Miami football 1 of 2 finalists for Payton Kirkland July 23 commitment

Oct 26, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 26, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Four-star offensive tackle Payton Kirkland named the Miami football program as one of two finalists ahead of his July 23 commitment. Kirkland was quoted by the Rivals.Com Miami site Canes Country that he told two of his previous four finalists that he is not coming and that it is safe to say Miami is still in the running.

Kirkland announced in March that Alabama, Florida, Michigan, and Oklahoma are the other four finalists. There are 247 Sports crystal balls that project Kirkland to Florida, Miami and Michigan State. The four most recent crystal balls project Kirkland to the Spartans, but all came from writers at the 247 Sports Michigan State site.

Gary Furman of CaneSport who recently moved from Rivals to On3 projected Kirkland will commit to Miami. The On3 prediction machine gives Florida a 51.8 percent chance for a commitment from Kirkland, Miami a 29.3 percent chance and Michigan State at 14.9 percent. Miami has three OL committed for 2023.

Three-star linemen Frankie Tinilau and Antonio Tripp were committed to the Miami football program before the Hurricanes received a pledge from five-star offensive tackle Francis Mauigoa on Monday. Mario Cristobal and his staff have added four OL since being hired in December. Miami has quickly added depth on the OL.

Kirkland is the 260th ranked player, 25th OT and 55th in Florida in the Class of 2023 out of Orlando Dr. Phillips. Current Miami OL John Campbell is a Dr. Phillips alum. The commitment from Mauigoa was key for Miami to set the foundation for the 2023 class with four-star quarterback Jaden Rashada who committed on June 26.

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As with multiple other OL considering Miami, the tandem of Cristobal and OL coach Alex Mirabal has impacted the recruitment of Kirkland. Cristobal worked with the OL during spring practice and that intrigues recruits. With Cristobal as the head coach, Miami should be able to sign better OL talent than they have recently.