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Written by: Roy Countryman @PreacherBoyRoy
Offensive Player of the Week
Jontre Kirklin: WR, Houston Roughnecks
6 catches on 7 targets, 77 rec. yds., 2 rec. TD.
Through three weeks, Kirklin has announced his presence in the XFL world, as he is one of the go-targets for Brandon Silvers. He is tied for first in receiving touchdowns (3), third in the XFL in receiving yards (204), and tied for the league lead in completions of 20 plus yards with four.
Kirklin is one of the interesting stories in the XFL, as he was part of the National Champion LSU Tigers led by Joe Burrow and Jamarr Chase over the Clemson Tigers. While he was never the primary target in Baton Rouge, he did play in 57 career games, and showcased his selflessness and versatility by playing wide receiver, defensive back, and even quarterback in addition to special teams.
Now finally getting a firm opportunity at wide receiver, he is making good on that promise by becoming one of the most dangerous weapons in the XFL. It is no surprise, as he has an explosive athletic profile highlighted by his 42” vertical and 11’5” broad jump at LSU’s pro day. He has shown a knack for making defenders miss in space, as well as the grittiness at the catch point to come down with contested catches.
With the athleticism and versatility Kirklin has shown, it would not surprise me if an NFL team scooped him up after the season, with the hopes his special teams prowess could help him sneak onto the end of a 53-man roster.
Defensive Player of the Week
Darnell Sankey: LB, Arlington Renegades
8 Total Tackles (5 Solo), 0.5 sack, 2 TFL.
Sankey is a player who is still finding his footing with the Renegades after joining the team just a few weeks ago, after playing in the CFL the last two seasons. He announced his presence as he rotated into the ILB corp with a few bone-jarring hits and always seemed like he was around the ball.
It should come as no surprise, as he has been a tackle-machine since his time at Sacramento State, where he set the school record for tackles in one game with 27. He has outstanding instincts, agility, and play recognition that he uses to gravitate to the ball, whether that is in run defense or when dropped in coverage.
He is also an adept blitzer who can time up delays to fire through the A gaps to put pressure into the QB’s face. If Sankey can continually stack performances together, he will be a starter for the Renegades, and may get a shot in an NFL training camp this fall.