Denver Kirkland is the 12th-rated offensive tackle in the entire nation. The 6-foot-4, 333-pound Miami native had reportedly been looking forward to signing with his hometown team on national television on National Signing Day on Feb. 6.
However, according to his head coach at Booker T. Washington, Tim Harris, Kirkland will have to live out his dream of playing big-time college football somewhere else.
Miami has apparently gotten a commitment from another player, although the name has not been made public, according to sources at ESPN. Thus, there simply are no more scholarships available, in spite of Kirkland’s immense frame, talent, and desire to suit up for the ‘Canes.
“They told him that they couldn’t promise him that he could have a scholarship on signing day,” Harris explained. “They got a commitment this morning from a defensive lineman, and so they chose to go ahead with that route. It is the same reason Ira Denson canceled his visit this weekend. That’s pretty much what it was, it was a numbers game for them.”
When asked how his player is feeling now that he must look in a different direction, and only days away from National Signing Day, coach Harris described a young man hurting. Kirkland will land on his feet, but the news definitely comes as a bit of a shock.
“He’s hurt; I think he’s extremely hurt — upset,” Harris described. “I think, as a kid, he looked at Miami as a place that he wanted to go to growing up. You know, being a couple days away from possibly signing to the school that he’s liked all these years — but he wasn’t ready to commit yet, because there were two other schools he liked, and he wanted to be completely sure. He’s had this signing day announcement for a long time now on ESPN. It wasn’t a surprise to anyone that he was waiting until then, but they got a commitment from a defensive lineman. It hurt, but he’s got to pick up the pieces the best he can and realize that it just wasn’t in the cards for him.”
As things stand, there are three schools now in the hunt for Kirkland’s services.
“Florida State, Arkansas and Ole Miss,” said Harris of the finalists.
Kirkland has visited all three of the schools mentioned, with his most recent trip being to Fayetteville in late January. While that may have no bearing on where he is headed, it may prove to be the deciding factor for a big man about to make the biggest decision of his life.
And without his hometown Hurricanes as any part of it.