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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Kirk, Murray and Mack enter the picture

Freshman+quarterback+Kyler+Murray+went+head-to-head+with+sophomore+Kyle+Allen+this+fall.
Tim Lai

Freshman quarterback Kyler Murray went head-to-head with sophomore Kyle Allen this fall.

Hearing the words “The Big Three,” evokes the image of the dominant NBA combination of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

These players competed for four straight championships and were the centerpiece in their team’s success. In the Aggies case, there could potentially be a big three of their own, but not necessarily in an immediate way.

Daylon Mack, Christian Kirk and Kyler Murray are all 5-star, heavily touted players coming out of high school. Their high school accomplishments and progress in the offseason hints that the trio will leave a trace with the program. In the coming years, they could be running the show.

Despite making an appearance at the 2015 ESPY’s and being the 2015 National Gatorade Player of the Year, Kyler Murray is the least likely of the three to see the field this season. It was unveiled recently that sophomore Kyle Allen has the nod at quarterback, but Murray nearly beat his companion out. 

Senior defensive lineman Julien Obioha spoke before fall camp about the competition, which lasted until just a couple weeks before the season opener.

“It’s going to be a great competition during the fall,” Obioha said. “He brings a lot of traits to the table. He’s very mobile, very athletic and he can throw the ball but Kyle brings a lot to the table too.”

Allen had nothing but good things to say about the Murray and has had what seems to be a healthy relationship with him so far.

“He’s a good kid, he’s a little more reserved,” Allen said. “I’m sure I was when I first came to college too. He’s obviously a tremendous player.”

A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said that Murray reminded him of Johnny Manziel, who like Murray, is a dual threat quarterback. What shaped that opinion, most of all, is Murray’s ability to improvise when plays break down.

“The thing that is pretty impressive with him is sometimes when he doesn’t know what is going on exactly and we are throwing out a lot of new plays out there, he has a football savvy to him,” coach Spavital said. “He’ll drop back, and if the pocket collapses, he just turns and goes and makes something happen. It’s very similar to how Johnny used to play.”

Unlike Murray, Kirk will contribute right away. He earned the starting position by the SEC Media Days, filling the place for Malcome Kennedy at wide receiver. Allen said people noticed Kirk’s uncanny contribution right away.

“Christian coming in from day one and working the way he did and producing the way he does in practice — people see that and they feed off of that and even get scared because they see this freshman kid coming in and is already on the starting roster,” Allen said. 

Being from the same state, Allen has been able to see Kirk’s growth as a receiver since his early stages.

“Ricky and Christian, especially this year, have picked up their game tremendously and I mean, Christian has always had that work ethic his whole life,” Allen said. “I’ve seen that in high school and when I used to work out with him.”

The 5-foot-10 freshman will also return kicks for the Aggies this fall with his agility. Junior receiver Josh Reynolds said that his teammate’s speed adds a new facet to the A&M offense.

“Kirk is a great player, man,” Reynolds said. “He has really filled in Malcome’s spot really well. He plays like Malcome but has a little more agility. He’s going to help the team a lot.”

Mack is guaranteed to not start against Arizona State, but will rotate behind starting defensive tackles Alonzo Williams and Julien Obioha. Defensive tackle coach Mark Hagen said he was impressed with Mack in the offseason but that he’s shown growing pains in the process.

“He’s had flashes of really great play and he’s had some times where he’s catching his breath and wondering if he’s going to make it to the next period,” Coach Hagen said. “He’s had his ups and downs but he’s certainly a very talented young man and we just have to keep getting him into game shape. Each day we’re going to give him a little bit more and he’s rolling in there.”

James, Wade and Bosh all offered something to the Miami Heat that these three freshmen very well could: four years. There’s a possibility that Kirk will receive the majority of the playing time this season, and Murray could transfer if he doesn’t like his chances at playing anytime soon. Moreover, any of the three could leave early for the NFL if they produce greatness. But, if they mature and become leaders for the Aggies together, they could do something special.

Through recruiting, the Aggies garnered seven 5-star players that are freshmen or sophomores now. Watch out for “The Big Three” and their supporting cast, because they could score not one, not two, not three, but four successful seasons with Texas A&M.

[Murray] brings a lot of traits to the table. He’s very mobile, very athletic and he can throw the ball.”
Julien Obioha, defensive lineman

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  • Freshman Daylon Mack will play behind starting defensive tackles Alonzo Williams and Julien Obioha.

    Tim Lai
  • Freshman receiver Christian Kirk will fill in the cleats of Malcome Kennedy.

    Tim Lai
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