ORLANDO, Fla. -- Booker T. Washington offensive lineman Denver Kirkland couldn't hide the emotion he felt after helping the Tornadoes win a state championship Saturday night over Bolles.
Booker T. lost to Bolles last year after blowing a fourth quarter lead, so Saturday night's redemption felt good.
"It is hitting me that it took me four years of hard work to get here and win it," Kirkland said. "We came out and played hard and got the victory. I am just emotional right now. After the way we lost last year, it hurt and we weren't going to let that happen again. That team is well coached and we just have to hit them in the mouth first."
Kirkland is now turning his attention to recruiting and setting up his three remaining official visits. Kirkland has already taken visits to Florida State and Ole Miss. He plans to take an official visit to South Florida on January 11th and He will look to take his two remaining visits between Miami, USC, and West Virginia.
"I have two more months I am going to try and take all my visits and then wait until signing day to announce. I am going to look at all my options."
Kirkland does hope to take an official visit to Miami at some point in January. Kirkland says the Hurricanes have been showing him the most interest at this point and he has appreciated the support the UM coaching staff has shown him during Booker T's playoff run.
"Miami called me on Thursday night when we were preparing for the game the wish me luck," Kirkland said. "They have called me before all the playoff games. They have wished me luck and told me to go hard and I really appreciate that from them."
Kirkland has built a strong relationship with linebackers coach Micheal Barrow in particular.
"Coach Barrow came by the school last week and we were catching up on things like we always do. It is always good to talk with him because it is more than just football."
Kirkland would like to learn more about the potential sanctions that could hit the UM program in the coming months. He hopes the UM staff will be able to give him more information as he makes his decision in these final weeks before signing day.
"They aren't really telling me too much about the sanctions and that is why I am looking at other programs," Kirkland said. "I kind of wish they would talk more about it. I just want to know more what is going on and what they think."
Florida State offensive coordinator James Coley had an in home visit with Kirkland and his family earlier this week and he came away feeling better about the FSU program.
"It went good," Kirkland said of the in home visit. "We hit a lot of details and a lot of points about the school. We reviewed the graduation rate and the football program. They answered a lot of questions and I feel really good about them right now."
Kirkland discussed the positives of the other three schools he is looking at in these final weeks of his recruitment.
SOUTH FLORIDA: "I plan on visiting there January 11th. They were the first school to really get on me, so even though its a new coach now, I will always give them a look."
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: "I have heard a lot of good things about USC. They have had a lot of big time guys there and I just want to get out and see it for myself."
WEST VIRGINIA: "They have been talking to me a lot lately and so I am just listening. I just want to learn more about them."