Christian Kirk this week received an extra recruiting star by Rivals.
The five-star player is now rated among the 30 best high school football players in the country. But he is one of numerous stars, not just in the state, but on his own team.
As he lines up for Scottsdale Saguaro in his final prep season, on both sides of the ball, he’ll have Kam’ron Johnson and Byron Murphy nearby.
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There’s close to 60 Division I college scholarship offers among them.
At Chandler, Arizona State-commit quarterback Bryce Perkins is capable of dialing it up with his legs and arm.
But there is no need to carry the No. 1-ranked team in Arizona by himself. Perkins has 6-foot-4, 210-pound receiver N’Keal Harry and junior running back Chase Lucas to help, both capable of scoring touchdowns quickly.
As Arizona speeds into another high school season, the theme is “dynamos.”
Peoria Liberty will count on dual-threat quarterback Tyler Wyatt, who also has a booming leg capable of 50-yard field goals.
Peoria Centennial has a rugged running back/linebacker Dedrick Young, who can carry an offense with some help.
Defending Division I champion Phoenix Mountain Pointe has a burner in running back/receiver Paul Lucas.
Sometimes, they come in threes, like at Saguaro and Chandler.
“I’ve had people ask me, ‘How are you going to get those guys enough touches and keep everybody happy?’ “Saguaro coach Jason Mohns said. “We’re not going to worry about who is happy and who is not happy, because we just don’t have that issue. Kids show up and work hard.”
Egos have to be put aside to succeed.
Kirk is the biggest star this state has seen since D.J. Foster led Saguaro to a state championship his senior season in 2011. Foster is now leading Arizona State’s football team.
Kirk has never felt a need to be Foster. He has carved his own identity, starting on varsity since he was a freshman.
It appeared he would take the same positional path as Foster, who moved from receiver to tailback over the course of his prep career, until Murphy and Johnson showed up since the end of last season.
Kirk showed off tremendous tailback skills in last year’s Division III final, rushing for 149 yards and two touchdowns to go with four catches for 82 yards and two more scores in a 47-25 win.
With Johnson, a solid downhill runner at tailback who picked up a scholarship offer from Wisconsin to play safety, transferring from Tempe High, Kirk can remain flexible in what figures to be another high-scoring offense, moving from wide receiver to slot to tailback and even play some quarterback in wildcat.
Murphy came from Tempe Marcos de Niza. He is a lock-down cornerback, who will show off his offensive skills at wide receiver.
In the secondary, Saguaro will have Murphy and Kirk at the corners and Johnson and Cameron Koutsalas as safeties.
This could be as good a secondary as Tucson Salpointe Catholic had last season, when Kaelin Deboskie and Cameron Denson were lights out in a 14-0 Division II championship season.
“It’s like pick your poison,” Johnson said.
Murphy can’t wait to get it going.
“It’s going to be crazy on offense and defense,” he said.
Preseason Arizona high school football rankings: Divisions I-VI
azcentral sports’ Richard Obert ranks the Top 10 teams in each division before the start of the 2014 season. He begins with Division I and works his way through Division VI. Is defending champion Mountain Pointe the team to beat in Division I?
Saguaro defensive backs coach Bryant Westbrook, who starred in the secondary at Texas in the 1990s, said Kirk could be the nation’s top cornerback if he wanted to pursue that position in college.
“At the high school level, I don’t think there are too many guys as a receiver or in the secondary who are as strong as he is,” Westbrook said. “He’s very physical.
“It’s unbelievable the talent these guys have.”
Kirk enjoys having his wingmen nearby. It takes the pressure off of him. It makes it harder for teams to key on him. But there’s more.
“It’s not just us,” Kirk said. “We’ve always had guys who stepped up.”
Chandler’s offense could be one of the more dynamic in the state with Perkins, Lucas and now Harry (a transfer from Marcos de Niza), not to mention returning receivers Danny Mahan and Justin Jan and sophomore Kolby Taylor, who comes from a talented football family of receivers.
“I know once I get the ball to these guys, they’re going to make plays, regardless,” Perkins said. “It’s a blessing I can trust these guys.”
Lucas thought last year’s Chandler team that reached the Division I semifinals was fast. This one may be faster, he said. The tempo, the rhythm, he believes, is similar to Oregon.
“There are a lot of great athletes around here who can run the ball, catch the ball, make plays,” Lucas said. “Once we see the open field, we feel we can score.”
Preseason All-Arizona selections: