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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Kirk keeps sights on bowl game, not NFL Draft

Photo by Photo by: Kevin Chou

Junior Wide Receiver Christian Kirk catches a 60-yd touchdown pass.

Christian Kirk knows the NFL may soon be calling his name.
Texas A&M’s standout wide receiver is not focused on what his potential future beyond Aggieland may entail just yet.
And while it is becoming more common for Draft-eligible players to sit out bowl games, Kirk is not about it when asked if he will suit up.
“I tell them straight up that I’m playing,” Kirk said at Monday’s press conference.
Kirk’s teammates said they are not surprised he is either, and may have been more surprised had the junior opted not to play.
“I don’t really think he’s worried about the Draft right now,” junior linebacker Otaro Alaka said. “I think he’s a highly-regarded player, but just knowing Christian, I don’t think anybody doubted that he would play this game. That’s just the type of player and teammate he is.”
A driven competitor, Kirk may feel he has some unfinished business to take care of too while at A&M. Kirk has lost both bowl games he has played in by less than one possession.
“I haven’t won a bowl game since I’ve been at A&M and that’s something I definitely want to do,” Kirk said. “It sucks losing those bowl game, it’s a terrible feeling obviously when you lose … it’s a terrible way to end the season.”
The NFL’s College Advisory Committee grades should be returned to prospective players at the beginning of 2018, as Kirk said he sent paperwork to receive grades two weeks ago.
Kirk added that he will look at a multitude of factors before making a decision, who said he is 24 credit hours away from graduation, but added getting a first round grade would be a big factor.
“I don’t think it would be a smart decision if you made it just off of one factor,” Kirk said. “That’s something you have to talk to your coaches, your family and make the decision you really honestly feel is in the best interest of you.”
Once a lock in the first round, ESPN’s Mel Kiper said recently in an article that he believes Kirk may fall to a Day Two draft pick. Despite leading the team in all receiving categories, his junior season has been tough sledding at times, totaling career lows this season of 58 receptions for 730 yards and seven touchdowns.
One could credit Kirk’s lack of production to a youthful offense, which had quarterback troubles featuring a pair of freshmen, as well as Kirk being the only returning receiver with exceptional collegiate playing time.
“Obviously the numbers aren’t there, not as high as they were in the past,” Kirk said. “We’re a different offense this year, there’s some things you know just didn’t go the right way. There’s a lot of things that factor into that. Whether it counts draft stock wise, I don’t know whether or not they factor in all of that, where it elevates or decreases your draft stock. I don’t go out there to play for my draft stock, I go out there to play to win games.”
Still, Kirk’s body of work over his three-year career speaks for itself as he has proven not only to be a top-tier receiver, but an elite returner as well.
“He’s one of the best players in the country,” A&M interim head coach Jeff Banks said. “He’s for three years consistently caught the ball and returned the ball against anybody as good as there is in the country.”
From his first game against Arizona State in 2015, Kirk has had electric and game-changing moments. If he opts to forgo his senior season, Kirk said he knows his time and many plays were memorable, but the relationships made with coaches and players are what will stick with him.
“Returning a punt against Alabama or winning games in overtime in Jerry’s World, obviously those are special moments you know you’re going to remember forever,” Kirk said. “But it’s the dudes that you do it with that’s the coolest part about it.”

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