Homestead LB Getting Publicity

The Florida Gators are looking to fill some need at linebacker and starting in Dade County isn't a bad place to look. A new name on the scene is Darrin Kitchens who had a huge senior year for Homestead in 2009. Kitchens was offered a scholarship by the Florida Gators this past weekend and plans on making another trip to Gainesville for an official visit in January.

Darrin Kitchens finished the season with 19 sacks, leading Dade County in the category. Strictly a defensive end in his senior year. linebacker is where he will end up in college. At 6-2, 195 pounds and a blazing first step, Kitchens knows what got him to the top of the mountain when it comes to putting quarterbacks on the ground.

"I played defensive end for my school," he said by phone Monday. "I also played a little running back and a little tight end as well. I led Dade County in sacks with 19. It's all about my speed."

Kitchens got some big news this weekend when the Florida Gators called and offered him a scholarship. Vance Bedford recruits Dade County for the gators and he told Kitchens earlier in the week the news might be coming. Florida head coach Urban Meyer was the one that placed the call that set the record straight.

"Florida offered me (Sunday)'s exciting," Kitchens said. "Coach Bedford contacted me and said he was coming down to see me again. He told me they were going to offer me. Coach Urban Meyer called me Sunday and gave me the news. I was kind of surprised, I didn't know he would be calling me.

It has been a longer courtship than most realize. The Gators have a need for Kitchens with so many linebackers leaving the program soon.

"Coach Bedford has been recruiting me since the summer," Kitchens said. "I was at Friday Night Lights but I had an injury to my leg, so I just watched.

"They want me as an outside linebacker. They say they like the way I play. They know I have great speed, I like to hit people, and they like my personality."

The Gators along with Syracuse, South Florida, UCF, Florida State, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Nebraska, Maryland, and Marshall all have offered, but three stand out.

"I have a top three of Florida, Syracuse, and South Florida," Kitchens said.

He talked a little about the other two on his favorites list.

South Florida: "I liked that they have been recruiting me hard the entire time and showed that I am a priority."

Syracuse: "I like the fact that they are rebuilding their program and I have a chance to come out there and help with that. I like the way people treated me at the school, they have a real family environment."

He has two more visits that he is setting up for next month. Look for January visits to South Florida and Florida. In the meantime, we may just have to keep a close on what he is doing with this recruiting thing.

"I haven't planned on committing, I always thought I might just surprise everybody," he said. "I have been thinking about that now, but so far I don't have a date."

Fightin Gators Top Stories