UCLA Football Recruiting: ATH Devin Kirkwood Commits to the Bruins
The four-star recruit from Gardena Serra becomes the best prospect in UCLA's class.
The UCLA Bruins football team picked up a major commitment Thursday afternoon when four-star athlete Devin Kirkwood announced via Twitter that he was committing to the Bruins.
Devin Kirkwood stands at 6’3” and weighs in at 175 pounds. The prospect out of Gardena Serra is ranked as a four-star recruit by 247Sports Composite Rankings and comes in as the 15th best athlete prospect in the country and the 22nd best prospect in the state of California, and recently jumped up to the #231 spot in the country. Kirkwood had cut his list down to five schools earlier this month, with UCLA among a group including Notre Dame, Arizona State, Colorado, and UC Berkeley, but he ultimately decided to join up with Chip Kelly’s program.
In talking to 247Sports’ Greg Biggins, Kirkwood mentions building a strong relationship with Chip Kelly and new UCLA DB coach Brian Norwood, which is a good sign for UCLA recruiting going forward if Norwood is able to step in and make an immediate recruiting impact. Perhaps most crucially, Kirkwood’s mother attended UCLA and the Bruins have long held a special place in his heart for that reason.
While listed as an athlete, Kirkwood projects as a defensive back at the next level and, considering the involvement of Norwood in his recruitment, it seems as though the Bruins see Kirkwood making an impact at that spot. With his size, Kirkwood has the ability to play both safety and cornerback, but Biggins notes that Kirkwood will start out at cornerback. That said, Kirkwood also plays wide receiver at Serra and, with his speed and length, it would be interesting to see if Kelly tries him out on that side of the ball as well.
UCLA football has not had a good two years under Chip Kelly and Kirkwood seems to recognize that the Bruins are not exactly the hottest ticket in town. That said, it doesn’t seem to phase him and, in fact, he seems to relish the opportunity to help turn the Bruins around. Biggins quotes him:
“This is where I live, this is where I’m from. I want to play in front of my friends and family. I want to see my little cousin, who I’m super close with, grow up. I can still train with AB (Anthony Brown). I’m excited about the opportunity to create a winning environment and a family environment at UCLA. People said they don’t have that there but I want to be part of the group to turn that around.”
Kirkwood said he knows UCLA has work to do to get things turned around but said it’s something he’s ready for.
“At Serra, we used to be really good when Adoree and those guys were there but we’ve struggled recently,” Kirkwood said. “Last year, we had a five game winning streak and it was great to bring some winning back to Serra. We’re going to keep building that this year and hopefully have a great senior season.
“I want that at UCLA too. It’s easy to go to a winning program that’s already established. At UCLA, we have a chance to do something special. There’s a lot of talent in the area and I’m ready to help get them to UCLA. We need more body’s, that’s for sure but if we get some guys and work hard, we can make UCLA a winner.”
Maybe most importantly, Kirkwood also realizes the importance of recruiting on any future UCLA success and he’s already reached out to major prospects like quarterback Miller Moss and fellow cornerback Jaylin Davies. It’s also helpful that he comes from a traditional powerhouse in Serra; even with UCLA alum Scott Altenberg at the helm, the Bruins have struggled to get top commits from the school while rival Southern Cal has benefited. So, getting a player of Kirkwood’s caliber could help the Bruins open some doors at the school.
Ironically enough, Kirkwood now becomes the second Devin to join the 2021 UCLA recruiting class, as outside linebacker Devin Aupiu committed to the Bruins last month. Maybe Chip Kelly is going to try and collect as many Devins as possible after losing tight end Devin Asiasi to the New England Patriots in this year’s NFL draft.
Welcome to Westwood, Devin!
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