January 4, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Team Nitro defensive end Chris Jones (98) rushes past Team Highlight offensive tackle Denver Kirkland (72) during the first half at the Under Armour All-America high school Game at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2013 CFB Recruiting: Kirkland Surprise of NSD for Arkansas

Fayetteville, Ark. – Despite the Twitter hash tags of #FreeBudda and #AlexCollinstotheUofA aside, the biggest National Signing Day surprise for the University or Arkansas was the signing of four-star offensive tackle Denver Kirkland.

Kirkland, 6’5”, 333 pounds, was one of the more highly sought after offensive linemen in the nation on the high school level. His athletic versatility and blocking ability coupled with his size allowed college recruiters to assess Kirkland as an offensive tackle and guard on the college level widening potential landing spots for the talented big man.

Top scholarship offers came from major BCS programs like Auburn, West Virginia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisville, Rutgers, and Illinois, but Kirkland’s recruiting situation was not without some drama of its own. His recruiting came down to Arkansas and Florida State after a weekend meeting with the Miami area native, his family, and the Hurricane’s coaching staff did not mend previously broken fences.

Reports had Miami as the top choice for Kirkland’s services but an in-school meeting with Hurricane staff members ended badly after 90 minutes was spent on Booker T. Washington teammate and five-star linebacker Matthew Thomas but only 10-15 minutes spent with Kirkland.

Miami then pulled his offer on the Thursday before signing day after trying to force him into a verbal commitment only to re-offer him the following day with no success.

Kirkland visited Florida State on Nov. 24 and took his fifth and final visit to the University of Arkansas campus on Jan. 25. His other visits included Mississippi, Miami, and South Florida.

ESPNU aired Kirkland’s announcement live as part of their National Signing Day coverage.

The Arkansas coaching staff secured one of the better offensive line classes in the nation with Kirkland (4-star), Dan Skipper (3-star), Reeve Koehler (4-star), Jonathan McClure (3-star, two-time JUCO All-American).

247Sports rates the Arkansas Razorback 2013 recruiting class No. 22 in the nation.


Arkansas Razorback Commitments for the 2013 Recruiting Class

1. QB Austin Allen, 6’2”, 217 pounds, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 4-Star

2. LB Brooks Ellis, 6’2”, 215 pounds, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 3-Star

3. SS Alex Brignoni, 6’1”, 190 pounds, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 3-Star

4. TE Hunter Henry, 6’6”, 235 pounds, Little Rock, Arkansas, 4-Star

5. LB Myke Tavarres, 6’2”, 220 pounds, Weed (JC), California, 3-Star*

6. CB Carroll Washington, 6’0”, 175 pounds, Salinas (JC), California, 4-Star*

7. DE Tevin Beanum, 6’4”, 235 pounds, Forrest City, Arkansas, 3-Star

8. OT John McClure, 6’4”, 310 pounds, El Dorado (JC), Texas, 3-Star*

9. WR Drew Morgan, 6’0”, 185 pounds, Greenwood, Arkansas, 3-Star

10. SS Tiquention Coleman, 5’10”, 200 pounds, Milledgeville (JC), Georgia, 3-Star*

11. LB Martrell Spaight, 6’0”, 220 pounds, Coffeyville (JC), Kansas, 3-Star*

12. P Sam Irwin-Hill, 6’3”, 210 pound, City College of San Francisco (JC), 2-Star

13. OG Reeve Koehler, 6’3”, 320 pounds, Honolulu, Hawaii, 4-Star

14. FS De’Andre Coley, 6’1”, 185 pounds, Miami, Florida, 2-Star

15. CB D.J. Dean, 5’10”, 185 pounds, Newton, Texas, 3-Star

16. DT Ke’tyrus Marks, 6’2”, 285 pounds, Riviera Beach, Florida, 3-Star

17. OT Dan Skipper, 6’10”, 292 pounds, Arvada, Colorado, 3-Star

18. SS Korliss Marshall, 6’0”, 190 ponds, Osceola, Arkansas, 3-Star

19. RB Denzell Evans, 6’0”, 205 pounds, Bellaire, Texas, 3-Star

20. CB Melvinson Hartfield, 5’11”, 185 pounds, Dallas, Texas, 3-Star

21. RB Alex Collins, 5’11”, 210 pounds, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 5-Star

22. OT Denver Kirkland, 6’5”, 333 pounds, Miami, Florida, 4-Star

23. QB DamonMitchell, 6’2”, 190 pounds, Egg Harbor City, NJ, 4-Star

* Denotes already enrolled at Arkansas.


Arkansas Razorback Commitments for the 2014 Recruiting Class

1. QB Rafe Peavey, Bolivar, Missouri, 4-Star

2. DT Bijhon Jackson, El Dorado, Arkansas, 4-Star

3. RB Juan Day, North Little Rock, Arkansas, not rated

Verbal commitments are non-binding.


Arkansas Razorback Walk-ons for 2013

1. QB A.J. Derby, Iowa City, Iowa

2. FB Patick Arinze, San Diego, California

3. OT Austin Boice, Lamar, Missouri


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