Predicting top performers in the SEC for week five

The SEC slate cools down a bit in week five after an exciting week four. Who is primed for big performances this weekend?

Members of Tennessee's defense sit with the student section in Neyland Stadium after the Vols' win over Florida on Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Sumner Gilliam.

After an exciting week four in the SEC, the conference comes back down a bit this week with some less impactful games. Fresh off ending its losing streak against Florida, Tennessee travels to Athens to face Georgia in the only matchup between two SEC ranked teams this week. Many will also be watching LSU take on Missouri in what will be the first game for the Tigers under interim head coach Ed Orgeron since Les Miles was fired. Here are some players in the conference to watch this week.

Trevor Knight, Texas A&M QB

Trevor Knight was outstanding in the Aggies’ 45-24 win over Arkansas last Saturday. The transfer signal-caller threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns while running for 157 yards and two scores on the night. That was all against a nationally-ranked Arkansas team that beaten high-powered TCU two weeks earlier. This week, Knight and the Aggies travel to face South Carolina, and there is no reason to believe that his gaudy numbers won’t continue. The Gamecocks lost to one of the worst teams in the conference last week in Lexington, not to mention giving up 519 total yards of offense in a narrow win over East Carolina earlier this season. Trevor Knight will be poised and ready to feast on the Gamecocks’ defense.

Jalen Hurts, Alabama QB

The freshman quarterback for the Crimson Tide has looked impressive so far this season. Through four games, Hurts has thrown for 727 yards and has run for 251 more. Against Ole Miss alone, he managed 304 yards of total offense for the game. Hurts will continue to put up big numbers this week as Alabama plays what will basically be a scrimmage against Kentucky. The Wildcats gave up 500 yards of offense to New Mexico State, a Sun Belt team that went 3-9 last year. Hurts will be able to pick apart the Wildcat defense on Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Derek Barnett, Tennessee DE

If you watched Tennessee’s win over Florida closely last Saturday, you would have noticed that Derek Barnett’s number was called a lot. Barnett took over the game for the Vols’ defense against the Gators. The junior from Nashville was constantly putting pressure on fill-in Gator quarterback Austin Appleby, finishing with five tackles and two sacks on the afternoon. The Vols take on the Georgia Bulldogs this week, and for the Bulldogs, the offensive line has been a weak point so far this season. For an offense built on the strength of their running backs, the Bulldogs have had trouble getting the rushing attack going early during this season. Barnett will probably have some added motivation this week as he prepares to share the spotlight with Myles Garrett in College Station next week. Expect Derek Barnett to have a huge day in Athens for the Vols.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Photo by Sumner Gilliam