Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer 477d

Ranking the top five pass catchers in the SEC

Earlier, we looked at the best pass-catching groups in the SEC. Now, we'll take a look at the five best pass catchers the league has to offer.

1. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M: No SEC skill-position player has produced more over the last two seasons than Kirk. He had more receptions (163) and all-purpose yards (3,207) in the 2015 and 2016 seasons combined than anyone else in the league. He's a reliable receiver, an explosive punt returner and willing to do just about anything else. In 2017, can he turn in his best year yet? Don't bet against the hard-working Kirk.

2. Calvin Ridley, Alabama: It might have been a "down" year for Ridley last season (he had 72 catches for 769 yards after going for 89 and 1,045, respectively, in 2015) but he was still one of the SEC's best in terms of hauling in the football (he was tied for second in the league in receptions). If Jalen Hurts improves as a downfield passer this season, Ridley's numbers will probably more closely resemble those from his freshman season.

3. J'Mon Moore, Missouri: Here's a name you wouldn't have expected to see here at this time last season. Missouri's significant offensive improvement last season was made possible in part by the play of Moore, who led the SEC in receiving yards (1,039) and caught eight touchdowns. This season, with almost the whole offense -- including quarterback Drew Lock -- returning, should be even better. And don't think for a second that Moore's stats came up against inferior competition: of his six 100-yard receiving games, five came against Power-5 conference competition, including four SEC foes.

4. Antonio Callaway, Florida: A quality deep threat, Callaway can be a gamebreaker. He has 22 receptions of 20 or more yards over the last two seasons (Kirk and Ridley are the only returning SEC receivers with more) and is good after the catch (he has averaged 7.39 yards after the catch in his career, fourth among active SEC receivers). He turned in a solid sophomore season (54 receptions, 721 yards) but if Florida can be better at quarterback, Callaway can produce even more.

5. Deebo Samuel, South Carolina: Samuel missed three games last season but was still productive (59 catches, 783 yards), averaging 78.3 receiving yards per game, fourth-best in the SEC. His best production came once quarterback Jake Bentley entered the lineup, including all three of his 100-yard receiving games. With Bentley looking even better heading into 2017, this fall could be one of the 1,000-yard variety for Samuel. Oh, and Samuel's a pretty good kickoff-return man, too (26.9 yards per return, including a touchdown).

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