Mississippi State's KJ Costello Headlines Week 1 SEC Football Players of the Week
To no surprise, Mississippi State University quarterback KJ Costello was named the Southeastern Conference's Offensive Player of the Week on Monday morning, after obliterating the LSU defense for 623 passing yards and five touchdowns, earning a 44-34 road victory for the Bulldogs.
Florida linebacker Ventrell Miller earned the player of the week nod on the defensive side of the ball from the conference, in thanks to his stellar performance against Ole Miss, recording 15 tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack in the Gators' 51-35 victory.
Georgia's Jake Camarda was named the specialist of the week, while Auburn's Jaylin Simpson, Florida's Brett Heggie, and Tennessee's Deandre Johnson took home freshman, offensive line, and defensive line players of the week.
Here is the full release from the SEC:
K.J. Costello, QB, Mississippi State
- After a record-breaking debut, graduate transfer senior quarterback K.J. Costello was named the Walter Camp FBS National Offensive Player of the Week on Sunday. Costello began his career as a Bulldog by propelling State to a 44-34 win on the road against defending national champion No. 6 LSU. Operating in head coach Mike Leach's air raid offense, he threw for 623 yards, shattering the MSU and SEC single-game passing yards record. His 623 yards also ranks 11th in NCAA history.
- Costello completed 36 passes on 60 attempts, which were also MSU school records. He matched the program record for passing touchdowns with five. Costello completed 15 passes of 20 yards or more and found 10 different receivers during the game. He kept the offense rolling on third downs, going 7-of-11 passing for 194 yards. He also added three touchdowns, including a 24-yard strike to Osirus Mitchell with 3:39 left in the game that made the score 44-34.
- Spreading out the passing attack, Costello led three Bulldogs to career-high receiving days. Mitchell finished with 183 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. Kylin Hill and JaVonta Payton both set career highs in catches and yardage. Hill tallied eight receptions for 158 yards and one score, while Payton caught six passes for 122 yards. It was the second time in program history that a trio of Bulldogs eclipsed the century mark in receiving yards, with Joe Morrow (117), De'Runnya Wilson (105) and Fred Ross (102) completing the feat for the first time in the 2014 Orange Bowl vs. Georgia Tech on Dec. 31.
Ventrell Miller, LB, Florida
- Miller posted 15 tackles, 13 solo and two assisted, on Saturday in Florida's 51-35 victory at ole Miss. Miller also collected two tackles-for-loss (17 yards) and one sack (11 yards).
- With his 15 tackles, Miller had the most tackles in the Southeastern Conference over the weekend and was one of only two players in the SEC to post double-digit solo tackles.
- Miller is also tied for No. 5 in tackles-for-loss and tied for No. 8 in sacks in the conference.
Jake Camarda, P, Georgia
- Camarda punted seven times for an average of 49.9 yards (second nationally) and for a 47.0 net (fourth nationally), including a 63 yarder, during the Bulldogs' 37-10 win at Arkansas.
- He dropped five of them at the 11-yard line or better (11, 10, 9, 7, 1).
- Camarda finished with only one touchback, four punts of 50 yards or longer and forced three fair catches.
Jaylin Simpson, DB, Auburn
- Four tackles and one TFL (-6) with one pass break up in Auburn's 29-13 win over #23 Kentucky
- Made his first career start
Brett Heggie, C, Florida
- Heggie graded out as the top offensive lineman for the Gators in their 51-35 win at Ole Miss on Saturday. Heggie anchored an offensive line that helped Florida gain 642 total yards (446 passing and 196 rushing), which is a school record for yards against an SEC opponent.
- The Gators are No. 1 in the SEC in scoring offense, rushing offense and total offense, and are No. 2 in the SEC in passing offense and passing efficiency. Florida averaged 8.7 yards per play, which is No. 1 in the SEC.
- Heggie helped provide protection for Kyle Trask who threw for 416 yards and six touchdowns, completing 30-of-42 passes with no turnovers. At center, Heggie makes the calls and is a leader on the line.
Deandre Johnson, Edge, Tennessee
- Johnson, making his third career start, delivered the best game of his career in a 31-27 win at South Carolina. The edge rusher finished with a career-high six tackles, a career-best 2.5 sacks for a loss of 11 yards and one forced fumble.
- The 2.5 sacks led all SEC players in Week 1 and were the most by a Vol since Darrell Taylor had four against Kentucky on Nov. 10, 2018. Johnson's forced fumble in the second quarter stalled a Gamecocks drive.
- Two of his sacks came on third down, including a critical one in the fourth quarter.