New offenses and big games have created big opportunities for top receivers in the SEC.
Missouri struggled to move the ball last season, as its top receiver only had 350 receiving yards. But since former Oklahoma offensive coordinator Josh Heupel joined the Tigers, the offense has become wildly productive. Four receivers already have more than 10 receptions this season, but one player has stood apart.
Texas A&M and Arkansas also featured an offensive battle, where multiple players made game-saving plays. Wide receiver performance across the board continues to improve as the season goes on.
As a reminder, this list remains fluid. The power ranking weighs a player’s most recent performance against their season stats. That means talented wide receivers will be left off after bad games. As the sample size continues to grow, this power ranking can get more accurate.
Here is our power ranking of the top receivers in the SEC after Week 4.
Bryan Edwards, South Carolina (2 catches for 16 yards); Jeff Badet, Kentucky (2 catches for 39 yards); ArDarius Stewart, Alabama (out)
10. DAMARKUS LODGE, Ole Miss
Previous ranking: Unranked
Last week: 2 catches for 72 yards, TD in 45-14 win over Georgia
Season: 7 catches, 133 yards, TD
Why he’s here: Lodge only had two catches against Georgia, but the performance was productive enough that it more than doubled his career totals. The highlight was a 55-yard touchdown reception in the end zone to put the win away. Lodge was one of the highest rated wide receivers coming out of high school a few years ago, and might be on the cusp of putting it all together.
9. CALVIN RIDLEY, Alabama
Previous ranking: No. 3
Last week: 1 catch for 5 yards in 48-0 win over Kent State
Season: 20 catches, 224 yards, 1 TD
Why he’s here: Ridley only caught one ball and was hurt against Kent State, but he still deserves a place on this list due to his season performance. The sophomore has 20 receptions and is the centerpiece of Alabama’s passing game.
8. DREW MORGAN, Arkansas
Previous ranking: Unranked
Last week: 9 catches for 86 yards in 45-24 loss to Texas A&M
Season: 24 catches, 254 yards, 1 TD
Why he’s here: Morgan continued to be a workhorse for Arkansas and ranked No. 4 in the SEC with 24 receptions on the year. Even though he failed to get into the end zone, Morgan has been a security blanket for Austin Allen through the first four games.
7. ISAIAH MCKENZIE, Georgia
Previous ranking: 1
Last week: 3 catches for 13 yards in 45-14 loss to Ole Miss
Season: 21 catches, 318 yards, 4 TDs; 7 carries, 57 yards, 1 TD
Why he’s here: McKenzie was barely targeted in a crushing loss to Ole Miss, but still ranks No. 4 in receiving yards among all wide receivers. True freshman quarterback Jacob Eason has thrown some shaky passes at times under pressure, but McKenzie has stepped up to quickly become a go-to receiver, even though he came into the year with just 16 career receptions.
6. KEON HATCHER, Arkansas
Previous ranking: No. 8
Last week: 3 catches for 77 yards, TD
Season: 14 catches, 281 yards, 3 TDs
Why he’s here: Hatcher had another strong performance and was the recipient of many of Austin Allen’s toughest passes under pressure. Hatcher’s ability to locate the ball was on display, even though it didn’t necessarily show up in the final score. The senior is well on his way to obliterating his previous career high of 558 receiving yards in a season – he has 281 through four games.
5. FRED ROSS, Mississippi State
Previous ranking: Unranked
Last week: 8 catches for 126 yards, 2 TDs
Season: 26 catches, 305 yards, 4 TD
Why he’s here: At long last, Ross had a breakout game and reminded fans what he could do in a win over Massachusetts. The senior was one of Dak Prescott’s top targets and had a 1,000-yard season in 2015, but he and Nick Fitzgerald had struggled to make a connection in the first three games.
4. JOSH MALONE, Tennessee
Previous ranking: No. 7
Last week: 4 catches for 91 yards, TD in 38-28 win over Florida
Season: 13 catches, 287 yards, 5 TDs
Why he’s here: Tennessee desperately needed a receiver to step up and help Josh Dobbs, and Malone has quickly become the guy. The junior made several plays in big spots, including a 42-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter to make it a two-score game. Malone’s emergence has opened up the offense significantly.
3. JOSH REYNOLDS, Texas A&M
Previous ranking: No. 4
Last week: 4 catches for 141 yards, TD in 45-24 win over Arkansas
Season: 17 catches, 370 yards, 3 TDs
Why he’s here: Christian Kirk was the featured receiver last year, but Reynolds might just steal that title from him. The senior has showed the speed and hands to be an elite player at this level. His crowning achievement in a big win over Arkansas was a 91-yard breakaway touchdown after getting backed up in Aggie territory that broke the game open.
2. ANTONIO CALLAWAY, Florida
Previous ranking: No. 10
Last week: 4 catches for 134 yards in 38-28 loss to Tennessee
Season: 17 catches, 335 yards, 2 TDs
Why he’s here: After a week on the sideline, Callaway reminded fans exactly how dynamic a player he can be. The sophomore caught four passes for 134 yards and made first-time Florida starter Austin Appleby feel comfortable through the first half. Tennessee eventually bested the Gators, and boneheaded special teams plays by Callaway played a part, but he is still establishing himself as one of the best in the conference.
1. J’MON MOORE, Missouri
Previous ranking: No. 2
Last week: 8 catches for 114 yards, 4 TDs
Season: 26 catches, 434 yards, 6 TDs
Why he’s here: It might have been against Delaware State, but Moore was dominant. Half of his catches went for touchdowns, including a 46-yarder against an FCS opponent. Moore had 350 receiving yards last season, but has already accumulated 434 yards this year through four games.