Looks like a great fit and an elite talent! Welcome Darrin!
"You can't make me," Hoke said. "You're not my father."
Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. told me on Thursday that there was no way he was going to commit while visiting Michigan this weekend. He said he wanted to stick to his decision date which was set for August. He also said that this weekend’s visit was just a small opportunity for his family to get a feel for what Michigan has to offer. Sunday morning he had one more thing to say and verbally pledged to the Wolverines.
Just getting onto campus I had that gut feeling. I just felt it when I looked at the Block M on the stadium. I knew I could not say no to this place.
Kirkland Jr. said that the visit was all he’d hoped for in regards to his parents and that the family atmosphere was exactly what he was looking for.
This visit was all about spending time with the staff and their families. I wanted to do that for my parents and myself to see how we all worked together. First we sat down with Coach Hoke and his wife and just talked for a while. Then we went to lunch with Coach Mattison and his wife and Coach Mallory and his son. When we got back Coach Mattison showed me exactly how they would like to use me in the defense. All of that was just great for me and my family. It was just a great fit for us.
The family fit was obviously there, but what about the schematic fit? Kirkland Jr. is prototypically built for the MIKE linebacker position but Coach Mattison told him that he has some other plans for him early on in his career.
I will eventually be groomed into being the MIKE backer of the defense but he said early in my career I will have the opportunity to earn a spot playing WILL and in specific blitzing positions.
Once Darrin decided in his mind that he could see himself playing for Coach Mattison and living in Ann Arbor, he actually had to say the words. Commitments happen in a lot of different ways, but Kirkland Jr.’s is surely one of a kind.
(Laughs) I called Coach Hoke but he was in church so him and his wife ran out of church and I told him that I’m committing. His wife actually screamed out loud in church about it. (Laughs) It was pretty crazy!
Kirkland Jr. is now a Michigan recruit and they have had a recent history of becoming recruiters themselves. Darrin knows that he now has a job to do well before he ever arrives on campus.
My job is to help recruit the best class in 2015. That’s my mission. I’m trying to bring guys in to help win a National Championship. Coach Mattison really wants Keisean Lucier-South and Darian Roseboro to be in front of me. I talked to Keisean a little bit today but I’ll be checking in with a lot more guys soon. I’d really like Miles Boykin and Brian Cole on board too, personally. You always need weapons on offense!
With a recruiting mentality in place, Kirkland Jr. must also focus on performance and preparation.
I’ll be hitting hitting up the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in Detroit this summer, as well as the NFTC camp in Columbus. Most of all I’ll be getting ready for my senior season. We are trying to go out on top.
As for the Columbus mention, some people have voiced concerns about whether interest from the Buckeyes would cause Kirkland Jr. to develop wandering eyes. He had a clear message for those worried about him.
I’m 100% committed to the University of Michigan. I’m a Michigan man and I am true to my word. That is the type of person I am. GO BLUE!
Looks like a great fit and an elite talent! Welcome Darrin!
down to earth kid. I'm glad Michigan comes off as such a family-oriented place and it definitely helps with getting kids comfortable at the University. Happy to hear he will help recruit too.
I like that we're getting the players now who want to recruit for the team. I think that's going to help tremendously. I know many of the players they have been going for will likely be late in deciding but it can't hurt to start now.
Thanks for the great update Brandon.
He seems like a solid kid and a thumper at LB. Hope he wins lots of playing time in a couple of years at MIKE.
Congrats to him and the staff.
That last block quote is absolute gold. Thanks Brandon.
Great stuff. And for some reason the negative group think with a big contingent of Michigan fans won't comment here. It is so easy to criticize a program (even as a fan), but so hard to be positive when you are getting heat from a couple rival fan bases for a bad season and recent transition seasons.
Of course, I don't expect the weak swill from bubbling up from the critics even in this post.
I like this kid. Sounds like the type of person you want at Michigan!
Glad to hear he's solid on his commitment and won't be swayed by OSU if an offer comes calling!
The kid is built pretty well for a high-schooler. Good luck.
Thanks for the update Brandon! It's awesome that he loved Michigan so much that he couldn't help but commit today. Looking forward to seeing what he and Alex will do with recruiting the rest of their class!
Congrats Mr Kirkland. Looking forward to cheering for you on Saturdays!
And I will now have to see an LC game or two this year. Highschool football is fun too, now. Anybody else I should check out in-State?
Plays for Ben Davis and holds an offer.
Never seen a "Darrin" before.
KLS and Roseboro...Land 'em big fella!
That's a pretty standard thing for 4-3 Over defenses at the college level, to start your prototypical MIKE early on at OLB. MSU does it more with the SAM position, because they blitz more from the SAM position (they play field and boundary, FWIW, so their "SAM" is always lined up to the short side, meaning he's less likely to have to split out in coverage; Michigan appears to be playing more traditional SAM and WILL by strength). Michigan, on the other hand, seems to want to play their MIKE's early on at WILL and use that player more as the box defender. This is why both Bolden and Morgan are there currently, with Morgan likely being the backup MIKE and Bolden looking to slide into that role next year.
"I will have the opportunity to earn a spot playing WILL and in specific blitzing positions." DUDE, you're not supposed to tell everyone that!!!! Now they'll KNOW when we're gonna blitz...sheesh!
He showed blitz almost four months before the season starts. Kid's got a long way to go.
I can't imagine what the play will be.
Welcome aboard! Looks like another very good pick up. Now if our fanbase can have a little patience and let Hoke and Co. develop these great classes he's brought in I think we can really start making some noise in the Big10 and possibly nationally. GO BLUE!!!
pick up for Michigan! This dude could be a beast in the middle. Go Blue!
The kind of feel good story this board needs right now.
Good stuff. If there is one position that this staff really excels in recruiting, it's the LB spot. The team is going to be very deep in that area for years to come.
insight on how the coaches interact with the kids. Sounds like Hoke-Mattison and Co. have it right, or should I say how its supposed be at the college level. Unfortunately the process has become so corrupted, e.g. SEC. Interesting too that most of the BgTn teams, other than PS and Nebraska, have only a handful of players so far in the 2015 class. Wondering why such a slow start to the recruiting season for the BgTn?
and cheers for a great decision to become a Wolverine! Go Blue!