Big hits grab SU coaches attention at spring game

Josh Kirkland talks about big hits in spring game

It is the unmistakable sound on a football field. The pop of shoulder pads colliding at a high rate of speed, followed by the crowd reacting in unison, all saying "ooooh".

As he helped his teammates up, SU linebacker Josh Kirkland heard that reaction quite a bit during SU's spring football game, getting not only the crowd's attention, but his coaches as well.

"Number 27 Kirkland had some big hits," Defensive Coordinator Chuck Bullough said after the game. "I always like the big hitter, and I saw him make some big hits."

Kirkland, listed as a junior, is a Junior College transfer from Butler Community College, and is trying to make his mark in the linebacker position for the Orange. At Butler, Kirkland tallied 66 tackles, six sacks and forced three fumbles on a team that went 11-1 and made it to the NJCAA National Championship game. Now Kirkland is hoping to continue that success here in Syracuse.

"I definitely got my fair share of reps, coming from a good JuCo I think I deserved something like that," Kirkland says. "It's just been a great time, I've been treated very well from the coaches."

Kirkland joins new faces on defense like middle linebacker Luke Arciniega, another transfer, and cornerback Julian Whigham, both of which turned in solid performances in the spring game. Those new faces have provided for some intense position battles this spring, something Coach Shafer liked.

"Defensively, I see Kirkland, he's been making plays all spring, and I'm excited about his progress," Shafer says. "We've got some real battles going that side of the ball as well."