(Boise State) Ashton Jeanty — Jeanty is absolutely dominating right now. It’s not a surprise, either; he would have been a sure-fire first round pick this season if not for veteran RB George Holani returning. Presumably, Holani will return from injury at some point, and I’d expect Jeanty to lose some of his potency splitting reps. Still, Jeanty’s probably still going to be at least a solid player for the remainder of the season. Until Holani’s return, Jeanty looks to be RB1 so far this season. He’s like Ali in that he gets a lot of touches via the air also, and scores a lot of TDs. I have an article coming on him soon…
(Kentucky) Ray Davis — Davis is another player that I hoarded this season. The one-two punch of him and Ali has helped me win a lot of games thus far in 2023, and I’m hoping that continues. I’ve followed Davis since his days at Temple, when he was quite productive as a freshman. He then dealt with several injuries in the following seasons, before transferring to Vanderbilt in 2022. His first and only season with the Commodores was a solid one, but it is hard to be a consistently productive RB on a struggling team. His move to Kentucky has been a fruitful one so far. Love the player. Love the system. Let’s keep the good times rolling.
(Wisconsin) Braelon Allen — Allen now enters into this conversation with the season-ending injury to his teammate—Chez Mellusi. Allen’s already been productive on fluctuating touch volume, and I expect his production to ramp up even further with more usage now that the Badgers will have to lean on him a little more.
(Minnesota) Darius Taylor — Before going down with injury, Taylor looked to be well on his way to RB1 contender. The volume that he had been seeing consistently since his breakout in Week Two was outstanding. If there’s one thing we know about head coach PJ Fleck, it’s that he has absolutely no problem giving 30+ carries to collegiate-aged athletes. I love it, but simultaneously have to wonder, who hurt this man? Maybe he’s just an avid CFF player and drafts his own RBs every season…
Who is the 'G5 Kyler Murray’?
I am 100% going to do a full profile article for Arkansas State’s — true freshman — QB Jaylen Raynor. Dubbed as the ‘G5 Kyler Murray’ by some, Raynor has absolutely torched CFB since taking over as the starter at Arkansas State. I mentioned how he came to be the starter in my Week Four Pig Market article last week, so if you’re curious, be sure to check that out.
One thing I will say is that we currently have a sample size of two games from Raynor, and both games were versus weaker defences in Southern Miss and UMass. If he continues to do what he’s been doing this weekend vs. a stout Troy defence, I am officially getting on board with the whole ‘G5 Kyler Murray’ nickname. Oh, and shoutout to CFFNate for that moniker. I feel like I should give him some credit here, because I can only imagine how sick he feels knowing he dropped Raynor right before the season in the 24-teamer he hosts. The person who picked him up? Only an $11 bid. I guess that means I should be feeling sick too? Definitely, I’d love to have Raynor in that league. I actually have him in my home league currently, and was pleased with his six TD performance last weekend.
This game vs. Troy is a pivotal moment for him. Not that if he doesn't do well that it will change the evaluation of him drastically, but if he does manage to continue to do well (like, 30+ points well), you’re looking at a potential 1.01 candidate at the QB position in 2024. That’s a big projection, I know, we only have two games to go off of so far. We’ll see what happens.
Weekly Youtube Video
As usual, I made a guest appearance on CFFJared’s show CTN.
I plan to take some vacation this weekend with a fishing trip in Northern Ontario. If I manage to secure anything remarkable on the other end of my line, I will share photos somewhere here the following week.
As a result, I’ll be spending a lot more time on a lake, or at least, not watching CFB, so most likely the content next week will be slower. I’ll still try to produce a waiver article for Sunday or Monday. Weekly recap probably won’t be released until Thursday.
I do have a few articles on the go currently, so I might be able to sprinkle those in, in the absence of the usual stuff I do weekly.
To everyone out there, wherever you might be, enjoy the rest of your week!
If you enjoyed this content, I encourage you to join the Pig Pen (subscribing), and follow me on twitter.
Have questions? Find out what people are saying about VolumePigs here.
VolumePigs is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.