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December 28, 2008

Three stand out for Kirkpatrick

MORE: U.S. Army All-American Bowl coverage | Army AA Bowl rosters | More all-star coverage

SAN ANTONIO - The nation's No. 1 cornerback has official visits set to Alabama, Florida and Texas, but gave no indication of a leader Sunday during registration at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Dre Kirkpatrick, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound five-star recruit from Gadsden (Ala.) Gadsden City, will visit the Crimson Tide, Gators and Longhorns in consecutive weeks in January, but said he probably won't announce a decision until National Signing Day in February. A visit to Clemson, LSU or Southern Cal might also happen.

"It's probably going to come down to the official visits when I get to see what it's like out there," Kirkpatrick said. "Let me get to see things when things aren't going on. That's why I waited so late. I didn't want to take my officials during football season.

"I want to take my officials when there's nothing to do because anybody could put a show on during football season. That's why I wanted to take them so late."

All three schools offer Kirkpatrick, also rated as the top player in the Alabama top 30 of 2009, something he likes. Alabama is the in-state powerhouse and former Gadsden City teammate Jerrell Harris plays there.

"(Coach Nick Saban) got those boys ready to work," Kirkpatrick said. "He got them ready to win. I feel like a couple years ago they didn't have a swagger about winning. They were just playing the game.

"Now they believe in it. About two years ago you never saw an Alabama flag. Now that they're winning, you see Alabama everywhere. The flags, coach Saban signs on cars. Everybody loves it."

Relationships with Florida's Charlie Strong and Texas' Will Muschamp, the defensive coordinators at their respective schools, are also strong. Muschamp and Strong have been involved in Kirkpatrick's recruitment for a couple years.

"Coach Muschamp is like a father figure to me," Kirkpatrick said. "He was the first person to give me a scholarship offer when he was at Auburn. We have a good bond. If I don't go there it really won't be broken.

"Coach Strong came in my 11th grade year recruiting Jerrell Harris and he was like, 'Man, that guy's going to be good.' He and I started talking every other day, through my coaches with letters. (Florida) has a lot of energy. Everybody has energy, even the trainers. They're just pumped."

The Gadsden City standout is ranked No. 10 in the 2009 class regardless of position and is rated as the second-best cornerback in the 'best ball skills' and 'best coverage skills' categories.



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