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UCLA’s Jim Mora: Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk a ‘legitimate’ Heisman candidate

Christian Kirk
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

Could Christian Kirk become Texas A&M’s second Heisman Trophy winner in the past five years? His first opponent of the season thinks it’s possible.

UCLA coach Jim Mora described the A&M receiver as a potential Heisman Trophy winner this week leading into the Bruins’ matchup against the Aggies on Sunday.

“The guy’s a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in my mind,” Mora said.

Kirk caught 83 passes for 928 yards and nine touchdowns last season for the Aggies. He also scored three touchdowns while returning punts and averaged 28.8 yards on kickoff returns. In his career, he has 16 TD catches and five punt-return TDs. He has averaged 23.1 yards on his 27 punt returns. And the average length of his 16 career touchdown receptions is 30.3 yards.

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“We recruited him hard, so we know him very, very well,” Mora said. “He’s extremely talented. He’s got speed, quickness, he’s elusive.”

Mora said one of the biggest tests for Bruins defenders will be making sure they know where Kirk is on each play because he changes positions frequently in Kevin Sumlin’s offense.

“They put him in the slot. Sometimes they put him away from trips, on the single side. They’ll use him in the backfield at times,” Mora said. “You just never know what you’re going to get.

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“One thing you know you’re going to get for sure from him is just a very great competitor. I remember going to one of his games at Saguaro (High, in the Phoenix suburbs) and standing on the sidelines. I think he scored three touchdowns in the first quarter, and they were all just special type of runs, like, ‘OK, he’s tackled. No, he’s not – touchdown.’ “

Texas A&M players have won two Heismans; John David Crow was the first, in 1957, followed by Johnny Manziel in 2012.

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