Texas A&M needs to restock its passing attack, and a current Aggies star says two former high school teammates are showing signs of becoming the answer.
Top returning receiver Christian Kirk said quarterback Kellen Mond and wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon are off to a good start in spring practice.
Mond and Ausbon played together at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy. In College Station, where both enrolled early, Kirk said they’re showing off their chemistry.
“They’re looking good, coming along,” Kirk said in an interview posted by the athletic department. “I think the biggest thing is just them getting comfortable, learning the concepts, getting the game speed down.
The Aggies must replace senior quarterback Trevor Knight, who graduated, and wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who left early for the NFL.
Kirk, who caught 83 passes for 928 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore in 2016, is a lock to start at one receiver position. Ausbon is a strong candidate for serious playing time alongside him.
At quarterback, meanwhile, Mond ranks among the favorites in a multi-way competition that also includes senior Jake Hubenak, redshirt freshman Nick Starkel and true freshman Connor Blumrick. Even in the early days of spring practice, Mond’s poise has impressed Kirk.
“He has a real calm demeanor, doesn’t really look like anything fazes him,” Kirk said.
Kirk said Mond already is getting the opportunity to work alongside starters under coach Kevin Sumlin.
“Kellen’s doing good. He was able to take some reps with the ‘ones’ (first team),” Kirk said. “You could tell it was a lot easier for him out there to go with the ‘ones,’ just because with the ‘ones,’ those are all veteran guys that have been around.”
Kirk said getting snaps with the first team was helping Mond build familiarity with the offense.
“They understand the concepts a little bit more,” Kirk said. “It’s a little more difficult to learn with the ‘threes.’ “
Mond and Ausbon are two of four IMG products on the Aggies’ roster, as Texas A&M continues to develop a steady pipeline. In addition to those two, freshman linebacker Santino Marchiol and freshman offensive lineman Robert Congel also played at IMG.
The departures of Knight and Reynolds mean changes for everyone at A&M, including Kirk himself. Entering his junior year, he’s now looking forward to taking on a leadership role in the Aggies’ offense.
“It’s a responsibility that I’ve always wanted to have, to be able to lead that room,” Kirk said. “There’s been so many great guys to come through that room. … Now, I’m the head guy and ready to take this room by the reins and help these guys develop and grow.”
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