On Thursday Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips four-star offensive lineman Payton Kirkland took his second visit to Florida in the month of March.
After first visiting campus back at the beginning of the month, he returned today to watch the Gators practice.
What he heard and saw at practice made an impact on him.
"The staff showed me a ton of love today and stuck by me," said Kirkland. "It was amazing seeing [Darnell] Stapleton and [Rob] Sale be hands-on with the guys. Seeing them interact with the players and getting the opinions of players."
Speaking of Florida players, on Wednesday night Florida right guard O'Cyrus Torrence tweeted at Kirkland, and then today he had a chance to interact with several more.
"The players were telling me how well I’d fit in there and how much they’ve heard of me."
After his visit Kirkland sent out this tweet:
— Payton ”PKAY“ Kirkland (@paytonkirk55) March 24, 2022
When asked in what ways Florida is different, Kirkland responded, "It just means it’s different culturally from other places. Just the trust from coach to coach and player to player."
After his first March visit to Florida, Kirkland, along with Central Florida four-stars, and close friends, Malik Bryant and Derrick LeBlanc all tweeted out their intention of making their college announcements on July 23rd.
— Payton ”PKAY“ Kirkland (@paytonkirk55) March 6, 2022
And then a week ago Kirkland released a top five consisting of Alabama, Florida, Miami, Michigan State, and Oklahoma.
Out of that top five, Kirkland said he doesn't have a leader or two.
"Nobody stands out at the moment from my top five," he said. "I will take all five official visits in June and then relationships is what I’ll mainly base my decision off of."
If that is the case, then these back-to-back visits to Gainesville have helped solidify Florida's spot.
"It’s progressed our relationship greatly," replied Kirkland when asked about how the trips have helped him form a bond with the new staff. "I’m excited about the future."
He said that he already has official visits set with four of the five: Oklahoma (June 3-5), Florida (June 9-11), Michigan State (June 17-19), and Miami (June 20-22). He is still finalizing plans with Alabama.