College football continues to produce new stars each week as the 2022 season plunges into late October with a new crop of breakout players emerging seemingly every Saturday. Things were no different in Week 7 as four top-10 teams fell amid a heavyweight slate of games that delivered several incredible performances and thrilling finishes.
No. 3 Tennessee's win over No. 6 Alabama featured a particularly compelling quarterback matchup between reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young of the Crimson Tide and Tennessee's Hendon Hooker. Both delivered on the big stage, while some others, such as Volunteers receiver Jalin Hyatt, stood out as well in the classic SEC showdown.
But stars in college football come from all over the sport. While players like Young spend their entire careers in the spotlight following intense recruitments, others emerge from seemingly nowhere -- such as formerly overlooked Purdue receiver Charlie Jones -- to maximize the stage provided by the sport. Here, we'll highlight a handful of them in the Star Power Index.
The College Football Star Power Index isn't a Heisman Trophy watch list or a ranking of NIL earnings potential, nor is it an NFL mock draft. There are plenty of places to find those. This is a rundown of players who are maximizing their platform -- be it for quality performance or other reasons -- to stand out as the biggest names in the sport, whether that be just for a moment or for an entire career.
College Football Star Power Index
Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee receiver
Hyatt etched his name into Tennessee football history with one of the greatest single-game performances by a player in program history. His school-record five receiving touchdowns in Tennessee's 52-49 win over Alabama sustained the Volunteers against Bryce Young's relentless attack as UT ended a 15-game losing streak against the Crimson Tide.
Look for the first names "Jalin" and "Hyatt" to make meteoric rises among newborns in Tennessee over the next year, and keep an eye out for Hyatt to get paid. The beautiful thing about the name, image and likeness era in college football is that a player is now able to capitalize monetarily through endorsement deals and marketing opportunities created by their performance. Hyatt's NFL Draft stock is surging, but he'll be a legend in Knoxville, Tennessee, long after his professional career comes to an end.
Cam Rising, Utah quarterback
USC's Caleb Williams entered as the prized quarterback and played phenomenally well in the Pac-12's biggest game of the year to this point, but Utah's Cam Rising won the bout with a legendary performance in the No. 15 Utes' 43-42 win over the No. 12 Trojans. Rising completed 29 of 43 passes for 415 yards and two touchdowns while also running for 60 yards and three more scores. His go-ahead 2-point conversion run with 48 seconds left served as the game-winning play, and it prevented Utah from falling to 4-3 after a loss at UCLA on Oct. 8.
Dalton Kincaid, Utah tight end
Rising's favorite target against the Trojans was senior tight end Dalton Kincaid, who caught 16 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown. Kincaid wasn't even the Utes' top pass-catching tight end entering the season -- that was Brant Kuithe, who was lost for the year because of a knee injury in the fourth game of the season. While Kincaid had always been a steady target for Rising, he'd surpassed 100 yards receiving just once and never caught more than seven passes in a game. He more than doubled those previous career-highs in a season-defining moment for his team.
Charlie Jones, Purdue receiver
In yet another indictment of the offensive woes at Iowa, Jones is absolutely going off at Purdue this season after transferring away from the Hawkeyes. The former two-star prospect began his career at Buffalo, and is now in his sixth season of college football. In seven games with the Boilermakers he's racked up more yards than he had previously in his entire career.
His 12 catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns helped lift Purdue to a 43-37 win over Nebraska, and the performance marked his fourth game of 100 yards or more this season. Jones leads the Big Ten in receptions with 62 and is tied for first in touchdown receptions with nine. The former Iowa receiver has scored more touchdowns by himself than the entire Iowa offense has so far this season.
Jayden Daniels, LSU quarterback
LSU's decision to bring in Jayden Daniels as a transfer from Arizona State seemed a little strange when the Tigers already had proven veteran Myles Brennan and two other highly touted scholarship quarterbacks on their roster. Daniels struggled over his last two seasons with the Sun Devils after a breakout freshman season in 2019, and it seemed like the Tigers might have better alternatives on the roster.
First-year coach Brian Kelly should be commended for identifying Daniels and sticking with him; he is playing quality football for the 5-2 Tigers. Daniels totaled six touchdowns in LSU's 45-35 win at Florida -- three passing and three running -- while throwing for 378 yards on 24-of-32 passing. After lighting up the Gators, Daniels is on track to match or exceed most of his numbers from that 2019 season, even while playing against tougher competition in the SEC.
Bryce Young, Alabama quarterback
Young gave the nation an impressive reminder of why he is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner by returning from a shoulder injury to throw for 455 yards while leading Alabama back from an 18-point deficit in a 52-49 loss at Tennessee. It was uncertain all week whether he would play after missing the Crimson Tide's win over Texas A&M on Oct. 8, but if he was dealing with pain, it was not evident against the Vols. Though his performance came in a losing effort, Young looked every bit the type of star quarterback who can lead Alabama to redemption.
Arguably his best play in the Tennessee game did not register in the box score but still showcased the type of dynamism that makes Young one of the sport's most dazzling talents. With Alabama facing a third-and-goal from the 16-yard-line and trailing 34-28 in the third quarter, Young evaded a swarm of Tennessee pass rushers to keep a busted play alive. Then, once he found daylight, he threw for the end zone where Crimson Tide receiver Ja'Corey Brooks drew a pass interference penalty on the Vols that set up a go-ahead Alabama score on the next play.
Arik Gilbert, Georgia tight end
As the No. 10 overall prospect in the Class of 2020 and freshman All-SEC performer at LSU that season, Georgia tight end Arik Gilbert once seemed destined for an All-American college career and NFL stardom. A different script has played out over the last two seasons, however, and that's why it was great to see Gilbert return to the end zone in No. 1 Georgia's 55-0 win over Vanderbilt. Gilbert did not play for the Bulldogs last season during their national championship run while working through what Georgia coach Kirby Smart deemed "personal issues," and it's obvious the talented redshirt sophomore has been through a lot off the field.
Gilbert may never reclaim the trajectory he once enjoyed, but it was great to see him get in the end zone against the Commodores. The reaction of Gilbert's teammates to his touchdown was an underrated and touching moment from the Week 7 slate.