Commitment Impact: Andrew Kirkland

Andrew Kirkland, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman from Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore. is Washington's 16th known public commitment for the 2013 recruiting class. Kirkland's recruitment to UW harkens back to a day where some old-school recruiting and evaluating took place.

Doing Their Homework - Kirkland was a player that has always been on Washington's radar. In fact, Jesuit might arguably boast the best prep offensive line on the west coast, with Doug Brenner, Max Rich and Ryan Brown all receiving Pac-12 interest, and Brenner and Rich have standing Pac-12 offers.

But the Huskies weren't prepared to offer Andrew until they saw him in person. UW Offensive Line coach Dan Cozzetto worked Kirkland out at UW as part of their Rising Stars camp and it was based off that performance that he was offered a scholarship. The UW staff got a chance to see him move, watch him perform and see how he dealt with adversity. He passed with flying colors, and that's when Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian offered Kirkland a chance to play for the Huskies.

"They were talking to me about how I looked on film before the camp," said Kirkland when he committed to the Huskies on July 3rd. "I went out there and did the best I could at the camp and I guess they thought that I looked even better - so they offered. They liked my toughness and tenacity and how I compete on every play, every breath. They like my athleticism."

Bucking a Trend? - Oregon has been a good place for UW to recruit historically, with a bunch of great Huskies having prepped in the Beaver State. Walter Bailey, Taylor Barton, Bruce Beall, Thane Cleland, Brett Collins, Adam Cooney, Marshall Cromer, Tony Dominque, Trevor Highfield, Mark Jones, Matt Jones, Mark Kilpack, Spencer Marona, Dave Pear, Pete Pierson, Steve Roberts, Jim Rodgers, Bob Schloredt, Paul Sicaro, Sonny Sixkiller, Tom Sparlin, Arnie Weinmeister, Gene Willis, Chad Wolfe, Bo Yates and Mike Zandofsky are just some Huskies that played high school ball in Oregon.

But the last few signees from Oregon have been James Atoe, Jordan Polk, Scott Shugert and Erik Berglund. Add in the fact that Keanon Lowe committed to Sarkisian and the Huskies in 2010 only to flip his commitment to Oregon a week before Signing Day, and you can see how it's been rather sparse down south.

Atoe offers hope for a turn of the Huskies' fortunes, as he's expected to play a lot this year as a redshirt sophomore. Kirkland could be the next in line.

Getting the Early Commits Secured - Kirkland's commitment came four days after Washington nabbed eight new verbal commitments for the 2013 and 2014 classes (seven for 2013 and one for 2014). Nowadays it seems the norm to try and secure as many commitments before the summer is over. That means they can really start to narrow their focus for the final few spots on their recruiting list, while at the same time making sure they do everything in their power to maintain the commitments they do have. Right now Kirkland is the most recent verbal commitment. Crunching the numbers, there appears to be 14 current scholarshipped juniors for 2012 (Callier, Ducre, Fuimaono, Gilliland, Kohler, Parker, Pelluer, Potoa'e, Price, Shamburger, Sims, Kevin Smith, Stevenson and Tutogi). If we assume the program is at the 85 scholarship limit for this upcoming season, that means the numbers again are going to be very tight for attrition. Assuming there is some (and there always is, whether it's medical reasons or a desire to transfer), that could add to the number of slots available for the 2013 class. But right now it sure looks like 20 signees would be a safe bet. With Kirkland's commitment, that would mean there are roughly 4-5 spots still available - so the UW coaches can really pin-point their top remaining targets and be somewhat choosy in who they try to get 'in the boat'.

Where Does Kirkland Fit In? - Kirkland is a prospect that plays right tackle for Jesuit, but it appears that he's destined for guard according to his commit comments. Below is a very rough sketch of offensive line depth heading into the 2012 season, with incoming scholarship freshmen in parentheses:

LT - Micah Hatchie, Dexter Charles (Nathan Dean)
LG - Colin Tanigawa or Dexter Charles (Shane Brostek)
Center - Drew Schaefer, Mike Criste, Siosifa Tufunga (Cory English)
RG - James Atoe or Erik Kohler (Jake Eldrenkamp)
RT - Ben Riva or Erik Kohler (Taylor Hindy)

Kirkland is the third offensive line prospect for the 2013 recruiting class, following Dane Crane and Poasi Moala. Expect the Huskies to take at least one more offensive lineman - assuming those three commitments stick. Oregon could again present problems here like they did for Lowe a few years ago, but there's nothing yet to indicate the Ducks are interested in Kirkland.

The beauty of getting Kirkland is, depending on what they do with Moala they can move Kirkland inside or out. He plays tackle for Jesuit currently, so that's a natural fit - but his body type might mean a more prosperous future inside. Either way, Kirkland has the position flexibility to be a valuable piece to Cozzetto's arsenal of players.

Player Evaluation - "Plays tackle at the high school level, but I see him sliding inside to guard in college. I think he has the ability to play right tackle if needed, but his best fit should be on the interior. Moves well for a player his size. He is an excellent run blocker with the ability to move opponents off the line of scrimmage. I think he plays with great leverage and should only get stouter in a college weight program. The weaker half of his game is his pass blocking and he can be susceptible at times to the speed rush. I don't know if there is an aspect of his game that wows you, but I don't see any holes either. I think Husky fans will love his consistency and is a prospect that you can trust to handle his assignment. High character, work ethic and intelligence" - Jake Worthen, Scout.com West Coast Analyst

Junior Highlight Film:
You can view Andrew Kirkland's 2011 highlights here:


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