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Kenton Kirkland commits to Florida State

Seminoles dip into Jacksonville.


The Florida State Seminoles football program received welcome news today as their 2023 recruiting class has added another talented prospect. FSU didn’t have to go far for its newest member of #Tribe23, dipping into the First Coast to snag Kenton Kirkland.

Kirkland, a 6’2”, 185 pound defensive back, plays for Raines High School in Jacksonville. He is being recruited as a cornerback for the Seminoles, with John Papuchis and Marcus Woodson tag-teaming his recruitment.

He is considered a high 3-star by the 247 Sports Composite List and ranked 490th nationally (44th best safety and 91st best player in Florida). 247 Sports has consistently rated him as a low 4-star (90 rating), however, which I believe is a better representation of his skills and potential. His offer list would back up that assertion.

Kirkland chose FSU over the Kentucky Wildcats, Florida Gators (where his uncle played) and Georgia Bulldogs. He boasts over 20 total offers, including the Cincinnati Bearcats, Indiana Hoosiers, LSU Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Michigan Wolverines, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Ole Miss Rebels, and Tennessee Volunteers.

From Andrew Ivins of 247 Sports:

A longer defensive back that can run. Measured in at 6-foot-1.5, 187 pounds summer before senior season. Competitive at the catch point and at the line of scrimmage as he spent much of junior season working in press-man coverage out on the perimeter. Spider-Man-like arms result in plenty of pass break ups (had 12 in 10 games as an 11th grader). Understands how to turn and put his hip on a receiver while tracking them down the field. Can quickly make up for most of his missteps with his long speed, which has been developed on the track (captured bronze at states in the 400-meter dash in spring of 2022). Ability to come up and meet a college-sized ball carrier in the hole a bit of a question mark given what he has put on film thus far. However, he has shown here and there that he’s not afraid to lower his helmet or shoulder pads. Likely to undergo a physical transformation once lifting in a college weight room and additional mass should – in theory – allow him to play with even more confidence in the box. Hails from Jacksonville Raines, which has a rich history of churning out NFL Draft picks like Lito Sheppard and Brian Dawkins. Will need to keep progressing once he arrives at the school of his choice, but has Power Five starter upside given reach (owns a near 77-inch wingspan), top gear and coverage skills. Could be deployed at a variety of different spots in the secondary depending on scheme or what’s needed.

Athletic Background

Also runs track ... As a junior, took 3rd in the 400-meter dash at the FHSAA Class 2A state track meet while anchoring a 4x400 team that captured gold ... Two-time district champion in the 400 … Has been playing football since he was 5 years old, but didn’t really give defensive back a try until he was in 10th grade.

2021: In 10 games, totaled 20 tackles, 12 pass break ups and an INT for a Raines program that went 8-3 in Florida’s 5A classification and won a district title.

Check out Tomahawk Nation’s official recruiting thread and stay tuned as The Three Stars will have more on this commitment.

Florida State Recruiting Class of 2023

(click on names for links to commitment articles)

Class of 2023 football commits

RUNNING BACK: 4 star Samuel Singleton Jr. (FL)

WIDE RECEIVER: 3 star Darren “Goldie” Lawrence (FL)

WIDE RECEIVER: 3 star Vandrevius Jacobs (FL)

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star Lucas Simmons (FL)

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star Roderick Kearney (FL)

DEFENSIVE END: 4 star Lamont “Boots” Green, Jr. (FL)

DEFENSIVE END: 3 star JUCO Jaden Jones (AL)

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 3 star Tavion Gadson (GA)

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star Keldric Faulk (AL)

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star Keith Sampson, Jr. (NC)

LINEBACKER: 3 star DeMarco Ward (GA)

DEFENSIVE BACK/ATHLETE: 3 star Quindarrius Jones (MS)

DEFENSIVE BACK: 3 star Ja’Bril Rawls (FL)

DEFENSIVE BACK: 3 star Kenton “KJ” Kirkland (FL)

Florida State of Recruiting: The Three Stars podcasts

(8/5/22): Instant reaction to Samuel Singleton’s commitment

(8/2/22): Seminole Showcase recap, quarterback recruiting

(7/5/22): Some blue chip lineman commits and NIL thoughts

(6/16/22): Recapping a trio of commits and Tae Woody’s addition to the roster

(6/9/22): Breaking down the QB targets

(3/29/22): Quarterbacks

(3/3/22): Previewing FSU’s first 2023 Elite Junior Day