ESPN 300 for 2015 updated

Tag: Darrin Kirkland Jr.

20Jun 2014
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ESPN 300 for 2015 updated

Avon (CT) Old Farms tight end Chris Clark is
Michigan’s highest rated commit (image via 247 Sports)

ESPN released an updated list of top 300 prospects for 2015. Here’s what it looked like back in April (LINK). Movement for Michigan commits:

– Chris Clark fell from #104 to #108
– Garrett Taylor fell from #106 to #110
– Tyree Kinnel fell from #182 to #188
– Grant Newsome fell from #235 to #240
– Darrin Kirkland, Jr. jumped from #265 to #263

Here are the rest of Michigan’s offerees:

3. Kevin Toliver II – CB – Florida (LSU)
4. Josh Sweat – DE – Virginia
6. Terry Beckner, Jr. – DE – Illinois
7. Mitch Hyatt – OT – Georgia (Clemson)
9. Tim Settle – DT – Virginia
10. Kendall Sheffield – CB – Texas
11. George Campbell – ATH – Florida
13. Justin Hilliard – LB – Ohio
16. Jashon Cornell – DE – Minnesota

17. Rasheem Green – DT – California
18. Keisean Lucier-South – DE – California
19. Josh Rosen – QB – California (UCLA)
20. Iman Marshall – CB – California
22. Shy Tuttle – DT – North Carolina
24. Jeffery Holland – LB – Florida
27. Tyron Johnson – WR – Louisiana
28. Damien Harris – RB – Kentucky
29. Preston Williams – WR – Georgia (Tennessee)
32. Minkah Fitzpatrick – CB – New Jersey (Alabama)
38. Jarrett Stidham – QB – Texas (Texas Tech)
39. Malik Jefferson – LB – Texas
43. Matt Burrell, Jr. – OT – Virginia
47. Christian Kirk – WR – Arizona
49. Deondre Francois – QB – Florida
50. Jacques Patrick – RB – Florida
52. Ronald Jones II – RB – Texas (Oklahoma State)
56. Blake Barnett – QB – California (Alabama)
57. Adonis Thomas – LB – Georgia
58. Hale Hentges – TE – Missouri (Alabama)
59. Drew Richmond – OT – Tennessee
63. Abdul Bello – OT – Florida
65. DaMarkus Lodge – WR – Texas (Texas A&M)
68. Jerome Baker – LB – Ohio
70. Devonaire Clarington – TE – Florida
71. Soso Jamabo – RB – Texas
74. Jaylon Lane – CB – Texas (Oklahoma State)
75. Rashad Roundtree – S – Georgia
77. Anthony Wheeler – LB – Texas
79. Dexter Williams – RB – Florida (Miami)
81. Johnny Frasier – RB – North Carolina
86. Jake Fruhmorgen – OT – Florida (Clemson)
90. Jalen Dalton – DE – North Carolina
94. Keenan Walker – OT – Arizona (Arizona)
97. Sterling Jenkins – OT – Pennsylvania (Penn State)
98. Christian Pellage – OT – Florida
99. Hjalte Froholdt – DT – Ohio (Arkansas)
104. Ryan Bates – OT – Pennsylvania (Penn State)
105. Clelin Ferrell – DE – Virginia (Clemson)
107. Tyler Jordan – OG – Florida (Florida)
108. Chris Clark – TE – Connecticut (Michigan)
110. Garrett Taylor – CB – Virginia (Michigan)
122. Osa Masina – LB – Utah
135. Ty’Son Williams – RB – South Carolina
136. Jordan Whitehead – CB – Pennsylvania
137. Brian Cole – ATH – Michigan
139. Devante Peete – WR – Florida
150. Marcus Lewis – S – Washington, D.C. (Florida)
153. Mike Weber – RB – Michigan
155. Ray-Ray McCloud III – RB – Florida
157. Shaun Crawford – CB – Ohio (Notre Dame)
159. Joshua McMillon – LB – Tennessee
161. Darian Roseboro – DT – North Carolina
164. John Reid – CB – Pennsylvania
187. Juwan Johnson – WR – New Jersey (Penn State)
188. Tyree Kinnel – S – Ohio (Michigan)
223. Rashard Causey, Jr. – CB – Florida (Florida Atlantic)
233. Isaiah Prince – OT – Maryland
235. Pat Allen – OT – Maryland
240. Grant Newsome – OT – New Jersey (Michigan)
255. Cameron Townsend – LB – Texas
258. Cameron Ordway – CB – Tennessee
263. Darrin Kirkland, Jr. – LB – Indiana (Michigan)

