The SEC season finally got into full swing on Saturday, as all 14 teams played conference games between each other. Although plenty of draft prospects raised their respective stocks with impressive performances, here are five that were particularly dominant in the SEC’s opening slate.
Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
The first wide receiver to go for over 200 yards against Florida since Amari Cooper did it back in 2014, Moore kicked off the season with a blistering 10-224-0 line, shredding the Gators secondary is almost every way imaginable. Maybe most-known for his fake-urinating touchdown celebration from last season, the Ole Miss wideout proved that he’s a legitimate draft prospect and one that could potentially make his way into the Day 2 conversation with a terrific season. He’s undersized and strictly a slot-only pass-catcher, but the volume of targets are going to be there in head coach Lane Kiffin’s new system. If Saturday was any indication, Moore is going to take advantage of those opportunities in a major way.
An uber-athlete with insane amounts of talent, Waddle showcased his elite potential on Saturday evening, cooking Missouri to the tune of an 8-134-2 line. Making a few absolutely extraordinary catches—including a leaping grab between two defenders on a post route—Waddle benefited massively from expanded targets, showing just what he can do when given the chance. It was unfair to punish him for his lack of production playing behind first-rounders Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy last year, and Waddle made that abundantly clear with this performance.
Quarterback Kyle Trask also deserves a ton of praise for his sparkling six-touchdown performance, but if I was going to choose one player from Florida this past weekend to highlight, Pitts would no doubt be my choice. A Darren Waller-clone with elite versatility from the tight end position, Pitts was quite literally unguardable against Ole Miss, roasting the defense for an astounding 8-170-4 line. Showing terrific long speed in the open field, quality contortion skills in tight quarters, and dependable hands at the catch point, Pitts made an extremely convincing case for TE1 with this performance, literally displaying everything you could possibly want in an opening week matchup. No, the Gators prospect isn’t the best of blockers, but when you can align inside, outside, and virtually anywhere, that probably isn’t going to matter that much. He showed why on Saturday.
After a surprising upset win over LSU in Mike Leach’s first game as head coach, a lot of Mississippi State players—particularly wide receiver Osiris Mitchell and quarterback K.J. Costello—could be considered potential risers for the sake of this article. It was the Hill, though, that made the most noise, especially in the passing game. Racking up eight receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield, Hill looked comfortable as a hands-catcher and extremely feisty as a ball-carrier, running for an additional 34 yards on seven carries in the ground game. Physical and tenacious, he was as lethal as ever when it came to quick jukes and sharp cuts in tight quarters, showcasing that he can potentially be an every-down back at the next level. His pass protection still needs a bit of work—and it’s something we probably won’t get a chance to see much of with Leach as his coach—but this was a tremendous game for Hill. If he continues to impress at this rate, there should be no reason why he isn’t considered a top-five running back in this class.
Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
A defender who only earned limited reps a season ago, Enagbare was nearly unblockable against Tennessee, racking up two sacks and a forced fumble from South Carolina’s “BUCK” linebacker spot. Only picking up 3.5 sacks and 27 total tackles as a true sophomore, this breakout performance was certainly a surprising one, as Enagbare was seemingly on very few draft radars entering the season. At 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, he certainly looks the part, however, and on Saturday he showed just what type of havoc his stout and stocky frame could create. In a class lacking some pass-rush depth, he’s a definite name to keep an eye on moving forward.