Kyle Flood remains hot on the recruiting trail for the Texas Longhorns with the surprise commitment of offensive tackle Payton Kirkland, adding to an already solid offensive line group.

Kirkland’s journey to the Class of 2023 was a long and winding narrative that ultimately ended with his pledge to the Longhorns. For the majority of his commitment, it seemed like Texas was on the outside looking in for the big tackle from Florida. The Longhorns missed his top 5 initially and were not listed among the finalists when he announced his commitment date.

When recruiting experts began to predict that he would pick the ‘Horns, Kirkland doubled down on social media and even re-posted his announcement graphic with Texas left out of the mix. However, it seems as if Flood’s pre-existing relationship from his time with the Alabama Crimson Tide allowed Texas to open the door and secure the commitment.

The No. 274 player overall and the No. 25 tackle in the cycle, Kirkland joins a class with a ton of potential, especially with the need for added depth and versatility in the offensive line group — even after the monster haul in 2022. At 6-foot-6 and 345 pounds, Kirkland not only fits the edict of big humans but he slots in as one of the players most likely to stay at tackle on the Forty Acres.

Kirkland is the fifth offensive lineman to join the class and is likely the last take for the group, barring something unforeseen.

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