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Georgia sophomore receiver Mecole Hardman scored on a 35-yard run and a 59-yard catch during last Saturday night's 53-28 win over Missouri.

SEC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

CO-OFFENSIVE: LSU receiver and return specialist DJ Chark, who had five catches for 150 yards and a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown against Auburn.

CO-OFFENSIVE: Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson, who threw for 351 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for a score during the 57-35 rout of Vandy.

DEFENSIVE: LSU linebacker Devin White, who had a career-best 15 tackles and two tackles for loss, including a sack, in helping slow Auburn.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Texas A&M kicker Daniel LaCamera, who made four field goals, including the game-winner from 32 yards out with 58 seconds remaining.

FRESHMAN: Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, who completed 18 of 26 passes for a career-high 326 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Missouri.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams, who graded out at 92 percent in 56 snaps and didn't have a missed assignment versus Arkansas.

CO-DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: South Carolina end D.J. Wonnum, who had six tackles, including two sacks, in helping hold Tennessee's offense to 253 yards.

CO-DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Ole Miss end Marquis Haynes, who had 3.5 tackles for loss, three sacks — giving him 29 career sacks — and two forced fumbles.

— David Paschall

It was the evening when potential became productivity.

A lot of productivity.

Georgia sophomore receiver Mecole Hardman resembled a five-star talent this past Saturday night in a 53-28 triumph over Missouri, totaling 172 all-purpose yards as the Bulldogs improved to 7-0 entering this week's open date. Hardman had a 35-yard touchdown sprint less than five minutes into the game to open the scoring, and he had a 59-yard reception with a little more than 10 minutes remaining to cap it.

"It feels good just to open the offense up a little bit more and get my feet wet a little bit more," Hardman told reporters following Saturday's game. "I just tried to make people miss and get to the end zone. It's been there. I've just got to take advantage of the opportunities I get."

Hardman had three carries for 5 yards all season before adding his 35-yard scoring scamper, and his reception totals before Saturday contained seven catches for 58 yards. He had two for 71 against the Tigers, and he rounded out his versatile showing with three kickoff returns for 66 yards.

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"You guys got to see him with some speed and some burst," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "He does a good job with that. Mecole is a very attentive player who is passionate about the game. I love the way he approaches practice and the way he works.

"I hope that gives him more confidence so he can continue to grow."

Hardman was an elite "athlete" prospect coming out of Elbert High in Bowman, Ga., with Rivals.com and 247Sports.com ranking him among the top 15 recruits nationally in the 2016 signing class. The 5-foot-11, 183-pounder spent his freshman season as a reserve cornerback and on special teams, collecting six tackles in 11 appearances.

This past spring, Hardman was moved from the secondary to offense and caught three passes for 62 yards in the G-Day game.

"I'm still transitioning," he said. "I've still got some work to do and some improvement to make. Right now I'm just trying to come into my own and do what I can do."

The transition this season has included multiple dropped passes, but perhaps last Saturday will steer him to more stability in that area. Hardman entered last week averaging 25.43 yards on kickoff returns and 10.56 yards on punt returns, so he moves forward as more than just a special-teams threat.

Especially if his days of dropped passes are over.

"That was just me not focusing," he said. "I had to keep myself focused and keep myself up and make the plays I know I can make."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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