While eyes were planted on more well-known linebacker prospects like Michael Ferns and Dante Booker at last week’s Columbus Nike Football Training camp, Indianapolis (IN) Park Tudor LB, Darrin Kirkland managed to turn a few heads in his own right. The 6-1, 200-pounder made a number of plays in coverage, but he knows there is still room for improvement.
“Camp went pretty well. I got a good chance to compete against the best so I think I did pretty well. I’m definitely good coming off the line. Coverage [is] number one. I feel like I’m a great coverage guy. In space I can cover a lot of field.”
“I’m hitting a lot of camps to hopefully improve on my linear speed, change of direction [and] sinking into my hips.”
Based on the results from his strong sophomore campaign, even moderate improvement in Kirkland’s game would lead to significant problems for his opposition.
“Last year went pretty well. We made it to the second round of sectionals. Lost a heart breaker but we’re going to come back strong next year. Individually, I had 138 tackles [and] seven sacks. So I feel like I did really well.”
Word about the rising linebacker’s skills is now starting to make the rounds. Michigan is among those that have recently taken interest, while a few other Midwest schools have been showing interest for a little while longer.
“I got my first offer last week from Akron,” reported Kirkland. “I’m hearing from schools like Louisville, (Indiana), Cincinnati, and Ohio State. They all contacted me with my coach. [I’m] looking to take visits this summer."
No favorites have yet emerged for the talented youngster, but he already has an idea of what he is looking for in a school.
“I just want to view them all and see who offers the best opportunity to get an education and play football,” Kirkland explained. “I’m looking for just somebody who offers the best for me and my family and the best opportunity to play. Distance does (play a role). I want to stay close to home. I’m more of a home-body person.”