Kirkland: NFTC was a 'Business Trip'

Michigan 2015 LB commit Darrin Kirkland discusses his NFTC performance, being named camp MVP, his invite to The Opening and more.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Michigan linebacker commit Darrin Kirkland attended Sunday's Nike Football Training Combine with one goal – to earn an invite to The Opening.

But his path to the renowned event wouldn't be easy. The 2015 four-star linebacker faced tough competition throughout the four-hour event. In his group were other highly touted linebacker's Justin Hilliard [who has a Michigan offer] and Josh Smith, to name a few.

When the dust finally settled, Kirkland had earned what he had hoped for – an invite to The Opening – as he was named camp MVP for his position group.

"My mindset was this was a business trip," Kirkland said of his performance. "I was very excited to have this opportunity. It was a goal of mine since I saw my friend go to The Opening last year. I came out here and wanted to compete the best that I could. I was in a very deep linebacker group. I was excited I was able to get the invite.

"It's a great opportunity for my teammates to be able to see me on that stage. So I am just excited to represent my city, my school and my Michigan family."

At 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, Kirkland's agility was particularly noticeable, according to Scout's national recruiting analyst Allen Trieu.

"The Michigan commit was impressive with his lateral agility," Trieu said. "He did well in pass coverage, not something that was necessarily considered his forte coming in. He was invited to The Opening."

While Kirkland was busy working on his MVP performance, he still took some time to put on his Michigan recruiting hat during the event.

"I was working against the running backs pretty much all day," Kirkland said. "I was talking to Mike Weber. I was talking to Damien Harris a little bit, cause he was sitting outside. We was just having a good time overall. But there was a lot of great talent out here today. I would love to have all of them in blue, but we are looking really good in our class so far."

Kirkland, who committed to Wolverines in mid-May, says he happy with his decision to become part of the Michigan family.

"These past couple weeks have been really great," Kirkland said. "I am really happy I am part of the Michigan family. They have been great with my family. They are really happy to have me. The other commits are receptive to me as well. It's a great opportunity for me."

In the meantime, Kirkland, who stars for Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central, says he will continue to work on his goals with his high school team as well make some more trips to Michigan when possible.

"Right now my main goal is getting better with my team," Kirkland said. "We start practice [this week] actually. So I am getting ready for that. And I'll do the Sound Mind – Sound Body camp [in Detroit] in a couple weeks here. I'll be going up to Ann Arbor a couple times throughout the summer. That's my summer plans. But my main goal is to chase a ring with my team."

For more on Kirkland's performance and recruiting efforts, check out Sam Webb's video interview with him below.

Sam Webb: Tyree Kinnel,


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