5-star wide receiver Christian Kirk picks Texas A&M

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Straight-shooting receiver Christian Kirk didn’t waste much time. During the Wednesday press conference to announce his college commitment, he gave a quick thanks, reached under the podium and slipped on a maroon hat to make his decision public.

Maybe it wasn’t the shade of maroon the crowded room at Saguaro High School had hoped for.

The five-star wide receiver and the top player in the state of Arizona committed to the Texas A&M Aggies, picking the SEC school over maroon-and-gold ASU, not to mention UCLA, Auburn and Ohio State.

"Obviously, it would have been nice to stay home," Kirk said. "But like I told somebody earlier, I’m an independent kid. I don’t rely on my parents, I don’t rely on anybody else to give me anything. I love to work for what I want to get."

Kirk, who led the Sabercats to a 14-0 record and title in 2014, finished this season with 1,692 rush yards and 25 touchdowns to go with 61 catches for 1,187 yards and 17 touchdowns through the air. He finished his prep career with state records for touchdowns (103), receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

Arizona’s Gatorade Player of the Year joins an Aggies recruiting class that coming into the receiver’s announcement was already ranked as the No. 6 class in the nation by Scout. He is the school’s 22nd commitment.

At Texas A&M, he’ll team up with quarterback Kyle Allen, who starred at Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale and worked his way into a starting position as a freshman this past season. Texas A&M takes a 7-5 record into its Liberty Bowl matchup vs. West Virginia.

The third-ranked wide receiver in the 2015 class by Scout, Kirk stands 5-foot-11 and 197 pounds and projects to be a versatile playmaker who can be utilized beyond the passing game. Much like fellow Saguaro product and Arizona State junior D.J. Foster, Kirk will likely be utilized at the college level as a hybrid back and receiver.

But unlike Foster, Kirk decided to leave the state, heading to a team that recruits its own very well.

Saguaro head coach Jason Mohns, who has coached Kirk for eight years dating back to the receiver’s youth football days, echoed Kirk’s desire to prove himself in the SEC.

Mohns added that the Aggies and Kirk clicked.

"The people that are there from the head coach, Kevin Sumlin, down to the other members of that staff, they are genuine people," Mohns said. "Christian has been around that his whole life. He was looking for a genuine experience and I think he’s going to get that at Texas A&M.

Texas A&M followed through with offering Kirk after he visited two years ago, and the Aggies didn’t press too hard for a decision, said Kirk, who admitted the last few weeks had been tough as he weighed his options.

Kirk said his final decision hadn’t been made until Monday, when he was still considering three schools.

"That’s what everyone was telling me, you got to go with you gut feeling," he said. "Early it was my gut feeling I wanted to go to Texas A&M. A lot of schools — ASU, UCLA — made a good, hard push. I woke up Tuesday and knew (Texas A&M is) where I wanted to be."

On Tuesday night, he gave Sumlin the good news.

With the addition of Kirk, Texas A&M’s receiving corps boasts three of the most highly recruited players in the past three classes. Freshman Speedy Noil ranks second on the team in both receiving yards (559) and touchdown catches (5) this season, while fellow freshman Ricky Seals-Jones has made a team-high 48 catches for 444 yards and four TD grabs. Noil (2014) and Seals-Jones (’13) were the top-ranked recruits at their respective recruiting positions, wide receiver and athlete. 

Kirk said he expects to compete right away for the Y receiver spot vacated by Malcome Kennedy.

Kirk plans to eventually learn the other receiver positions, and Texas A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital has told Kirk he envisions his role to that of Tavon Austin, the speedy St. Louis Rams receiver who Spavital coached at West Virginia from 2011-12.

"I believe going to Texas A&M is a great challenge for me to go and show people I don’t need to be in the state of Arizona," Kirk said. "I can compete against the best, play in the SEC and accomplish things I want to."

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