Think back to when you were 17 or 18 years old. Like me, I’m sure you had no clue where your life was headed. Now, magnify the stakes. High school football players are thinking years ahead and their chances of getting into the NFL. Millions of dollars are potentially on the line. Indecision sets in. Every school you visit has solid coaches, tradition, and facilities. Some offer immediate playing time. Maybe your family roots for the home-town school, but you have your eyes set on a school hours away. Making this decision is hard enough.
Apparently, four star Denver Kirkland was taking too long to decide. On Thursday, rumors began spreading and confusion was rampant. The move seems almost inconceivable. You recruit a player for over a year. He’s a 4-star offensive lineman, the teammate of a recruit you are coveting, and from one of the most powerful high school programs in a state rich with talent (Booker T. Washington High School). But it happened. On January 31st, Al Golden and the Miami Hurricanes pulled his scholarship because he wasn’t ready to commit. Pundits and recruiting analysts were split. Some couldn’t believe you’d pull an offer for a kid you just spent so much time recruiting. Others side with the school, noting that you have only so many scholarships and you can’t run the risk of not filling your needs. In this case, Miami is desperate for defensive lineman. However, the repercussions and shock-waves set in quickly. Kirkland’s coach, Ice Harris, took to twitter to blast the school. He went on the radio the next day to criticize how Al Golden and UM handled the situation. Miami may have just burnt a crucial bridge and recruiting pipeline.
The Denver Kirkland saga unfolding in Miami is a text-book example of the crazy, zany world of recruiting. On various message boards, rumors (read: unsubstantiated and nothing publicly reported on) have spread that UM invited Denver Kirkland and his family on campus to talk things over. If you believe the rumor, UM re-offered Denver Kirkland and the recruiting bridge has not been burned. The Miami Herald reported on February 2nd that Kirkland said “thanks, but no thanks.” We really won’t know for sure until Wednesday. Was it a misunderstanding? How did UM find a new scholarship for Kirkland after it didn’t exist on Thursday? What could you possibly say to smooth things over? One thing is obvious: whoever gets Kirkland is getting a talent. I think he always wanted to be a Cane, but his trust may have been too damaged to reconcile. I think he signs at 9:20 AM on Wednesday donning the Florida State hat. The combination of Ira Denson and Denver Kirkland may just be the answer to the Seminoles woes at offensive line. Chop em.