12Jun 2014
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2014 Sound Mind Sound Body Camp Attendees

St. Paul (MN) Cretin-Derham defensive end Jashon Cornell (image via MGoBlog)

The Sound Mind Sound Body Camp will be taking place on June 12th and 13th at Chandler Park Academy in Harper Woods, MI. This event continuously attracts a lot of the top talent in the midwest and some big-time prospects from around the country, too. Lots of college coaches will be in attendance, and the two head coaches of the in-state powers (Michigan’s Brady Hoke and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio) will both be speaking. Several of these prospects will capitalize on the opportunity to head up the road and see the local universities.

This list includes players who intend to visit. There are too many to profile each one, but an asterisk denotes an offer from the Wolverines.

Joshua Alabi – DE – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech*
Brian Alsobrooks – QB – Livonia (MI) Churchill
Kei Beckham – QB – Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison
Avonte’ Bell – RB – Lansing (MI) Sexton

Levante Bellamy – RB – Indianapolis (IN) Brebeuf Jesuit
Shahid Bellamy – DT – Oak Park (MI) Oak Park: committed to Central Michigan
Jamal Brown – S – Chicago (IL) Phillips: committed to Western Michigan
Ray Buford – CB – Southfield (MI) Southfield
Jayru Campbell – QB – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: committed to Michigan State
Jordan Colbert – LB – Griffin (GA) Griffin: committed to Auburn
Brian Cole – ATH – Saginaw (MI) Heritage*
Jashon Cornell – DE – St. Paul (MN) Cretin Derham*
Daniel Crawford – TE – Macomb (MI) Dakota: committed to Northern Illinois
Anton Curtis – WR – Detroit (MI) East English Village
Paul Engram – LB – Southfield (MI) Southfield: committed to Western Michigan
Wesley French – OG – St. Joseph (MI) St. Joseph
Neville Gallimore – DT – St. Catharines (Ontario) Canada Prep Football Academy
Davontae Ginwright – S – Southfield (MI) Southfield
Eric Glover-Williams – CB – Canton (OH) McKinley:
 committed to Ohio State
Alex Grace – RB – Saginaw (MI) Swan Valley
DaQuan Hawkins – DT – Atlanta (GA) Westlake
Joshuwa Holloman – RB – Avondale (MI) Avondale

Obbie Jackson – WR – West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield
Abdallah Jaffal – LB – Dearborn (MI) Fordson: committed to Western Michigan
Dior Johnson – S – Southfield (MI) Southfield
Shaq Jones – Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep
John Kelly – RB – Oak Park (MI) Oak Park
Darrin Kirkland, Jr. – LB – Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence Central*: committed to Michigan
Alex Malzone – QB – Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice*: committed to Michigan
Carter Masek – LB – Grand Rapids (MI) East Grand Rapids: committed to Miami-OH
Armani McNulty – CB – Bolingbrook (IL) Bolingbrook
Tyrone Miller – S – Saline (MI) Saline
D.J. Moore – WR – Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep
David Moorman – OT – Northville (MI) Northville: committed to Wisconsin
James Morgan – QB – Green Bay (WI) Ashwaubenon
Alec Murphy – RB – Nixa (MO) Nixa*
Alex Mussat – QB – Troy (MI) Troy

Riley Neal – QB – Yorktown (IN) Yorktown
Stanley Norman – CB – Junipero (CA) Serra
Michael Oliver – LB – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Jacques Patrick – RB – Orlando (FL) Timber Creek*
Grant Perry – WR – Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice
Kyle Pugh – LB – Chicago (IL) Bloom
T.J. Rahming – WR – Powder Springs (GA) McEachern
Reggie Rogers – S – Massillon (OH) Washington
Romello Ross – RB – Detroit (MI) Western
Matt Skibinski – OT – Livonia (MI) Churchill:
 committed to Miami-OH
Tyson Smith – CB – Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s: committed to Michigan State
Equanimeous St. Brown – WR – Anaheim (CA) Servite
Kyonta’ Stallworth – OT – Detroit (MI) King:
 committed to Michigan State
Jayson Stanley – WR – Fairburn (GA) Creekside
Immanuel Stinson – DE – Oak Park (MI) Oak Park
Damon Terry – WR – Lansing (MI) Everett: committed to Central Michigan
Tyriq Thompson – LB – Detroit (MI) King*
Brandon Tiassum – DT – Indianapolis (IN) Park Tudor: committed to Notre Dame
D’Andre Walker – DE – Fairburn (GA) Langston Hughes
Mike Weber – RB – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech*
Delvin Weems – RB – Tucker (GA) Tucker:
committed to Marshall
Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. – TE – Canisius (NY) Manlius*
Darryl Williams – OT – Bessemer (AL) City
Preston Williams – WR – Hampton (GA) Lovejoy*

