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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Kirk leading young receiver unit by example

Junior+wide+receiver%26%23160%3BChristian+Kirk%26%23160%3Bplays+catch+with+freshman+wide+receiver%26%23160%3BHezekiah+Jones+on+the+sideline.
Photo by By Alex Miller

Junior wide receiver Christian Kirk plays catch with freshman wide receiver Hezekiah Jones on the sideline.

Christian Kirk had his work cut out this offseason.
Not only has the junior wide receiver had to improve individually, but he’s had to mold underclassmen into playmakers around him.
After a first day full of learning, Kirk said the group got into gear on day two.
“I thought we made a big stride today, we had a great practice today,” Kirk said after Saturday’s practice. “We had a couple of [missed assignments] and dropped balls on the first day, but today we came out, everybody settled in, felt relaxed and went out there and made plays.”
While Kirk is undeniably the Aggies’ top returning receiver, he has seen good signs from other veterans who are filling the everyday roles of departed players.
“Clyde Chriss had a great day, made a lot of plays. Damion [Ratley] back out there getting in his groove,” Kirk said. “I think the group as a whole, we started clicking with the quarterbacks today.”
Ratley, a senior, and Chriss, a redshirt freshman, have both been working on the right side at outside receiver during on-air offensive team drills, with Ratley going with the first team and Chriss in the second group.
Kirk may have others to help lead the receiving corps, but ultimately feels the responsibility to set the tone for the unit.
“Without a doubt I have to set myself a high standard every day we come out. There’s no option for me to come out with a bad attitude or if I’m tired, I have to leave that all off the field. Once I step foot on the field, it’s all business and I’ve got to make sure I have energy and make sure I let these guys know it’s time to work,” Kirk added. “Whenever we’re out here we’re getting better.”
Kirk has proven to be a versatile punt returner, averaging 21.7 yards per return in 2016, taking three to the house.
Kirk saw time at kick return his freshman year, but not as much in his sophomore season with Justin Evans back deep. Kirk, however, noted that his role on kick return may increase in 2017.
“Doing both punt and kick return and offense is pretty physical and pretty tolling on your body, but I’ll be more in tuned in the kickoff return game [this year],” Kirk said. “We have some things coming that Coach Banks has been able to develop.”
Despite the turnover at receiver, Kirk believes his production level could increase during his junior campaign. Kirk said that he believes that the young receivers have the capability to produce at a high level which can allow his game to open up.
“I feel like I can be as productive, if not more productive. While I’ve been here, I’ve been through four different quarterbacks and it’s my job wherever the ball’s put in my area to go and get it,” Kirk said. “I trust the talent that we have with these young guys that are going to go out and make plays and if they want to double cover me, then sure, have the young guys go out there and make plays.
“As long as this team is winning, I’m happy with it.”

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