Fayetteville, Ark. – A weekend gaffe by the University of Miami in their dealings with heavily recruited offensive tackle Denver Kirkland may end up being a big win for the University of Arkansas or Florida State University.
Kirkland, 6’5”, 333 pounds, is a borderline five-star recruit per 247Sports and Rivals. The versatile “Big Man” projects as either an offensive guard or tackle at the next level.
With more than 15 scholarship offers from major BCS programs like Auburn, West Virginia, USC, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisville, Rutgers, and Illinois, Kirkland’s recruiting has come down to Arkansas and Florida State after a weekend meeting with the Miami area native, his family, and the Hurricane coaching staff did not mend previously broken fences.
Reports vary but the nuts and bolts of the situation seems to be Miami head coach Al Golden put the squeeze on the Booker T. Washington prospect forcing him to commit to Miami earlier than he wanted. Kirkland responded asking until the first couple of days into Feb. This approach did not work for Miami responding with only a couple of scholarships left, we need to know if you’re on board or not; paraphrasing.
On Thursday Miami pulled his scholarship offer after Booker T. Washington High School had celebrated their state championship with a parade.
Golden did not attend the meeting but according to the Miami Herald assistants Art Kehoe, James Coley, and Michael Barrow tried to sway Kirkland to stay home for college. The meeting was set up by Barrow. By the end of the meeting evidently no real progress was made and Kirkland’s top two are Arkansas and Florida State.
Part of the rub that sparked the flame was a campus visit from the Hurricane coaching staff that was focused on five-star teammate Matthew Thomas with very little time devoted to Kirkland.
Thomas, 6’3”, 205 pounds, is considered one of if not the best outside linebacker in the nation depending on which recruiting service one reads. Thomas’ recruiting is down to Alabama, USC, Georgia, Florida State, and Miami.
Rivals and 247Sports both rate Kirkland as the No. 13 prospect at his position in the nation.
Kirkland visited Florida State on Nov. 24, 2012 and took his fifth and final visit to the University of Arkansas campus on Jan. 25. His other visits included Mississippi and South Florida.
The decision to take Miami off Kirkland’s list comes as a blow to his step-father Shanton Crummie. Per reports Crummie is a big Hurricanes’ fan and thought Miami was the best fit for his step-son before his offer was pulled then offered again.
Arkansas has an inside lead with Kirkland’s high school football coach Tim Harris. Harris worked as an administrative assistant for Arkansas linebacker coach Randy Shannon while Shannon was the head coach at University of Miami.