Jaxson Kirkland (Brandon Huffman)

UCLA verbal Jaxson Kirkland in love with Mike Leach's WSU offense, he tells CF.C after Wazzu in-home; Sets WSU official visit date

PORTLAND 3-STAR offensive tackle prospect Jaxson Kirkland played host for two hours on Monday night to Washington State's Eric Mele and Clay McGuire. The 6-7, 305-pounder has been verbally committed to UCLA for a while now but tells CF.C he will officially visit Wazzu. And there's just something about that Mike Leach Air Raid offense, Kirkland says, that strikes a chord with him.

You know a recruit is a good interview when the first quote in the story came at the end of the conversation. 

"I want to mention just one more thing about Wazzu ... I love pass blocking.  I love run blocking as a big tackle like they do, and obviously they also drop back.  I'm just kinda in love with that offense,” said Jesuit High's Kirkland.

Kirkland, ranked by Scout.com as the No. 10 offensive tackle prospect in the West and in the top 75 nationally, verballed to UCLA back in August over four other Pac-12 schools including WSU. 

Following his sit-down with Mele (area recruiter) and McGuire (position coach) last night, Kirkland told CF.C he’ll officially visit UCLA next week, and then after the New Year, he has an official set up with Utah for Jan. 13.   Kirkland will officially visit Washington State on Jan. 20.  He also said he’s still solid to the Bruins.

"I'm still committed there but I'm still keeping my options open,” said Kirkland.  “The success (WSU) has had the (past two years) they've totally changed the program and atmosphere up there.”

GROWING UP, Kirkland said, he’s always loved the possibility of living in California and the Los Angeles area. But he's not exclusively a "city guy." Kirkland made plain there’s also something to be said about the Palouse.

"I love the whole rural area (vibe) they have going on …  I really love that … and I like Coach Leach, very cool guy.  I just kinda like everything about Wazzu,” said Kirkland.

What have the offering schools (in the double-digits) this recruiting cycle liked most about him out on the field?

“They like my size but a lot of big guys have trouble moving. They’ve said they like that I can really move my feet … they also like that there’s room for growth (not size, developmentally)  and that I have a high ceiling. They’ve said I’ve really grown from my junior film to my senior film… they just like the upside, and I’m going to keep working,” said Kirkland.

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What’s one of things Kirkland likes most about UCLA?  

"For my overall goal of being in the NFL, being a starter there (UCLA) it’s pretty much automatic you’re getting looked at by NFL,” said Kirkland.

Kirkland then made sure to mention football careers can be short and every player needs a backup plan. A big factor in whom he signs with on Feb. 1, Kirkland said, will be about the opportunities for success on the field, and off the field as well.

Kirkland said UCLA head man Jim Mora and OL coach Adrian Klemm will have an in-home with Kirkland on Thursday, and Utah is stopping by on Monday.  Washington State will also visit Kirkland in Portland next week for the second time, he said.

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