Hassan Belton – LB – Blythewood (GA) Bluthewood
Messiah DeWeaver – QB – Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison
Matt Falcon – RB – Southfield (MI) Southfield
Jojo Garcia – DT – Woodbury (MN) East Ridge
Seth Green – QB – Woodbury (MN) East Ridge
Dele’ Harding – LB – Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy

Mecole Hardman – CB – Elberton (GA) Elbert County
Daelin Hayes – LB – Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s*
Jesse Johnson – S – Detroit (MI) King
Juanye Johnson – OG – Muskegon (MI) Muskegon

Thiyo Lukusa – OT – Traverse City (MI) West*
Jalen Martin – WR – Harper Woods (MI) Chandler Park Academy
Ostell Martin – OT – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech

Michael Onwenu – DT – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Kalebb Perry – WR – Mount Pleasant (MI) Mount Pleasant
Martell Pettaway – RB – St. Clair Shores (MI) South Lake
David Reese – LB – Farmington (MI) Farmington
Patrice Rene – S – Ottawa (Ontario) St. Peter

Naseir Upshur – WR – Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep*

Donovan Johnson – CB – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Emani Mason – OT – Detroit (MI) East English Village

Donovan Peoples-Jones – WR – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Joshua Ross – LB – Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s*
Jamyest Williams – RB – Archer (GA)

21May 2014
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Rivals 250 updated for 2015

New Michigan commit Darrin Kirkland, Jr. is the #167 player in the country

Rivals updated its top 250 prospects on Tuesday. Here’s what it looked like back in February. Movement for Michigan commits since then:

– Shaun Crawford drops from #106 to #111
– Tyree Kinnel drops from #188 to #193

101. John Reid – CB – Pennsylvania
103. Michael Weber – RB – Michigan
106. Brian Cole – ATH – Michigan
111. Shaun Crawford – CB – Ohio (Michigan)
116. Miles Boykin – WR – Illinois
139. Juwan Johnson – WR – New Jersey (Penn State)
146. Chris Clark – TE – Connecticut
147. Matthew Burrell, Jr. – OG – Virginia
154. Devonaire Clarington – TE – Florida
164. Hale Hentges – TE – Missouri
167. Darrin Kirkland, Jr. – LB – Indiana (Michigan)
169. Keenan Walker – OT – Arizona (Arizona)
170. Deondre Francois – QB – Florida
191. Hjalte Froholdt – DT – Ohio (Arkansas)
193. Tyree Kinnel – S – Ohio (Michigan)
196. Auden Tate – WR – Florida
199. Grant Newsome – OT – New Jersey
206. Josh Barajas – LB – Indiana (Penn State)
213. Devante Peete – WR – Florida
216. Anthony Wheeler – LB – Texas
222. Ryan Bates – OT – Pennsylvania (Penn State)
223. Joshua McMillon – LB – Tennessee
235. Juval Mollette – WR – North Carolina
239. Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. – TE – New York
241. Jordan Whitehead – CB – Pennsylvania
250. Prentice McKinney – S – Texas (Notre Dame)

19May 2014
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Darrin Kirkland Jr., Wolverine

Darrin Kirkland, Jr. (right) with fellow Indiana linebacker Asmar Bilal

Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence Central linebacker Darrin Kirkland, Jr. committed to Michigan on Sunday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Indiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin, among others.

Kirkland is a 6’2″, 228 lb. prospect. As a junior in 2013, he made 108 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 1 interception, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 forced fumbles.

