Payton Kirkland on recruiting plans, growing through adversity, Midwest roots

On3 imageby:Jeremy Birmingham04/19/21



Ohio State football recruiting can be a wild ride full of twists and turns as recruits from all over the country maneuver their way to signing day. Lettermen Row is here to help navigate the tumultuous roads by getting to the heart of the matter with the young football players and Ohio State coaches and staff members themselves. Today’s guest is 2023 standout offensive lineman Payton Kirkland.

The last year hasn’t been easy for anyone.

That didn’t stop 2023 offensive lineman Payton Kirkland from making the most of it. He used the extra time to work on his craft, to learn football and hone his body. The work has paid off.

The 6-foot-7, 315-pound sophomore has early scholarship offers from 41 schools. College coaches are clearly paying attention to the work he’s done in his two years at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando. Ohio State was one of the early believers, led by Central Florida recruiting ace Tony Alford. The offer from the Buckeyes was something that the Chicago native had long dreamed of.

“It’s huge for me and my family — it’s something we’ve always dreamed of,” Kirkland said at the time. “My mom has always wanted one of her kids to have an opportunity to attend Ohio State. I’ve been on campus when I was younger and fell in love with it. We’re from Chicago originally, and my sister was taking a campus tour and I tagged along.

“I was like eight or nine years old. It felt like home. Something came over me that told me it’s somewhere I could see myself at in the future.”

The future is coming soon for Payton Kirkland. Whether or not he can see himself at Ohio State is still being sorted out. He’ll be on the road throughout the entire month of June, trying to sort out his numerous opportunities.

What is he looking for outside of a winning football program? How important are the connections he’s making with his peers? What former Buckeyes lineman does he watch the most?

One of Ohio State’s four in-state 2023 offers joined Birminology to talk about those things and more with Lettermen Row.

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