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September 4, 2005

Shockley answers all questions

The list of contenders in the Heisman race may soon have some new additions. The opening week of college football was filled with a variety of great individual performances, from big-name players to new starters to even a transfer who hadn't played since 2003. The following players may have put themselves in position for a big season and were included in Rivals.com's top five weekly performers.

1. D.J. Shockley - Georgia

Most of the offseason questions at Georgia surrounded its new starting quarterback. Could he be more consistent and cut down on mistakes? Could he handle replacing the winningest quarterback in NCAA history (David Greene)? Would the loss of the team's top two wideouts hurt him? If Shockely's debut is any indication, all the answers to those questions will be an overwhelming yes. The senior not only played flawlessly, but made several big plays in a 48-13 win over No. 18 Boise State. He passed for five touchdowns, went 16-of-24 for 289 yards with no interceptions and also ran for 85 yards.

2. Brian Calhoun - Wisconsin

The Badgers appeared to have found their next great running back. Calhoun, a junior transfer from Colorado, was unstoppable in the Badgers' 56-42 win over Bowling Green. Despite not playing in a game for two years, he rushed for 258 yards on 43 carries and tied a school record with five rushing touchdowns. A back who can put up those kind of stats and handle that big of a workload could be exactly what Barry Alavarez, who is retiring at the end of this season, needs to turn a young team into a contender in the Big Ten one last time.

3. Omar Jacobs - Bowling Green

Jacobs wasn't able to lead his team to a victory unlike the other players on this list, but his gaudy numbers were just to hard to ignore. Playing on national television, the junior picked apart the Wisconsin defense, passing for 451 yards and four touchdowns with just one interception. His chances of winning the Heisman remain slim at best, but this type of performance puts him in position to earn an invite to the ceremony and raises his stock for the draft.

4. Jad Dean - Clemson

Clemson's offense stalled in the red zone repeatedly against Texas A&M, but this junior bailed them out all night long. He set a school record by making all six of his field goal attempts, including a game-winning 42-yarder with two seconds left to lift Clemson to a big 25-24 win against the No. 17 Aggies. The performance makes him an early frontrunner for the Lou Groza award, given to the nation's top kicker.

5. Darius Walker - Notre Dame

Notre Dame's offense moved the ball at will in a 42-21 win over No. 23 Pittsburgh, piling up 502 total yards and averaging 6.5 yards per play. Walker, a sophomore running back, was at the heart of that attack. He rushed for 100 yards and scored on a pair of big plays, including a 51-yard catch in the first quarter and a two-yard run that gave the Irish a 14-10 lead they would never relinquish.


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