The true freshmen in the SEC continued to make their mark this past weekend, and some even got their first taste of conference play. Here’s a look at some of the standout performances from the youngsters in Week 2.
Chris Westry, CB, Kentucky: It’s hard to miss the 6-foot-4, 185-pound Westry in Kentucky’s secondary. He towers over the rest of the unit. But it was his play that stood out in Saturday’s 26-22 win over South Carolina. The former three-star made the first sack of his career early in the second quarter and later pulled down his first interception, which sealed the victory for the Wildcats. He also had two tackles, one pass breakup and a quarterback hurry.
Kevin Toliver II, CB, LSU: Tre'Davious White was supposed to be LSU’s No. 1 cornerback this season, but it didn’t look that way at times Saturday. White struggled against Mississippi State WR De'Runnya Wilson while the freshman Toliver more than held his own on the other side. The former five-star, ranked No. 10 in the ESPN 300, finished with seven tackles and one pass breakup. He was physically imposing, which should help him in the SEC this season.
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M: Get used to this guy being on this list. He didn’t quite live up to the numbers from his debut, but Kirk still showed his playmaking ability both as a receiver and in the return game. The freshman star had four catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. He returned two punts for 67 yards, including a 56-yard return early in the second quarter that set up a touchdown. He finished with 134 all-purpose yards.
Arden Key, DE, LSU: For a team in need of pass rushers, Key proved to be a huge boost in LSU’s 21-19 victory over Mississippi State in their first game. The former ESPN 300 star wreaked havoc in the backfield most of the night, finishing with three tackles, one sack and two quarterback hurries. He also broke through and knocked down a screen pass. Key will improve as the season goes on, but it was a solid debut for the LSU defensive lineman.
Ronnie Harrison, DB, Alabama: A handful of Alabama freshmen played Saturday and could have made this list, but Harrison made the biggest impact when he blocked a punt late in the first half that resulted in a safety. The freshman went right up the middle and got to the punter before he could get the kick off. There’s been a lot of talk about the former four-star since he arrived in January, and we finally saw a glimpse of that potential in Week 2.