Back Christian Kirk is an SEC Superstar

Back To SEC

Christian Kirk is an SEC Superstar

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
Follow us at Twitter.com/SouthernPigskin.  Become a fan at the SouthernPigskin.com Facebook Page

Christian Kirk has been the most dynamic underclassmen in recent conference history.

The SEC has never seen anyone quite like Christian Kirk. Two years into his college tenure, Kirk has an unfathomable 163 receptions for 1,937 yards and 16 touchdowns, adding five punt returns for score with a staggering 23 yards per attempt. He has the league's most career receptions ever for a sophomore and already has two of the top three single-season marks, all-time, for average yards per punt return. Kirk has been the most dynamic underclassmen in recent conference history.

It took just a few plays for Kirk, debuting against an Arizona State program he grew up just down the road from, to prove that he was one of the best players in the country. The Scottsdale-native caught six passes for 106 yards and a touchdown in his collegiate debut, adding a 79-yard return for six, in  a 38-17 win over the hometown Sun Devils. Kirk became the first Texas A&M player to top 100 yards receiving in game one and the first Aggie freshman with a punt return for a score since Dante Hall, a Pro Bowl specialist in the NFL.

In the first month of his first year, Kirk compiled 24 receptions for 442 yards and four touchdowns, topping the 100-yard mark three separate times. His league debut against Arkansas was a sign of things to come; eight grabs, a game-high 173 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime. Two contests later, Kirk scored on a 68-yard punt return against top-ranked Alabama.  

Season one saw Kirk finish in the top three in the conference in receiving yards. As a sophomore, he led the SEC and ranked in the top ten in all of power five football with 83 catches. Kirk had 12 receptions at South Carolina, nine grabs and a score at Alabama, 144 yards and a touchdown at Mississippi State and eight catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns versus LSU. Impressively, he has often been at his best, against the best, throughout his career. 

Just now an upperclassman, Kirk has at least three grabs in 25 of his 26 career games and has recorded multiple receptions in all of them. 

Remarkably, that success is only part of what makes Kirk special. With almost-unprecedented production, he led the nation in yards per punt return in both 2015, with 24.3, and 2016, with 21.7, and has scored five times on special teams in two years, the most in the country in that span. For point of reference, the major college football career-mark for punt return average is 17.9 and the career touchdown record stands at eight.

All of this is nothing new for Kirk, a former five-star recruit, who compiled over 3,000 all-purpose yards as a high school senior; college football, however, is still catching its breath. Kirk is the most dynamic talent in the game and there isn't a great historical parallel to what he has done -- this much, this soon. Though the Aggies lost an absolute superstar in recent number one overall NFL Draft pick Myles Garrett, in Kirk, they have another. WalterFootball.com has Kirk slotted sixth in a mock for next spring.  

More than just a receiver, more than just a returner, Kirk is a true game-changer. For playmakers in the SEC, he is the new status quo.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Matt Osborne and Kevin Thomas on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network and is the sports director for multiple ESPN Radio affiliates based throughout southeast Georgia. @BJBennettSports