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Kirk Still a Highlight Reel

By Jim Johnson
SouthernPigskin.com
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For some, it may be easy to forget about Christian Kirk, as remarkable as that is to those of us that have come to appreciate his borderline unprecedented playmaking ability.

For some, it may be easy to forget about Christian Kirk, as remarkable as that is to those of us that have come to appreciate his borderline unprecedented playmaking ability.

His team’s not a college football playoff contender. His quarterback is a true freshman. He’s just one of what is widely considered an elite class of wide receiver prospects, amongst guys like Calvin Ridley, James Washington, and Courtland Sutton.

However, none of the aforementioned fellow first-round hopefuls have been as consistently productive or dangerously versatile as Kirk.

I didn’t have him number one on my preseason ranking of the top 100 SEC players for no reason.

Back in May, B.J. Bennett highlighted Kirk’s nearly unfathomable underclassman career. Here are a few particularly shiny gems:

- 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.

- 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.

- 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.

On top of what B.J. mentioned, Kirk was also second amongst returning SEC receivers for yards per route run, in 2016. He was in the top 20, including all FBS pass catchers, both his freshman and sophomore years, for yards after the catch. He finished second in the SEC last year with a 93.6% catch rate. And he was first amongst returning SEC receivers on deep ball production, with 401 yards on passes of 20+ yards downfield.

So what, Texas A&M isn’t a contender in the SEC? Who cares if you have to sit through three straight possessions of Kellen Mond overthrows to see Kirk get one touch? He’s worth it.

He proved as much against Arkansas, this afternoon.

The junior caught just five passes, but still racked up 110 yards and two scores, including the game winner in overtime. He also added a 100 yard kick return touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Already one of the SEC’s all-time great returners, he continues to bolster his resume.

All in all, Kirk touched the ball eight times, found the endzone thrice, and compiled just shy of 250 yards. That should be impossible.

The Aggies may not be nationally relevant, but Christian Kirk sure is, and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not watching one of the three or four most exciting players in the sport, because of that.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: jim@espncoastal.com Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP