Payton Kirkland, OT
It’s pretty difficult to discern rumor from fact as we head into the highly anticipated weekend commitment on July 23 from the touted four-star Dr. Phillips (FL) offensive tackle Payton Kirkland. Texas appeared to be trending to potentially push for a commitment from Kirkland as the recruiting news cycle really picked up on the Forty Acres in the middle of this week.
It seemed like some of the smoke surrounding the connection between Texas and Kirkland slowed down this week when he took to social media on July 20 to tamp down these rumors and reports. Kirkland tweeted out “fake news” and “haven’t taken a visit or anything” with a laughing emoji in regard to the rumors linking him to the Longhorns this week.
Moreover, just a few weeks ago, it looked like Texas and offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Kyle Flood were in the process of scheduling Kirkland for a summer official visit. But that process eventually fell by the wayside once the dead period arrived.
I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Kirkland still communicating with Texas. And it still appears that Texas could remain in the running to land a commitment from the sizable 6-foot-6 and 345-pound offensive tackle this coming weekend.
Kirkland currently looks to be leaning toward either the Michigan State Spartans or Florida as his July 23 announcement approaches. Michigan State holds the most analyst/expert forecasts from most of the major recruiting services at this point.
No matter what, Flood and the Longhorns still sit in a good spot right now in terms of offensive line recruiting in the 2023 class. Texas currently holds four offensive line commits in the 2023 class, highlighted by four-star Harker Heights (TX) offensive tackle Jaydon Chatman.