Darrin Kirkland Jr.
Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Southern Cal, Texas
Kirkland is a recent addition to Tennessee’s board after he decommitted from Michigan in early Novemember. He has visited Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and USC; and was in Knoxville to watch the Vols face Missouri on November 22nd. Tennessee appears to be in as good of shape as anyone at this stage in Kirkland’s recruitment and has the distance-from-home factor in their favor among the five schools he is most interested in. Kirkland Jr. will make his college decision on Monday, December 15th and enroll early at his school of choice. Update: Kirkland Jr. committed to the Vols on December 15.
RTI Average: 4-stars
Kirkland is an extremely disciplined and talented football player who would be a great fit in John Jancek’s system as a middle linebacker. He is very patient in his assessment of each play and reacts very quickly once he recognizes what his responsibility is. He has excellent reaction time and has very little wasted motion in his form when he goes to make a play. He is solid in pass coverage over the middle, picking up running backs and tight ends with relative ease in his film, but would certainly need to expand his coverage abilities at the next level. He has good speed for his size, but his real strength is his ability to shed blockers, get to the ball carrier and get them to the ground with solid tackling form and technique. With Tennessee looking to replace a lot of production with the graduation of A.J. Johnson, Kirkland is a player that would have the opportunity to see the field as a freshman.