22 in 22: Kenneth Kirksey

Kenneth Kirksey

ScarletReport.com's "22 in 22" series, profiling the incoming members of Rutgers' 2010 class, comes to an end with a profile on Mainland High (Daytona Beach, Fla.) defensive tackle Kenneth Kirksey. The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Kirksey gives an update on what he has been doing since signing day, his plans of heading to New Jersey later this month and whether he has been working out much.

Mainland High (Daytona Beach, Fla.) defensive tackle Kenneth Kirksey plans to arrive on Rutgers' campus June 26, and two days later attend his first college class.

The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Kirksey also plans on battling for playing time as a true freshman, with the hopes of making a bigger impact than any freshman in the 2010 class.

They are, though, just plans because nothing is set.

Kirksey is quick, fast, aggressive, strong and was often dominating on the high school level, but he also didn't take his studies seriously until college recruiters explained the importance.

So now, as most members of the 2010 class enjoy their last weeks at home before heading to New Jersey, Kirksey is hoping to achieve the necessary grade point average combined with either an ACT or SAT score to be eligible.

His defensive line coach at Mainland High, Rob Smith, said Kirksey is "very, very close," but not quite there, so it creates plenty of anxiety.

"To be honest, it's been crazy," Kirksey said. "Once I think I have something done, I have another challenge I have to overcome. It's been kind of difficult, but it's teaching me a lifelong lesson.

"I messed up, and I can't change the past, so I'm trying to work hard now to get it. It has been hard."

Kirksey last took the ACT on Saturday, and in a few weeks could see a jump in score that would immediately qualify him. If not, it could be down to the nitty-gritty with his grade point average.

"They want me to take summer classes here,'' Kirksey said, "but because I already graduated, I can't. I'm going to take them at Rutgers."

Because Kirksey has been doing so much studying, he acknowledged his physical conditioning has suffered.

"I haven't been doing that much running, so it's going to be hard when I get up there," Kirksey said. "I've been doing push-ups every night. After signing day, I started working out, but then I realized I needed to really study, so I went that way."

If Kirksey does not qualify, he said he is looking at either prep school or heading to junior college. But a trip to junior college could mean a two-year hiatus from Football Bowl Subdivision football, while prep school could send Kirksey to college in January.

Either way, he wants to be at Rutgers.

"I don't want to be in Florida," he said. "I need to go somewhere it's cold just in case I make it to the NFL."

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