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SEC Top Performers: Week 3

Taking a look at the league’s players of the week, as well as names to watch out for.

Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who was a thorn in South Carolina’s side last year, blew LSU out of the water in Week 3.
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The SEC league office named its players of the week Monday, and unsurprisingly, a Gamecock did not make the list for the first time this season.

OFFENSE: QB Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State: Fitzgerald has continued his evolution into a starter the Bulldogs can do big things with. He went 15 of 23 for 180 yards and two touchdowns with 88 rushing yards and two more scores in a titanic win against LSU. Much has been made of the SEC East being such an open division, but the West may also be getting more interesting than we realized.

DEFENSE: S LaDarius Wiley, Vanderbilt, and CB Derrick Beaty Jr., Kentucky: Wiley notched 11 tackles and an interception for the Commodores in their surprising upset of Kansas State. Beaty led the Wildcats with eight tackles, including two on pivotal fourth downs, and added a pick against...eh, it’s not important.

SPECIAL TEAMS: K Austin MacGinnis, Kentucky: MacGinnis made all three of his field goals and both PATs in an enviable performance.

FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: DB C.J. Henderson, Florida: Henderson came up with a huge pick-six in the fourth quarter for the Gators in their wild win against Tennessee.

KEEP AN EYE ON ‘EM

QB Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt: Kyle Shurmur Watch is now looking legitimately worrisome. His line wasn’t as efficient this week, considering the competition, but he still turned in a 14-of-23 passing performance for 205 yards and a touchdown. Shurmur also added a late rushing score to cement Vandy’s big win.

RB John Kelly, Tennessee: 19 carries for 141 yards, six catches for 96 yards, two touchdowns, and an absolutely brutal stiffarm. The Vols lost a tough one, but Kelly was an incredible bright spot who could transform their offense moving forward.

QB Feleipe Franks, Florida: If you were like me and missed his game-winning Hail Mary because you assumed it was going into overtime — and hell, even if you saw it — it’s absolutely worth watching:

Franks finished 18 of 28 for 212 yards and two touchdowns, though he was picked off once. If he continues to channel Will Grier, the Gators may have something approximating a quarterback again.