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Payton Kirkland: 6-foot-7 sophomore OT gushes about ‘dream school’ UGA offer

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry details a very impressive sophomore prospect and his keen interest in the University of Georgia. Payton Kirkland lives in Florida but has dreamed about being a Bulldog. 

Payton Kirkland is a class of 2023 football prospect from Florida who recently picked up an offer from Georgia.

His story and pronounced interest in UGA says two things:

  • It seems like the players just keep getting bigger and bigger. Kirkland is already 6 feet, 7 inches and 315 pounds. He is already in a size-17 shoe. 
  • Georgia’s recruiting footprint also keeps getting bigger and wider. Kirkland grew up in Chicago, now lives in Orlando and definitely feels UGA is a “dream school” in every sense of the term. 

Kirkland shared the news of the offer with the following tweet. We’re beginning to see more and more of this from places not named Albany or Atlanta or Columbus or Jacksonville or Savannah.

Why did he feel that way about the chance to play for Georgia? Let’s allow him to get his sizable arms around that topic. He said his considerable wingspan has been measured at 85 inches in length.

“I just got a big smile on my face when I was offered by Georgia,” he told DawgNation. “I was like ‘Really’ with that because I was blown away. That’s my dream school.”

He took a visit to UGA for a game when he was in the eighth grade.

“I’ve been to the campus at Georgia once before and I just fell in love with it. It was love at first sight mentality. Everyone just has that ‘Dawg’ mentality at Georgia.”

Kirkland actually attended that game with now-Georgia freshman Jalen Carter.

“I went as a recruit with Jalen Carter,” Kirkland said. “It was really just being friends with him. Our moms were friends first and then he and I have been cool from then on.”

Georgia running backs coach Dell McGee extended the offer.

“He said I had a full-ride scholarship to the University of Georgia and I’ve been smiling ever since I said that,” Kirkland said. “I’m still smiling now saying all of this as we speak.”

The sophomore at Dr. Phillips High in Orlando put Andrew Thomas on that offer tweet for a reason. He sees Thomas as a prime example of what a career at UGA could mean to him.

Thomas just went No. 4 overall as the highest offensive lineman selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.

“That’s one of the players I model my game after,” Kirkland. “Thomas is one of those along with [NFL Hall of Famer] Jonathan Odgen.”

Carter was already telling him about Georgia on that trip back when he was in middle school. That was for the Middle Tennesse game in 2018.

“He was already telling me then at the time that Georgia was the place to be,” Kirkland said. “He tells me now that it is just about the ‘Dawg’ mentality being at Georgia. I mean who wouldn’t want to be a part of the Georgia Bulldogs program.”

Payton Kirkland-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Payton Kirkland started last fall as a true freshman for West Orange High School. (TK Photography/Courtesy photo)

Payton Kirkland: He’s so young but ……..

He plans at this time to make his college commitment on Aug. 12, 2022. That’s his mother’s birthday.

He said that is the day he wants to change her life.

“I do all of this for my mom,” he said. “That’s the reason why I do it. Seeing how she has always made the impossible possible in my life is why I strive to get better every day.”

Veronica Luckett is a single mother.

“Just her being able to provide for me means a lot,” Kirkland said. “I’ve seen my Mom at her best and her worst but she always tries her best to make something happen for us every single time.”

“PKay” feels confident with the run blocking part of his game right now. That’s to be expected.

“I feel like one of the strong suits of my game is my run blocking and then my pass pro technique and the recognition of the blitz,” he said.

He started last year at left tackle for West Orange High School in Florida. He’s since transferred to Dr. Phillips in Orlando.

If he was able to visit schools soon, he said he would visit both Georgia and Penn State.

He said he hasn’t had a growth spurt yet. Kirkland is just 15 years old and will turn 16 in September. He’s basically already grown seven inches in the last four years, but it has all been gradual and consistent.

Check out his freshman year highlights below.

 

SENTELL’S INTEL

(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)

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