ESPN: 4-star, 81 grade, #7 ILB, #256 overall, #1 in Indiana
Rivals: 4-star, #6 ILB, #183 overall, #1 in Indiana
Scout: 4-star, #135 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 90 grade, #7 ILB, #3 in Indiana

Kirkland visited Michigan numerous times throughout the recruiting process, including several times before he was offered. He was clearly hoping for an offer from the Wolverines, but the coaches took their time in evaluating him. At one point Kirkland’s father mentioned that if an offer didn’t come soon, Darrin the younger would have to look elsewhere, which was an indication that Michigan was at least one of his top couple schools, if not #1. In the meantime, offers rolled in from Penn State, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Ole Miss. Then on April 4th, the offer from the Wolverines was extended. Shortly thereafter, Kirkland set a commitment day for May 30th, which was soon canceled after he picked up tenders from Oklahoma and Texas. He then said that he wanted to commit in August before his senior season began. On an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor this weekend, he unexpectedly committed, pulling head coach Brady Hoke out of church to do so.

Kirkland has the thickness of a prototypical middle linebacker. He’s a very stout player who won’t get pushed out of position and won’t get run over. He shows some good tackling ability and could be a menacing force as a thumping middle linebacker. While he doesn’t have great speed, he does show some solid short-area quickness and agility, which helps him avoid blockers and make some plays in confined spaces. He plays with good intensity and emotion, which is a plus for a defender.

I am not a fan of some of Kirkland’s habits, which may have more to do with his coaching. First of all, his stance is not consistent; he is not balanced and tips his blitzes. Also, I would like to see him taking a read step toward the line of scrimmage at the snap, but he mostly sits and waits until he reads the play. This concerns me because it may indicate some problems with play recognition. Kirkland does a poor job of engaging blockers, taking them on with his shoulder instead of his hands; at times he almost looks surprised when he gets blocked. As for athleticism, he lacks great speed and his feet are somewhat heavy, so he looks like a run-stopping specialist.

Overall, I think Kirkland has some positive qualities but does not look like a superstar in the making. He looks like an old-fashioned middle linebacker who can be effective against run-oriented Big Ten teams like Michigan State and Wisconsin. But he looks like a two-down linebacker who might find his lack of athleticism exposed against passing-oriented or spread teams. Ohio State ran all over Michigan last year with Carlos Hyde, so I see a need for players like Kirkland. The question is: how versatile can he be? I see him as a 3-4 inside linebacker, but he probably fits at MIKE for the Wolverines. The nearest approximation I can come up with from recent years is J.B. Fitzgerald, who made 58 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, and 1 sack from 2008-2011.

The Wolverines lose two senior inside linebackers after the 2014 season in the forms of Desmond Morgan and Jake Ryan. When Kirkland arrives in 2015, he will be competing with senior Joe Bolden, junior Ben Gedeon, redshirt sophomore Mike McCray, and potentially sophomores Michael Ferns and Noah Furbush, although we have seen that positions are fluid with Michigan moving from the 4-3 Under to the 4-3 Over this off-season. A redshirt seems like a 50/50 proposition.

Kirkland is Michigan’s seventh commitment in the class of 2015, a class that is currently scheduled to be roughly 13-strong. He’s the first commitment from Warren Central since mid-1990’s running back Ray Jackson. Before the commitment of Dan Samuelson in the 2013 class, it had been since 2008 (Kurt Wermers) that Michigan had gone without successfully recruited someone from the Hoosier State. With such a small class, this may spell the end of inside linebacker recruiting. The staff still wants a running back or two, a couple offensive linemen, at least one tight end, and at least one defensive end. However, the class’s numbers will inevitably grow by next February.

Highlights can be found on Hudl (LINK).

TTB Rating: 69 (ratings explanation)

15May 2014
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Visitor: May 16-18, 2014

Darrin Kirkland, Jr. (right) visited with fellow Indiana linebacker Asmar Bilal this spring

Darrin Kirkland, Jr. – LB – Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence Central: Kirkland is a 6’2″, 228 lb. linebacker with offers from Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Texas, and Tennessee, among others. He’s a 247 Composite 4-star, the #5 inside linebacker, and #194 overall. He had 110 tackles and 8 sacks as a junior in 2013. Kirkland visited Michigan several times and finally picked up a Michigan offer this spring; he was set to announce later this month, but then offers from Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, etc. caused him to take a step back. He now plans to make a decision in August. Michigan was thought to be one of his top couple schools, but things got foggier when he postponed the decision.