It is always fun to keep up with former Arizona prep stars after they leave high school and move on to the next level. There are many who have caught my eye thus far during this young 2015 season. I’ve narrowed that group to five who have been studs for their teams around the country:
Christian Kirk: To no surprise of any who watched him over the last four years at Saguaro, Kirk’s transition to the college level has been seamless. Many of us saw him do his thing for Texas A&M against Arizona State the first week of the season returning a punt for a score and the big game-clinching touchdown. That performance wasn’t a one hit wonder as he was at it again last week against Arkansas. Kirk had 130 yards in his first three receptions in that game and once again, caught the game-sealing touchdown. Kirk is already listed amongst the country’s leaders in receptions and receiving yards
Kyle Allen: Kirk’s great start has been aided by the play of his quarterback, former Desert Mountain standout Kyle Allen. You have to be impressed with how Allen has conducted himself so far this season. It hasn’t been perfect but he has come in and taken a strangle hold of the job despite last years’ number one quarterback recruit in the nation, who also hails from Texas, Kyler Murray joining the team. Texas schools love Texas guys representing them and Allen has done a masterful job weathering the pressure and managing this very talented A&M offense.
Blake Martinez: No Stanford’s defense isn’t quite as dominant as we have seen in years past but it’s not because of Blake Martinez. The Former Tucson Canyon del Oro star is off to a great start this season and through the first month of games leads the Pac-12 in total tackles and tackles per game. He has 50 total stops on the year and there is not another player in the conference who has more than 40. This Saturday won’t be the first time he plays Arizona but you could imagine this matchup always means something to him as he will be lining up against the team he grew up loving.
Paul Perkins: If you are a UCLA fan, you have to be so thankful for former Chandler star Paul Perkins. Your team is eyeing a birth in the College Football Playoff with a true freshman quarterback under center who has had no issue because of the amazing job the Bruins’ running game has done. Perkins is the main reason for that–he’s been on display two weeks in a row against BYU and U of A. He is tied for first in scoring in the conference with six rushing touchdowns in four games and is second in rushing with over 500 yards on the ground at a clip of 128 yards per game. I am of the opinion that what makes UCLA go is their running game which would make Perkins the team’s MVP so far this season.
Emmanuel Butler: The NAU Lumberjacks got a steal when they landed a commitment from former Mountain Pointe wide out Emmanuel Butler. A young man who was unheralded compared to his partner on the outside, Jalen Brown, for a Pride team who won a state title in 2013. Butler stayed in state and has quickly become the number one threat on the outside up in Flagstaff. He is second in the Big Sky in receiving yards and touchdowns through four games and leads the conference with an incredible 28.6 yards per catch. There are many great former AZ stars representing up at NAU and so far, Butler is the headliner.