In the Week Fourteen edition of the Splendid Seven, we are looking at seven players that stood out to me the most during this week’s conference championship games.
SPLENDID SEVEN – WEEK FOURTEEN
1 – Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
Roadrunner senior corner Tariq Woolen is an incredibly long and smooth athlete. Listed at 6’4” and 205, Woolen uses his length extremely well. He wasn’t targeted a ton by WKU but he did break up a pass in the end zone. Woolen aided UTSA in winning their first CUSA championship with two solo tackles and two PBUs.
2 – Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky
Zappe and his teammates may have come out on the losing end of the game with UTSA but it wasn’t without another stellar effort by the Hilltoppers passer. Zappe was 36/59 for 577 yards and four TDs. He also was intercepted twice. He finished the year completing just shy of 70% of his passes, throwing for 5545 yards, and 56 touchdowns. Zappe still has the bowl game left and then will be one of the eight QBs at the Senior Bowl.
3 – Siaki Ika, DL, Baylor
The Baylor redshirt sophomore nose tackle flashed multiple times against Oklahoma State. Ika, listed at 6’4” 350-pounds, is a hard man to move. The transfer from LSU made several plays in the backfield and helped Baylor win the Big 12 championship. Ika had four tackles (three solos) and 2.5 TFLs. I doubt we will see him in this year’s draft class but definitely file his name away for the 2023 class.
4 – Malcolm Rodriguez, LB, Oklahoma State
It seems every time I looked up to see the OSU defense, Rodriguez was making a tackle. The 5th-year senior recorded 12 tackles (8 solos), 1.5 TFLs, and forced a fumble against Baylor. Rodriguez is a little undersized (5’11”) but he diagnoses quickly. He should hear his name called on day three.
5 – Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
Pierce only caught two balls (65 yards) against Houston but he impressed me in his ability to get open. You normally do not see 6’3” 215-pound wide receivers get open the way that he can. Pierce will inevitably draw comparisons to Cooper Kupp as a prospect. Pierce is also a star on special teams. He is expected to make a big rise up draft boards after the Senior Bowl.
6 – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Jameson Williams had 15 catches in two years at Ohio State. Now he is on the verge of winning the Biletnikoff Award and being a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Williams is stupid fast in the open field. He is capable of scoring any time he catches the ball. Before yesterday, the Georgia defense was undentable. Williams proceeded to not only dent them but smash right through them. He torched the Dawgs for seven catches, 184 yards, and two scores. Alabama is now the #1 seed in the College Football Playoff.
7 – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
As usual this season, Kenny Pickett showed off his arm talent. He was 20/33 for 253 yards and two scores. However, it is his athleticism showed on a Td run against Wake Forest that is garnering him all of the attention these days. You can argue all day whether the play should have been allowed or not but you can’t argue Pickett’s running ability afterward.