Offensive & Defensive MVPs for the Active Northeast CFB Teams

Phil Jurkovec & BC vs. Pitt

The 2020 college football season is roughly half-way over for a few of the Northeast teams (B1G), almost done for others (ACC, WVU, AAC), and whatever the heck UMass is doing (got dominated in 2 games so far, ready to be hurt again).

Now seems like a perfect time to do mid-season MVP awards for each team. (Not really, but it’s 2020. Nothing makes sense!)

Without further ado, I present to you the MVPs on both sides of the ball. Of course, like actual MVP awards these are heavily weighted to skill position players. Sorry O-Linemen, nothing personal!

Penn State

O – Junior WR Jahan Dotson (Nazareth, PA | Nazareth Area High) – One of the few bright spots for Penn State offensively this season, Dotson seems to make spectacular catches multiple times per week.  He really shined against Ohio State’s vaunted secondary in their 2nd game of the year.  Jahan leads the Nittany Lions with 23 receptions for 388 yds and 5 TDs through 4 games.

D – Junior LB Ellis Brooks (Mechanicsville, VA) – The rangy linebacker has emerged as a defensive leader in Micah Parsons’ absence.  Through 4 games he’s tallied 31 tackles, 4.5 for loss, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble.  Honorable mention to sophomore DE Jayson Oweh (Howell, NJ | Blair Academy).

Maryland

O – RS Sophomore QB Taulia Tagovailoa (Ewa Beach, HI by way of Alabama) – An electric QB transfer from Bama, Taulia has authored 2 big wins for the Terps (Penn State and Minnesota).  He stunk up the joint in the first game against Northwestern, but that is looking more like an aberration each week. 770 yds, 6 TDs, and 4 INTs for Taulia through 3 games (3 of those INTs in the Northwestern game).  Senior RB Jake Funk (Gaithersburg, Md. | Damascus) deserves honorable mention. 

D – Junior LB Chance Campbell (Towson, MD | Calvert Hall) – The thumping linebacker leads the UMD defense with 33 tackles (10 more than next highest), 4.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery for a TD in just 3 games.

Rutgers

O – Junior RB Isaih Pacheco (Vineland, NJ | Vineland South) – Shifty back Pacheco shines in both the rushing and passing games.  He’s got 287 yds on the ground and 82 in the air with a pair of scores through 4 games. 

Senior WR Bo Melton (Mays Landing, NJ | Cedar Creek) – Just about every time Melton touches the ball good things happen for the Scarlet Knights.  In 4 games, he has 19 receptions for 331 yds and 4 TDs.  Melton’s only kick return went for 65 yds and he has a 58 yd punt return TD to boot! 

D – Senior LB Olakunle Fatukasi (Far Rockaway, NY | Grand Street Campus) – Big O has tallied 40 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble through 4 games. Honorable mention to Senior LB Tyshonn Fogg (Baltimore, MD | Calvert Hall).

Cuse

O – Freshman RB Sean Tucker (Owings Mills, MD | Calvert Hall) – The third Calvert Hall player to be mentioned is just a Freshman.  He’s been forced to emerge after some injuries for the Orange.  Through 6 games, Tucker has 3 TDs, 414 rushing yds, and another 61 receiving.

Junior WR Taj Harris (Beverly, NJ | Palmyra) – Through inconsistency at QB (due to aforementioned injuries) Harris has been the rock on offense. He’s gone for 507 yds and 4 TDs so far this year. 

D – Soph LB Mikel Jones (Miami, FL) – This guy really fills up the stat sheet: 56 tackles, 1 for loss, 3 INTs, 1 pass defended, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries.  He has made his impact more so in pass coverage but the overall number of tackles shows that Jones excels in all facets of the game.  

Boston College

O – Redshirt Soph QB Phil Jurkovec – (Pittsburgh, PA | Pine-Richland) – The Notre Dame transfer has immediately reinvigorated BC football (I’m sure some influence from new coach Jeff Hafley as well).  Through 9 games he’s got 2355 yds and 17 TDs with just 5 INTs. At 6’5”, he can also move a bit and has added 130 rushing yds and 3 TDs. Jurkovec may be a legitimate Heisman contender next year. 

D – Grad Student LB Max Richardson (Duluth, GA) & Redshirt Junior LB Isaiah McDuffie (Buffalo, NY | Bennett HS) – The bash brothers are each among the top 5 in total tackles in the nation. (Not entirely fair as the ACC has played more games than most other conferences, but still impressive).  McDuffie has the slight edge in overall with 87 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 3 sacks, an INT, and a fumble recovery.  Richardson is right behind with 85 tackles, 8 for loss, 3.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery himself.

Pitt

O – Senior QB Kenny Pickett (Oakhurst, NJ | Ocean Township) – Pickett hasn’t had an ideal 2020 as he’s had to miss 2 games due to injury.  In his 6 other games, he was able to manage 1599 passing yards, 8 TDs, and 3 INTs. He also added 132 rushing yds and 6 TDs.  His absence shows his importance even further as the Panthers struggled when Pickett was not able to go.

