For Michigan State 2023 target, Payton Kirkland, family is a huge factor in deciding where he will commit.
“What I’m looking for in a school, is somewhere easily accessible for my family, somewhere that’s suitable for my family as well,” Kirkland said.
One of those family members being his mom, Veronica Kirkland.
“Really it was seeing my mom make the impossible, possible for me over the past few years. That’s my hero right there, that’s my driving force.”
With the rest of their family living in Chicago, Veronica raised and continues to raise Kirkland by herself in Florida.
“It really drove me to be great, because my mom worked too hard for me not to be great at this point,” Kirkland said.
“Thank you. Sometimes I don’t know any of this stuff until the interview,” Veronica said. “He really works hard. It’s a little bit overwhelming. I don’t know how many offers he has, sometimes he needs to tell me! These are major, major schools.”
When asked how it feels to raise an athlete who has received 27 offers from the NCAA, Veronica said, “I don’t see him like that. I see him as my boy, my son. When I look at him, I see him as 4-years-old in a Spiderman costume. When I do watch him play, and he gets intense, I go, ‘Woah, where did that come from?’”
While Kirkland has made great strides in his football career, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.
“It’s interesting, he’s always been an oversized kid, he’s always gotten attention. It’s not all positive,” Veronica said.
Kirkland has faced adversity in school, mostly from adults.
Obstacles have even appeared on the field while Kirkland creates his masterpiece.
“His old coach was mad because he won. His coach stopped speaking to him. Little hurtful things that hurt your child and you want to protect them,” Veronica said.
Instead of seeking revenge, Kirkland worked even harder.
Kirkland said, “It’s people who’ve put me in the position of being here. My mom’s put me in the right position. Everything’s falling into place.”
Want the latest breaking MSU news delivered straight to your email for FREE? Sign up for the DAILY Spartan Nation newsletter when you CLICK THE MAGAZINE ICON at the top left of the page or the FOLLOW button back on the main page. Don't miss any of the latest up to the second updates on Michigan State Sports when you follow on Twitter @HondoCarpenter @McLainGrant1 @GattoniTaylor