In the state of Oregon, there might not be a more respected program that Jesuit (Portland). This year, the Crusaders are currently 12-0 and in the state semi-finals and one of the leaders up front is rising junior OL Jaxson Kirkland.
Kirkland, whose father Dean was a starter with the University of Washington, is a legit 6’7″ and he currently tips the scales at 305 pounds. However, he wasn’t always as big as he is today.
“When I was a freshman, I was 6’2″ and I grew too fast, so it’s taken me some time to ‘grow’ into my body,” Kirkland told Northwest Elite Index recently. “I didn’t play much last year (as a sophomore), mainly just special teams and as a backup, so this is really my first year starting.
“My wingspan (close to seven feet) is good and that really helps me in pass protection,” Kirkland said. “Since my dad is a former lineman, he and I have worked a lot on my footwork and technique. I also worked hard with a personal trainer on things just to help get my feet where they needed to be.”
This season, Kirkland has been holding down the left tackle spot for the Crusaders and he said he’s felt more comfortable as the season has gone along.
“I feel really comfortable in pass protection, but I feel like I can do whatever my team needs me to do,” Kirkland said.
After his season is over, Kirkland said he plans to get right to work, lifting and working more on his technique.
“I definitely need to get stronger, so that’ll be a big focus, but I also need to stay lower coming out of my stance, so I’ll do a lot of work on my technique and lower body stuff as well,” Kirkland.
So far on the recruiting front, things have been a bit on the quiet side, so Kirkland plans to hit the camp circuit this spring and summer to garner more interest.
“I get some letters from Wyoming and I’ve been talking to the BYU coach a lot,” Kirkland noted. “Coach (Don) Pellum from Oregon came by and watched a game of ours and the Texas A&M offensive coordinator (Jake Spavital) also reached out to me too.
“I’m going to head to camps and stuff, but I haven’t really thought about that stuff yet just because we are still playing our season. After we’re done, then I’ll start to look at what I want to do and what camps I want to hit and then start to plan all of that out.”
This past Friday night, Jesuit hammered Beaverton 70-14 to get into the state semi-finals. They will take on Sheldon the day after Thanksgiving.
NEI will continue to keep tabs on Kirkland as he moves through the recruiting process and we will update news on him as it happens.