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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Kirkland shocks with Arkansas

By Corey Long

MIAMI -- Four-star offensive lineman Denver Kirkland surprised many with his decision to play at Arkansas.

The No. 144 prospect in the ESPN 150, Kirkland had a drama-filled week leading up to signing day with Miami reportedly yanking his scholarship offer last week only to re-extend the offer Monday night after backlash from much of the public.

"It's been an emotional week," Kirkland said. "I just felt most wanted at Arkansas."

The 6-foot-5, 330-pound lineman keeps Arkansas on a hot streak. The Razorbacks also signed ESPN 150 running back Alex Collins today.

What is the impact of Kirkland's decision?

Instant Analysis

What it means for Arkansas: It means that the recruiting tandem of Charlie Partridge and Randy Shannon should not be underestimated. Kirkland was though to be leaning heavily to Miami until last week and even then very few observers expected him to leave the state.

What it means for Miami, Florida State: For Miami it's an embarrassing loss as the Hurricanes yanked Kirkland's offer last week only to re-extend it Monday night after some backlash from the public and local coaches. The incident was enough to turn off Kirkland and his teammate Matthew Thomas, who signed with FSU. For the Seminoles, Kirkland is a tough loss because offensive line is a major need position for them.

Turning point: Once Miami pulled Kirkland's scholarship offer last week, it opened the door for several programs to jump in. FSU and Ole Miss tried hard, but Arkansas won out.

Surprise (scale of 1-5): 5. The crowd in the auditorium was speechless. Nobody expected this decision.

Immediate impact (scale of 1-5): 4. Bielema was known for his offensive lines while at Wisconsin, and it's expected he will play several young guys on the line. Kirkland should be part of that group.