Battle in the SEC: Christian Kirk vs. Kendarius Webster
Both Ole Miss and Texas A&M dropped important games last week. They’ll look to get their seasons back on track in Oxford on Saturday when the Aggies visit the Rebels. One of the biggest matchups on the field is between Texas A&M wide receiver, Christian Kirk, and Ole Miss cornerback, Kendarius Webster.
Kirk is a dynamic true freshman wide receiver for Texas A&M. The highly touted recruit has exceeded lofty expectations in College Station so far this year. He leads the team in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. At 5-11, 200 pounds, he’s built like a prototypical slot receiver, but he can hold his own on the outside as well. Kirk has elite speed and quickness and is a nightmare in the open field as evidenced by his 343 yards after catch, which ranks in the top-10 in the country.
Webster is a 5-11, 180-pound sophomore who is looking to rebound to his early season form after turning in the worst grade of his career (-4.1) last week against Memphis. He ranked in the top-20 of our cornerback grades before that forgettable game. A top recruit out of high school, Webster started one game last season as a freshman and is an ascending player this year. He has great speed and instincts, as well as a knack for tackling. His +4.6 grade in run defense ranks third among cornerbacks and is impressive for his size. He will need to display all of these traits against Kirk, who is one of the toughest players to cover in the SEC.
Kirk wins if…
He catches the ball on the move and shows off his agility and quickness in the open field. Last week, Alabama limited him to just nine yards after the catch. He needs to fight through arm tackles and take short receptions past the line of scrimmage and into the second level. He also needs to increase his focus and look every pass into his hands. He’s dropped five passes in six games this season.
Webster wins if…
He wraps up Kirk as soon as he makes the catch and prevents him from turning a short gain into a long one. Webster has the speed to carry Kirk on deep routes, so he shouldn’t give any cushion. If Webster keeps his head on a swivel to gauge any developing pick routes, and watches out for blockers on passes behind the line of scrimmage, he should turn in a gem of a game.
Prediction: Webster over Kirk
Two talented and up-and-coming players have a heated battle, but Webster comes out on top. He rebounds nicely from his rough outing a week ago and snags his first interception on the season. Kirk makes a handful of plays, but none of them bust the game open as he stays out of the endzone.