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KJ Kirkland nearing decision with Seminoles in front

The rising senior wants to be committed to a program before the end of the month.

Florida State ended off its summer recruiting slate with the second annual Seminole Showcase. The event allowed recruits to spend time with the coaching staff over lunch and other activities. At the end of the day, a number of prospects worked out for the coaches inside Doak Campbell Stadium. In total, nearly 100 players across a multitude of classes made it to Tallahassee.

While he viewed the workout from the sidelines, 2023 defensive back KJ Kirkland enjoyed experiencing Florida State for the fifth time this year.

"It's always a great vibe just to get back on campus and be around the coaches and commits," Kirkland said to NoleGameday's Dustin Lewis. "Being around those guys, just seeing about the Florida State tradition, it's always great to get back on campus."

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Last month, Kirkland worked out for defensive backs coach Marcus Woodson at Florida State's Elite Camp. Saturday gave him a different point of view as he watched Woodson coach other recruits.

"Being able to watch it from an outside point of view is definitely better," Kirkland said. "Just being able to see how he coaches, possibly see him as a potential coach, just see how he works with other guys. It went pretty great."

The festivities throughout the day included a kickball game and laser tag as recruits got the opportunity to bond with one another and the coaches. Kirkland and his family had conversations with the majority of the staff.

"I sat down and had a long talk with all of the coaches. Each coach came and greeted me and my family. We sat down and talked about football and life period." Kirkland said. "Then, we had a little kickball game and laser tag going. Just enough time to bond with all of the other athletes out here and spend time with everybody."

The Florida native has been impressed by the genuine approach from head coach Mike Norvell. The Seminoles give him the same energy every time he's in Tallahassee.

"It's always great energy coming from coach Norvell. He's always excited to see me, every time I come to campus, his eyes light up," Kirkland said. "That's a great thing to see, that he actually has interest in me. Some coaches, they just try to brush you off but I know every time I come here it's the same energy."

At one point, Kirkland believed that the Seminoles just wanted to use him as a boundary corner. Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller explained to the rangy defensive back that he wants to utilize his skillset in multiple ways. Florida State can take advantage of Kirkland's versatility by playing him at corner, safety, and nickel.

"I just had a long talk with coach Fuller. My first time here I just talked with coach Woodson. He said that he wants to use me as a boundary corner," Kirkland said. "Coach Fuller, he's the DC so he kind of oversees everything. He says he kind of sees me as somebody who can play all around the field. Put me at safety, corner, put me in the nickel as well with my athletic ability."

Unlike the majority of seniors, Kirkland elected not to use any official visits over the summer. As of now, he's planning a December official visit to Florida State and he will also check out Kentucky at some point.

"I sat down and talked with coach Woodson," Kirkland said. "We're looking to set one in December. He said that he just wanted to be the last face we see. So yeah, probably going to hit that December OV."

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The coaching staff has made it clear that they want Kirkland to join the class. Now, a commitment is pushing for him to pledge to the Seminoles as well. Roderick Kearney has been in Kirkland's ear. It means a lot to him since they're both from the same area.

"Rod [Kearney] is a local guy. We're both from Jacksonville so he's pretty much all in my ear all the time," Kirkland said. "Trying to get me to come over and to go ahead and make that decision to go to Florida State now."

"It means a lot. It lets me know that I'm a high priority here," Kirkland continued. "Especially a guy from Jacksonville as well. So, if I were to commit, I would feel at home. I would have somebody to kind of reflect with."

Florida State has been a mainstay in Kirkland's top three over the past few months. Coming out of Saturday, he says the Seminoles are at the top with Kentucky right on their heels.

"I'd say FSU is at the top but right now Kentucky is a close second," Kirkland said.

Next up on the docket for the Raines High School product is a commitment. He's going to announce a date soon that'll fall in mid to late August. The Seminoles, Wildcats, and Tennessee are considered contenders for his pledge.

"We're going to make a date in maybe that first week of August," Kirkland said. "Right now, we're looking for later in August."

The 6-foot-2, 187-pound defensive back is regarded as the No. 487 overall prospect, the No. 43 S, and the No. 90 prospect in the state of Florida in the 2023 class according to 247Sports.

Florida State holds ten verbal commitments which rank as the No. 46 class in the country according to 247Sports.

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