Catch them if you can.
With quick feet and electric speed, the return men of the SEC are among some of the best in college football, capable of turning the tide of a game any time the ball changes hands. Here a few of the conference’s top names to watch on special teams in 2016:
Evan Berry, Tennessee
With 804 total yards on kickoff returns last season, Berry was a vital piece of Tennessee’s special teams success. The younger brother of Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowler and former Tennessee star Eric Berry, Evan flirted with the single-season record for kickoff return average for most of 2015, ultimately finishing just short of the NCAA all-time single-season kickoff return average record. His three return touchdowns last season tied the school record, set by Willie Gault in 1980.
Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia
Recruited as a receiver, McKenzie excels as a returner. He has scored four touchdowns on punt returns and once on a kickoff return in his two years at UGA, and has tied two school records — one for career special teams return touchdowns (five) and another for career punt return touchdowns (four). McKenzie scored on both a punt and a kick return in the same game against Kentucky in 2014, becoming the 12th player in FBS history to do so.
Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Kirk stormed on the scene as a freshman in 2015, catching passes, kicks and punts on the way to leading the Aggies in all-purpose yards. He ran two punt returns back for touchdowns and put the Aggies in good field position on kickoff returns. Already a pivotal part of the team, he will become more vital to Texas A&M as his career progresses. On a roster that is known for speed, this could be the final year that Kirk is featured in the return game before another player takes the reins.
Antonio Callaway, Florida
The reason for Callaway’s absence from the team has been kept fairly quiet, but given the recent alteration to the wide receiver’s suspension, there is hope that Callaway could be back on the field sooner than later. He racked up 435 yards and two touchdowns in the punt return game while also averaging 26.33 yards per kickoff rerturn. A speedy receiver with strong hands, Callaway also is a key piece in Florida’s offense. He caught 35 passes for a freshman-record 678 yards and four touchdowns last season.