Unlike some past seasons, SEC offenses are doing a pretty fair job of lighting up scoreboards. As the season hits its final stretch, we thought it’d be fun to choose an offensive MVP from each SEC squad. Bear in mind that there’s still three or four games left, so much can change. But as of now, here are our picks for offensive MVPs of the SEC.
Alabama: Jalen Hurts, QB
He’s not the most finished player in the sport, but Hurts is one of the toughest and most dependable. He has passed for 1,406 yards with 10 touchdowns and a single interception. Add in another 616 yards and seven scores on the ground, and you see why Hurts is the straw that stirs Bama’s drink.
Arkansas: Cole Kelley, QB
It’s odd for a guy who began the season as the backup QB to be the team’s MVP. But Kelley, who has passed for 1,002 yards and eight scores against three interceptions, has been one of very few bright spots on this team. No Razorback player has 500 yards rushing or receiving, and Kelley has outplayed the injured Austin Allen.
Auburn: Kerryon Johnson, RB
QB Jarrett Stidham has been all that he was expected to be. But Johnson, with fellow star Kamryn Pettway missing a good amount of time, has been the standout. Johnson missed two games himself — including the Clemson loss — but in the seven he has played, he has rushed for 868 yards and 15 touchdowns. If Auburn upsets Georgia or Bama, Johnson will be at the middle of it.
Florida: Malik Davis, RB
Frankly, nobody on this Gators offense has really stood out. Davis, who played in just seven games before suffering a season-ending knee injury, was expected to be added depth behind Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine. Instead, his 526 rushing yards and 6.7 yards per carry are best on the team.
Georgia: Nick Chubb, RB
Sony Michel has been all-SEC good, and freshman QB Jake Fromm would be a solid choice. But Chubb has answered the bell for the Bulldogs whenever needed. Finally healthy (knock on wood), he has 867 yards rushing and nine touchdowns despite sharing the backfield with a host of other talented backs. Georgia has a lot of weapons, but stopping Chubb is every defense’s first priority.
Kentucky: Benny Snell, RB
QB Stephen Johnson might be the heart of this team, but Snell is the guts. The hard-charging sophomore’s 897 rushing yards leads the league, and his 12 running touchdowns ties for second. With his next rushing touchdown, he will tie Kentucky’s all-time record in that category.
LSU: Derrius Guice, RB
He’s had an up and down season and missed a game, but Guice is still the home-run threat of this offense. His 782 rushing yards and six touchdowns are a testimony to how impressive he can be, despite splitting time in the LSU backfield.
Mississippi State: Nick Fitzgerald, QB
His passing has been kind of ho-hum (57 percent completions, 1,459 yards, 13 touchdowns, 10 interceptions), but Fitzgerald makes Hail State go on the ground, where he has 801 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. None of his receivers has reached 25 catches or 300 yards, but Fitzgerald and RB Aeris Williams keep the scoreboards glowing.
Missouri: Drew Lock, QB
Lock has always put up big numbers, but if he can lead Mizzou to a bowl, he might break Tim Couch’s SEC single-season passing yardage record (4,275). So far lock has hit 61 percent of his passes for 2,795 yards and 31 touchdowns, with only nine interceptions. So balanced is Lock in spreading the ball around that he has three receivers who could reach 1,000 yards.
Ole Miss: A.J. Brown, WR
The favorite was QB Shea Patterson, but after he went down with an injury, back-up Jordan Ta’amu has been fine — mostly because he has the best receiver corps in the league. Brown leads the SEC with 48 catches for 830 yards, and his seven touchdowns are second in the league. He’s a big target and big-play threat from anywhere on the field.
South Carolina: Jake Bentley, QB
Bentley boosted Carolina’s offense in 2016, so it’s no surprise that he’s done the same this season. A 61 percent passer who he thrown for 1,986 yards and 14 touchdowns, Bentley also rushed for two more scores. Without his best offensive weapon (WR Deebo Samuel), Bentley has adjusted to lead Carolina to a second consecutive bowl berth.
Tennessee: John Kelly, RB
As tough as Tennessee’s season has been, it would be worse without Kelly. Not only does he lead the Vols with 694 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, he also leads the team in receptions with 27 catches for 250 more yards. Kelly has averaged 4.8 yards per carry. The rest of the Vols? Just 2.7.
Texas A&M: Christian Kirk, WR
A&M has had big games from Trayveon Williams and QB Kellen Mond, but its best player, game in and game out, is Kirk. His 42 catches for 455 yards and five touchdowns lead the team, and his skills as a kick and punt returner are also pivotal. He’s the irreplaceable element of this Aggie team.
Vanderbilt: Kyle Shurmur, QB
Everybody would have thought it would be Ralph Webb, but his senior season has been fairly quiet. Shurmur, on the other hand, has exploded to pass for 20 touchdowns and only three interceptions. If Vandy sneaks into a bowl again this season, it’ll be on Shurmur’s arm more than Webb’s fleet feet.