Instant analysis: Tracking CFB's top 10 players in Week 5

Editor's note: In this space we'll track the top 10 players in college football (based on NFL.com analyst Chad Reuter's rankings) through the fifth weekend of the season. Here you'll find each player's final stats and analysis of their performances from NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein. The post will be updated throughout the day as games conclude. All times listed are Eastern.

Tracking CFB's top 10 players: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4


1. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville (at Clemson, Saturday, 8 p.m.)
Last week: No. 1
Week 5 stats: 27-of-44 for 295 yards, 1 TD, I INT. 31 carries for 162 yards (5.2 average), 2 TDs.
Zierlein's analysis: Even in a loss, this game by Jackson might have been his most impressive of the season. Clemson was determined to not only set hard containment edges against Jackson, but also hit him and frustrate him on every play possible. Jackson seemed overwhelmed early in the game as sacks mounted, but he refused to give in and had a strong second half with two rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown. Overall, Jackson finished with 457 total yards and showed off a sling-shot arm that got the ball to his receivers in a hurry. From an arm-talent standpoint, Jackson simply looked better than Watson. He lost the game, but I found out something about Jackson's football character tonight with the way he fought through adversity.

2. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M (will not play in Week 5)
Last week: No. 2

3. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (will not play in Week 5)
Last week: No. 3

4. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (vs. Louisville, Saturday, 8 p.m.)
Last week: No. 4
Week 5 stats: 20-of-31 for 306 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs. 14 carries for 91 yards (6.5 average).
Zierlein's analysis: Watson leads the Tigers to yet another home win, but it wasn't the headline performance I had hoped to see, despite his 397 total yards and five passing touchdowns. I know that sounds crazy, but his game was good, not great. To be fair, one of his three interceptions was on a blatant drop by his receiver, while another was on a deflected pass on a two-point conversion. Still, Watson had issues with ball placement and getting the ball out on time. Watson missed a sure-fire touchdown to Mike Williams and instead turned it into an interception in the end zone thanks to a poorly thrown ball. What I did like from Watson is that he had a nice "bucket-throw" deep-ball touchdown to Deon Cain and he was able to re-ignite his offense at times with his running ability. Watson finished what he started, but I still want to see him put together a big game from start to finish.

5. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (at Washington, Friday, 9 p.m.)
Last week: No. 5
Week 5 stats: 12 carries for 49 yards (4.1 average). 5 catches for 30 yards (6.0 average). 5 kickoff returns for 144 yards (28.8 average).
Zierlein's analysis: The highly anticipated Pac-12 matchup fizzled early with Stanford going down in flames and the offensive line taking Christian McCaffrey with them. McCaffrey's all-purpose yards will look good at the end of the night, but that's because he had so much work returning kickoffs. Washington was able to get consistent penetration and prevent McCaffrey from getting to the second level, where his footwork and vision are able to make the magic. With just 17 total offensive touches for 79 yards and no touchdowns, McCaffrey had very little impact on what was one of the worst games Stanford has played under David Shaw.

6. Jabrill Peppers, S/LB, Michigan (vs. Wisconsin, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.)
Last week: No. 7
Week 5 stats: 3 tackles. 2 punt returns for 19 yards. 1 kickoff return for 14 yards.
Zierlein's analysis: As expected, Peppers was lined up all over the field defensively but he failed produce much today from a statistical standpoint (2 total tackles, none for losses). The Wolverines gave Peppers Wildcat snaps and Peppers made correct reads all four times by handing the ball off rather than keeping it. While he didn't produce a big play in the punt- or kick-return game, Peppers' willingness to fearlessly attack at top speed is so impressive. One thing I noticed about Peppers is that he really struggled at times to disengage from blocks once he was squared up. At times, he would backpedal away from the line of scrimmage just to try and keep himself as clean as possible.

7. DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame (at Syracuse, Saturday, 12 p.m.)
Last week: No. 8
Week 5 stats: 23-of-35 for 471 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT. 1 rushing TD.
Zierlein's analysis: It was an absolute monster day for Kizer as the Irish found themselves in a shootout from early on in this game. Kizer's first throw of the day was a touchdown where he drove his throw in the deep middle of the field on a crossing route. His second touchdown pass, a 67-yard strike, showed his ability to side step pressure and then fire off a quick-release deep-ball touchdown. Kizer was in command and showed off good accuracy and decision-making.

8. Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State (at Indiana, Saturday, 8 p.m.)
Last week: No. 9
Week 5 stats: 5 tackles (0.5 for loss)
Zierlein's analysis: When you look at McDowell's long frame and see him in his No. 4 jersey, it's easy to assume he's too thin to play the defensive tackle spot, but that's a mistake. McDowell showed off his outstanding motor and unique ability to slither between blockers against an Indiana team that was without its top offensive lineman, Dan Feeney. McDowell also showed how a good form tackle is made, but was ejected for it on what was ruled a targeting penalty. When he was in the game, McDowell played his nose tackle spot but was able to rush from the edge on third downs and showed ability doing it.

9. Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama (vs. Kentucky, Saturday, 7 p.m.)
Last week: No. 10
Week 5 stats: 8 tackles (1 sack).
Zierlein's analysis: Allen showed off his typical high-end technique, which has become the calling card of many Alabama linemen over the last few years. Allen also logged a sack in this one. However, the thing that stood out to me was that Allen appeared to have his hands full in controlling the point of attack when he was bumped inside to the tackle spot. Some scouts believe Allen is caught between defensive end and defensive tackle, so proving that he can hold up against power players inside is important in terms of his draft value.

10. Teez Tabor, CB, Florida (at Vanderbilt, Saturday, 12 p.m.)
Last week: Knocking on the door
Week 5 stats: 1 tackle, 1 INT.
Zierlein's analysis: Tabor wasn't challenged by the woeful Vanderbilt offense. Vandy completed just 12 of 32 passes with one of the misfires landing in Tabor's hands. Tabor, playing off coverage, read the deep in-cut route and closed in front of the wide receiver to snare the interception and shut down the Vanderbilt drive.

6 knocking on the door

Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC (vs. Arizona State, Saturday, 8:30 p.m.)
Last week: No. 6
Week 5 stats: 5 tackles, 1 pass breakup. 3 punt returns for 16 yards. 3 kickoff returns for 62 yards.
Zierlein's analysis: Jackson smothered his Arizona State targets for most of the evening as a cover man, but he was unable to make any magic as a return man on his three kickoff and three punt returns.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (vs. North Carolina, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.)
Last week: Knocking on the door
Week 5 stats: 29 carries for 140 yards (4.8 average), 3 TDs. 6 catches for 106 yards
Zierlein's analysis: Cook finished with 35 touches and 246 all-purpose yards. He was more workhorse than game-breaker, but his burst was obvious when there were holes.

Derwin James, S, Florida State (Won't play in Week 5)
Last week: Knocking on the door

Jamal Adams, S, LSU (vs. Missouri, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)
Last week: Unranked
Week 5 stats: 4 tackles, 2 pass breakups.
Zierlein's analysis: It was a typically strong effort from Adams against Missouri. LSU is utilizing him in plenty of 2-deep and single-high safety looks, which helps his draft value as everyone already knows he can bang in the box. Adams had two pass deflections in this one.

Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame (at Syracuse, Saturday, 12 p.m.)
Last week: Knocking on the door
Zierlein's analysis: It was a solid performance from McGlinchey. He never allowed a sack and wasn't challenged all that strongly.

Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama (vs. Kentucky, Saturday, 7 p.m.)
Last week: Knocking on the door
Zierlein's analysis: Robinson had a nice game. It looked like he was in control with his pass sets and didn't do as much leaning and lunging as I've seen him do at times this year.

Dropped out: Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett (knocking on the door last week)

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.