Syracuse adds LB Josh Kirkland

Butler (Kan.) Community College linebacker Josh Kirkland made it official on Thursday night, committing to Syracuse during a home visit from coach Doug Marrone in Paxico, Kan., population just more than 200.

“It’s a small-town kid going big time,” Kirkland said.

The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Kirkland said he settled on the Orange last weekend after an official visit to Syracuse, N.Y. His pledges gives Syracuse 13 for its 2013 class.

“I knew when I visited, especially after meeting the coaches,” said Kirkland, who helped Butler to an 11-1 mark and No. 2 final NJCAA ranking. “It was just how caring they are and how they have your back. But I had to come back and talk to my family.”

Syracuse began to recruit Kirkland this fall along with teammate and fellow linebacker Tommy Sanders.

The trip to New York was a first for Kirkland, who was also recruited by Houston, Texas State and Northern Illinois.

“It was quite an eye opener,” Kirkland said. “I’m from the farm out in the country. But I loved it. I’m a very open-minded guy.”

He will sign next Wednesday, as the midterm period for junior-college players opens.