D – Redshirt Senior DE Patrick Jones II (Chesapeake, VA) – The D Line has been phenomenal as expected for Pitt with 38 sacks in 8 games.  Jones has led the charge with 8 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss among 32 total tackles.  Soph Linebacker Sirvocea Dennis (Syracuse, NY | Christian Brothers Academy) very much deserves honorable mention.  Redshirt Soph DB Paris Ford (Pittsburgh, PA | Steel Valley High School) was also having a stellar year.  He opted out of the season after game 7 to prepare for the NFL draft as he is a likely first round pick.

WVU

O – Redshirt Junior QB Jarret Doege (Lubbox, TX) – The transfer from Bowling Green has been a traditional pocket passer for the Mountaineers.  In 8 games, he’s gone for 2219 yds in the air with 13 TDs and 3 INTs. He’s “added” -73 yds on the ground, hence the pocket passer designation.

Junior RB Leddie Brown (Philadelphia, PA | Newmann and Goretti High) – Brown looks like he’ll easily break 1,000 rushing yards on the year as he’s already at 897.  He’s got another 184 yds through the air with 11 total TDs. 

D – Soph Safety Tykee Smith (Philadelphia, PA | Imhotep Charter) – Smith plays the ‘spear’ position for WVU and it has been effective.  55 tackles with 8 for loss, 2 INTs, and 4 passes defended.  A pair of transfers deserve honorable mention in Grad Transfer LB Tony Fields II (Las Vegas – transfer from Arizona) and Redshirt Senior CB Alonzo Addae (Pickering, Ontario – transfer from New Hampshire).

Temple

O – Redshirt Junior WR Jadan Blue (Randallstown, MD | Mount St. Joseph) – The shifty and speedy WR leads Temple with 5 TDs in 6 games.  He also is second in receiving yards with 374 and is the primary kick returner with 202 yds on 11 returns. 

D – Redshirt Junior DE Arnold Ebiketie (Silver Spring, MD | Albert Einstein High) – Is tied for first place in the AAC for forced fumbles per game (0.5).  Also leads Temple in tackles, which is impressive from the DE position.  He’s added in 8.5 TFL, 4 sacks, and 1 scoop and score.  Grad Student LB William Kwenkeu (Waldorf, MD | St. Charles) gets the honorable mention nod here.

Navy

O – Senior FB Nelson Smith, (Baton Rouge, LA) – Is smaller in stature, as is typical of service academy athletes, but is a battering ram.  The 2nd ranked FB in the country, he’s gone for 447 yds on the ground and 7 TDs in 7 games. Honorable Mention to Junior FB Jamale Carothers (Bowling Green, KY) who happens to be the 3rd ranked FB in the country. 

D – Junior LB Diego Fagot (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – Is another one leading his school in tackles (53) from the LB position. 8.5 of those were for loss, 3 sacks, and 2 passes defended in 7 games.  

Army

O – Entire rushing attack – Take a look at the stat sheet below (Through 8 games).  Army has played a weak schedule and runs the option, but the sheer volume of rushers with 3+ yards per carry and multiple TDs is astounding.   

RkPlayerAttYdsAvgTD
1Christian Anderson723134.34
2Jakobi Buchanan693304.84
3Sandon McCoy622103.48
4Tyrell Robinson433478.10
5Jemel Jones412375.83
6Anthony Adkins382667.04
7Tyhier Tyler382235.91
8Cade Barnard201105.51
9Artice Hobbs IV171066.20
10Maurice Bellan13463.50
11Tyson Riley12574.80
12Cade Ballard9202.21
13AJ Howard Jr.7304.30
14Christian Parrish5163.20
15Braheam Murphy3206.70
16Jordan Blackman2199.51
17Wilson Catoe14747.00
18Reikan Donaldson12929.00
Dang Army!

D – Senior LB Jon Rhattigan (Naperville, IL) – Stout LB who both leads Army in tackles and really fills up the stat sheet.  Here is what his line looks like: 60 tackles, 8 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 93 return yards, 1 TD, 2 passes defended, and 1 fumble recovery. 

Buffalo

O – Junior RB Jaret Patterson (Glendale, MD | Saint Vincent Pallotti) – Just went off for 301 yds and 4 TDs on the ground last night (Tues, 11/17) in about 3 quarters. That puts him at 511 yds and 8 TDs in 3 games this season. He’s a 1st Team All-MAC performer that will be playing on Sundays for sure. The one question is how he can perform in the passing game as he hasn’t had to be utilized much there.

D – Senior Safety Tyrone Hill (Passaic, NJ | Don Bosco Prep) – A leader on defense, Hill earned all-MAC honors last season. In 2 games, he’s tallied 5 tackles and 3 passes defended.

UMass

O – Freshman QB Will Koch (Niceville, FL) – Threw the only TD of UMass’ short (2 game) season.  Has not thrown a pick and is on pace for a 66.7% completion percentage.  Son of Vermont legend and Silver Medal Olympic skier Bill Koch.   

D – Senior LB Mike Ruane (Middletown, NJ | Rumson-Fair Haven HS) – Leads the Minutemen so far in tackles (17), TFL (3), and sacks (1).


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