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Purdue hosted a large group of recruiting visitors for their Saturday night game against Notre Dame, including the state of Indiana's highest rated class of 2015 prospect - Indianapolis Lawrence Central linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Kirkland made the drive to West Lafayette with his grandfather and his girlfriend, and he reported that all had a good time.
"I loved the atmosphere," Kirkland said. "It was a packed house, and the energy in the stadium and the sidelines was great.
"I was really impressed with Purdue. They were in the game all the way until the end and I thought they had it in the bag. They just made one bad mistake with the interception. I was very impressed with their performance all the way around - defense and offense. They have a very explosive offense."
While Kirkland was soaking in the atmosphere at Ross-Ade Stadium, he was also paying close attention to the linebacker position on the Boilermaker's defense.
"I was looking at their scheme and they like to keep their linebackers in space a lot, but they do blitz a lot," he said. "That fits me perfectly because I am a pretty good blitzer and I cover in space well."
Purdue has not yet offered Kirkland, but he did get a positive vibe from the coaching staff in terms of their interest in him.
"I got down there two hours before game time and got to talk with the coaching staff," he said. "I talked with Coach (Darrell) Hazell for about five minutes, and I talked with the linebackers coach (Marcus Freeman).
"They said they have been following me since mid-way through my sophomore year, which I didn't know. They said they don't throw out early offers that much, but (I) am one of their top targets in 2015. That was pretty exciting."
Prior to Saturday's trip to Purdue, Kirkland had taken in a game at Louisville this season. His next planned trip is Oct. 19 to Illinois.
The schools that have offered Kirkland are Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Akron and Toledo. He continues to see new interest come in weekly.
"I picked up a lot of interest from Ole Miss recently," Kirkland said. "After talking to them, it is not a surprise because our defensive coordinator is really good friends with their linebackers coach. That is the first SEC school to recruit me, so I am pretty excited about that."
Josh Helmholdt is the Midwest Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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