New Michigan Man: MLB Darrin Kirkland Jr.

Like predicted, the recruiting dominos are starting to fall for Team 136. The defense and recruiting class have just landed their defensive leader as Darrin Kirkland Jr. has committed to Michigan!

I\’ve Officially Committed to The University of Michigan & I\’m Ready to Join #Team136 #GoBlue #Hail 〽️Ⓜ️ pic.twitter.com/KHs6DqRJ5I

— Darrin Kirkland Jr. (@_KIRKjunior) May 18, 2014

One of the best pure middle linebackers in the country, Kirkland\’s addition gives Coach Mattison the Ray Lewis of his defense thanks to great instincts, vision, leadership, and is a tackling machine. His ability to shed blocks and seek out the ball carrier unlike many others. He\’s also a great at getting after the quarterback via the blitz, which we will see highlighted and used a lot with Jake Ryan in 2014.

For quite awhile, Wolverine recruiting analysts have been predicting Kirkland to the Wolverines after the amount of visits he made and his admitted love for the program and coaches. During the latest visit, DK knew Michigan was the place for him as soon as he stepped on campus. He let 247 Sports\’ Steve Lorenz know all about it:

\”As soon as I saw the Block M on campus, I knew I was committing on this trip,\” Kirkland said. \”I felt great about Michigan. My parents really like Michigan and I\’m excited to be a part of the Michigan program.\”

Thanks to the #1 player in Indiana\’s addition, Michigan gets another lead on the recruiting trail. Kirkland is a top recruit and camps a lot. This will allow him to recruit to make Team 136 as strong of a class as possible.

Height: 6\’2\’\’

Weight: 228lbs

Offers: Oregon, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Penn State, Nebraska, etc.

Rankings: Scout (4*, #135) – 247 (4*, #194) – Rivals (4*, #183) ESPN (4*,  #256)

Highlights

As for the Rest of the Class

Kirkland is commitment #7 (possibly #6 depending on the Shaun Crawford visits) which means there are anywhere from 6 to 10-ish spots available. And I think several of those spots will be filled up this summer as Chris Clark, Darian Roseboro, Grant Newsome, Auden Tate and Miles Boykin should be deciding. Even Alex Malzone knows the dominoes are about to fall:

This class is about to take off, just watch — Alex Malzone (@AlexMalzone) May 18, 2014

When he committed, DK was told that the staff would any be taking 1 more linebacker. That spot will likely be filled by Asmar Bilal, Osa Masina, Justin Hilliard, Tyriq Thompson, or Joshua McMillon. If I had to guess it would be Bilal at the moment thanks to being good friends with Kirkland. However, I think the staff would except commitments from either Masina or Hilliard as a third linebacker.