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Thursday, January 31, 2013
ESPN 150 OT Kirkland loses Miami spot

By Corey Dowlar

All signs pointed towards ESPN 150 offensive tackle Denver Kirkland (Miami/Booker T. Washington) selecting Miami on Wednesday, but that won't be happening.

According to Booker T. Washington head coach Tim Harris, the Hurricanes just couldn't wait for him. A new commitment, one that hasn't gone public, on the defensive side of the ball apparently has taken his place.

"They told him that they couldn't promise him that he could have a scholarship on signing day," Harris explained. "They got a commitment this morning from a defensive lineman, and so they chose to go ahead with that route. It is the same reason Ira Denson canceled his visit this weekend. That's pretty much what it was, it was a numbers game for them."

Kirkland, rated the 12th-best offensive tackle in the nation, wasn't exactly happy about how it all turned out, obviously.

Harris explained that Kirkland was just days away from fulfilling a dream he's had for a while, and now it's gone, so close to the finish line. But his situation, announcing on signing day, was well known for a while.

"He's hurt; I think he's extremely hurt -- upset," Harris described. "I think, as a kid, he looked at Miami as a place that he wanted to go to growing up. You know, being a couple days away from possibly signing to the school that he's liked all these years -- but he wasn't ready to commit yet, because there were two other schools he liked, and he wanted to be completely sure. He's had this signing day announcement for a long time now on ESPN. It wasn't a surprise to anyone that he was waiting until then, but they got a commitment from a defensive lineman. It hurt, but he's got to pick up the pieces the best he can and realize that it just wasn't in the cards for him."

Now just three teams stand in the race for his signature next week. And all three have gotten an official visit at one point or another.

"Florida State, Arkansas and Ole Miss," said Harris of the finalists.

It is unclear how this affects the decision of five-star outside linebacker Matthew Thomas, Kirkland's teammate, who is closely considering Miami, too.