SEC Football: Five Breakout Offensive Players in Week Three
5 SEC Week Three Breakout Performers on Offense
The SEC is made up of dominant players on both sides of the ball that can break out each week and have brilliant performances. This 2013 season has proved that with the impressive performances we've seen thus far this season.
In week one, Alabama wide receiver and return specialist Christion Jones became the first Crimson Tide player to score on a reception, punt return and kick return in the same game against Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A kickoff classic. Jones scored on a 72-yard return with just two minutes into the game, while going for a 94-yard ride on a kickoff return in the latter part of the first half to become the first Crimson Tide player to score two touchdowns off returns since 1944. The junior receiver scored the Tide's only offensive touchdown in the late third quarter from a tight spiral by Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron to cap off an impressive performance in Atlanta last Saturday.
LSU senior gunslinger Zach Mettenberger wowed the Tiger faithful and nation with his incredible five passing touchdown performance last week against UAB in Baton Rouge. Mettenberger finished the contest throwing 16-for-19 for 282 yards with a program record of five scores passing the rock. He comes into this week second in the SEC in passing yards, passer rating and is tied for first with six touchdowns this season. He has passed the 250-yard mark in two consecutive contests this season. Mettenberger's performance will be hard to follow this week against Kent State, but anything is possible in a Cam Cameron offense.
See which SEC players broke out in week three.
5. Brandon Wilds-RB-South Carolina
South Carolina redshirt sophomore running back Brandon Wilds had a career high 65 receiving yards and first touchdown reception going for 33 yards in his team's 35-25 win over Vanderbilt. Wilds played sparingly last week against Georgia, only figuring into 19 yards of all-purpose yards. In week three Wilds looked like a spitting image of his old self in 2011, showing off nice cuts and terrific ball skills as a pass catcher. Wilds had three games over 100 rushing yards in 2011 as a true freshman, but a high ankle sprain ruined his chances at extensive time in South Carolina's backfield in 2012. Wilds currently seats in the top five of rushing and receiving yards on the Gamecock team. Both he and Bruce Ellington will have to be accounted for by defenses in the SEC this season.
4. Evan Engram-TE-Ole Miss
The freshman tight end has now started his team's first three games, including the season opener at Vanderbilt, with fellow freshman receiver Laquon Treadwell on offense. Engram's emergence has been spectacular for an Ole Miss team that had no scholarship players at the tight end position coming back from last season. Engram’s 175 receiving yards leads the team, an average of almost 16 yards a catch.
Engram compiled 44 receiving yards with a touchdown in the Rebels' 44-23 win over Texas Saturday. The Ole Miss offense faced a Longhorns defense that sent 679 total yards to BYU last week. Engram seemed to have heightened his blocking ability in week three, springing long runs for Jeff Scott the entire night. The Longhorns had given up 177 yards through the air, but it was clear there was no Texas defender that could compete with the ideal size, great hands and elite speed for a tight end of Engram's caliber late Saturday. Ole Miss lost tight ends Ferbia Allen and Jamal Mosley from that 7-6 team in 2012, but many think Ole Miss is shining even brighter with them both gone after Engram's Texas performance.
3. Jojo Kemp-RB-Kentucky
Kentucky’s offense have had their way with a Miami (OH) and Louisville defense the past two weeks. The Cats' 675 total yards against Miami (OH) was the third-most total offense in program history. Much of the production has to do with true freshman speedster at running back, Jojo Kemp, going for career-highs and team-leading rushes in back to back weeks. UK might have returning running backs Raymond Sanders, Jonathan George and Dyshawn Mobley, but the future is solely in Kemp's hands.
Kemp should get increasing carries in the following weeks after his 80 yard rushing effort in commonwealth showdown with Louisville Saturday. Louisville was playing with house money with their offense that features quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in Week Three as Kentucky gave up almost 500 total yards in the Cats' 27-13 loss. Kentucky had rushed for more than 200 yards in each of their first two games but featured only 162 yards against Louisville. Kemp, the freshman out of Deland, Florida, though, was walking on sunshine against a defense ranked in the top 25 against the run, getting 16 yards a pop.
2. Nick Marshall-QB-Auburn
This week against Mississippi State, Marshall was the game's leading passer with a weekly total of 339 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Gus Malzahn had instructed a Tigers offense that ran wild for 596 combined yards against Washington State and Arkansas State. Auburn has built themselves a four-headed monster in the running game. Between running backs Tre Mason, Corey Grant, Cameron Artis-Payne and Marshall, Auburn might be the most efficient rushing attack bar none in this already short season. Everyone besides Marshall rank in the top 10 in running yards in the SEC, yet Marshall has shown that he can loosen up the defense with his acrobatic running style.
Marshall looked relaxed out of the shotgun formation, airing it out, as we saw Malzahn breaking soil on this passing offense in the 24-20 win over the Bulldogs. If Marshall can improve just a little bit, this passing attack would give Malzahn a great wrinkle for LSU in week 4. Finding tight end C.J Uzomah or receiver Sammie Coates for the junior college transfer Marshall will rein supreme for another career day against LSU. Marshall threw for 3,142 yards and scampered for 1,095 yards last season at Garden City community college.
1. DeAndrew White-WR-Alabama
There's no telling how great White would've been last season if he didn't suffer a season-ending injury in 2012. But the Houston native has already broke out so far in 2013 with his performances on special teams against Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome and his team leading four receptions for 82 receiving yards against Texas A&M on Saturday. White came back to the Lone Star state where he has thrived in and put up another dazzling effort. Last season, White put his best foot forward the last time the team went into the Lone Star state before Saturday with eight catches and 105 yards receiving in Alabama’s season opener versus Michigan at AT&T Stadium. White's playmaking ability and athleticism in the open field was too much for the Aggies secondary to handle. White scored on a 44-yard pass from Tide quarterback to square the game at 14 in the second quarter, averaging 20.5 yards a catch in the Alabama 49-42 win.