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SEC Top Performers: Week 1

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

Missouri State v Missouri
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock helped the Tigers put up all kinds of video game numbers against Missouri State, making him a lock for the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Week.
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The SEC league office named its players of the week Tuesday after the season’s opening slate of games. The list is headlined by Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, whose Tigers take on the Gamecocks this week, and also includes South Carolina’s own Deebo Samuel.

OFFENSE: QB Drew Lock, Missouri: Lock led the Tigers to a school-record 815 yards of total offense, a school-record 515 yards of single-game total offense, and matched an SEC record with seven passing touchdowns against FCS opponent Missouri State. He was pretty busy.

DEFENSE: LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, Alabama: Hamilton logged a team-high eight tackles, a team-high 3.5 tackles for loss, and added a sack for the Crimson Tide in its gradual, inevitable suffocation of Florida State. It’s another good season to not have Alabama on the schedule.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Southern Mississippi
Kentucky’s Denzil Ware was the Wildcats’ MVP against Southern Miss.
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

DEFENSIVE LINE: DE/LB Denzil Ware, Kentucky: Normally I’d skip over this particular subcategory, but since the Wildcats are a future opponent, it’s worth pointing out this guy had a monster of a game. He forced a fumble and recovered two more, including one that was a scoop-and-score for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown against Southern Miss. He also threw in a sack.

SPECIAL TEAMS: WR/KR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina: You already know, but in case you want to hear it again: Samuel ran the opening kickoff back 97 yards for a touchdown and racked up 83 yards and two scores on five catches.

FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: RB Chase Hayden, Arkansas: It looks like the Razorbacks could have yet another stud in their backfield, as the true freshman impressed with 120 yards and a touchdown against Florida A&M. He was the third Hawg to rush for at least 100 yards in his debut, joining solid company in Felix Jones and Alex Collins. He’s one to watch, as the Gamecocks will face Arkansas in October. Speaking of which...

KEEP AN EYE ON ‘EM

Here are some other players to start quietly worrying about, as they appear on South Carolina’s upcoming schedule.

RB Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M: Before the Aggies fell apart to UCLA in a mind-numbing meltdown that still defies description, Williams helped stake them to a 44-10 lead and finished with 203 yards, two touchdowns, and whatever this celebration is:

WR Marquez Callaway, Tennessee: The Volunteers have another Marquez making circus catches. Callaway only had four receptions in Tennessee’s double-overtime win against Georgia Tech, but they were good for 115 yards and two touchdowns — and came in critical spots for the Vols.

The Commodores could be more than just the Ralph Webb Show this season if Kyle Shurmur builds on a strong start.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

QB Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt: Now in his third year starting for the Commodores, Shurmur looked like a polished product against Middle Tennessee State. He went 20-of-28 passing, completing 13 of his first 14 attempts, for 296 yards and three touchdowns.

QB Jake Fromm, Georgia: After highly-touted starter Jacob Eason went down with a knee injury, the freshman Fromm stepped in and guided the Bulldogs past Appalachian State with a respectable performance: 10-of-15 passing for 143 yards and one touchdown. (Nick Chubb still plays for this team, after all.) Eason should be back at some point this season, and the Gamecocks won’t see Georgia until November, but this is a quarterback situation worth keeping tabs on.