Arizonans in college football: Impressive openers for locals

Arizonans in college football: Impressive openers for locals

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Arizonans in college football: Impressive openers for locals

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Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Christian Kirk (3) returns a punt return for a 79 yard touchdown against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Kirk attended Scottsdale Saguaro High.

Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Christian Kirk (3) returns a punt return for a 79 yard touchdown against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Kirk attended Scottsdale Saguaro High.

Christian Kirk stood out the most among ex-Arizona prep football players in their college season openers over the weekend. For a few of them, they were making their college debuts.

Here is a look at best splashes by the locals in the first week of the college season:

Christian Kirk, Texas A&M, WR

Kirk was doing the same things he did a year ago at Scottsdale Saguaro, where he was the state’s Player of the  Year. He was named SEC Freshman of the Week with 224 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns – a 79-yard punt return and a 66-yard catch-and-run – against the school from his back yard, Arizona State, in a victory.

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Kyle Allen, Texas A&M, QB

A sophomore from Scottsdale Desert Mountain, Allen completed 15 of 26 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. He  also ran for a touchdown and threw an interception against ASU.

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Dedrick Young, Nebraska, LB

Like Kirk, Young is a true freshman who earned a coveted Black shirt on defense, a starting spot, in preseason, and had an impressive opener in the Hail Mary loss to BYU. He had seven tackles, four solo, and a pass breakup for the Cornhuskers. Young  was a battering-ram running back and linebacker last season, leading Peoria Centennial to the Division II championship.

Arizonans on Pac-12 football rosters:

Kani Benoit, Oregon, RB

The ex-Thunderbird High sophomore had 83 rushing yards and the game’s first touchdown on 11 carries in Oregon’s 61-42 win over Eastern Michigan. He also caught a 19-yard pass. Last year, Benoit had a total of 98 rushing yards and a TD on 23 carries.

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Mark Andrews, Oklahoma, TE

Andrews, a 6-foot-6, 247-pound redshirt last year after graduating from Desert Mountain in 2014 as a two-time All-Arizona performer and the 2013 state Player of the Year, had four catches for 50 yards in a 41-3 rout of Akron in his first college game for the Sooners.

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Paul Perkins, UCLA, RB

The former Chandler star, a 5-11, 210-pound junior, had 59 rushing yards on a 14 carries and 58 receiving yards on five catches in the Bruins’ 34-16 victory over Virginia.

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Blake Kemp, East Carolina, QB

The former Chandler Hamilton quarterback was 29 of 37 passing for 230 yards in his first college start, helping his team to a 28-20 victory over Towson.

Arizona high school football quarterbacks starting in college:

Ryan Finley, Boise State, QB

The ex-Paradise Valley quarterback, making his first college start as a sophomore, had 129 passing yards, but it was enough to lead the Broncos to a 16-13 win over Washington. He became the first Boise State QB to beat a team from a power conference in his first start. He was 16-of-26 passing and had 44 rushing yards.

Casey Jahn, Northern Arizona, RB

The former Phoenix Northwest Christian star, the state’s all-time leading rusher, had 157 yards rushing on 21 carries in NAU’s 34-28 victory at Stephen E. Austin.

Emmanuel Butler, NAU, WR

Butler, who was part of Phoenix Mountain Pointe’s 2013 undefeated state championship team, had seven catches for 216 yards and three TDs against Stephen F. Austin. Butler led off the scoring with a 57-yard reception a little more than two minutes into the game.

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Reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-460-1710. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert, Listen to the Which Wich High School Football Preview Show every Friday from 6-7 p.m., on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 with Dan Manucci and Richard Obert.

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