Florida DT Kenneth Kirksey names leader

Mainlaind High (Daytona Beach, Fla.) defensive tackle Kenneth Kirksey has leader, and he shares whether it is Rutgers, Florida International, Iowa State or Michigan State. Despite making 110 tackles and recording eight sacks as Mainland went 9-3 in 2009, Kirksey's recruitment has been uneven. He talks about what is keeping some schools away, and whether he would welcome those schools back.

Mainland High of Daytona Beach, Fla., defensive tackle Kenneth Kirksey will make his official visit to Rutgers the final weekend before signing day, but an in-home visit from coach Greg Schiano was enough to put the Scarlet Knights in the lead.

"Right now it's Rutgers,'' the 6-foot-1, 273-pound Kirksey said. "I love Rutgers. They had a home visit with me, and they were being real with me. It went great. My mom really loves the environment and everything. It was great. They're a little ahead of everybody else.''

Kirksey added it was the impression Schiano made with his mom that really helped Rutgers' cause.

"My mom likes the family part about it,'' he said. "She likes that when I go there, I'd be getting help in multiple subjects, and different things (Schiano said), like he's the father of the family, and it's a family environment, and I'll have the love and support of everything they have available.''

Kirksey was favoring Florida State until the Seminoles moved off of him.

Now, he is listing the Scarlet Knights slightly ahead of Florida International, where he visited last weekend. He is also set to visit Iowa State the weekend of Jan. 22, and was scheduled to visit Michigan State this weekend, but is having second thoughts.

"I don't think so,'' Kirksey said. "I'm still contemplating that one.''

Kirksey, who said getting an education will be a big part of his decision, enjoyed his visit to Florida International.

"That was great. My mom fell in love with it,'' Kirksey said. "That's why I said Rutgers, FIU and then Iowa State. I like how all the players fit together (at FIU), and I think the program is coming up fast. All the coaches and the players have that bond you can't break.''

The powerful and quick Kirksey is being under-recruited a bit because of an academic issue. He still needs a qualifying ACT score. He took the test last month and is hopeful of hearing soon about whether he got the needed score.

Up until a short while ago, Florida State was pursuing Kirksey, but the Seminoles, like many other schools, backed off because of the academic situation.

But Kirksey's on-field his talent speaks for itself. He made 110 tackles and had eight sacks while helping Mainland to a 9-3 season. If he does get the qualifying score, he said he would stick with his current list of suitors.

"I'm settled because they're the ones that stuck through in case I got my test score,'' Kirksey said. "They didn't just back off. That makes me know they really care. I'll make a decision before the signing date, I know that for sure. Probably after my visit to Rutgers.''

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