#RazorbackNation I love you!! Forever a razorback... #blessed to receive this opportunity.. pic.twitter.com/txtkpvGBI8— 55 (@15HARLEM_BOSKI) January 4, 2016
Denver Kirkland, Arkansas' starting left tackle this season, announced via the above tweet that he's moving on to the NFL draft.
Kirkland spent two seasons at guard for the Hogs and moved to tackle this season, starting all 13 games. Kirkland was a high-profile, 4-star surprise for the Razorbacks on National Signing Day 2013. He's been a force on the line throughout his career and been a major factor in Arkansas' success in the trenches.
Some NFL draft projections still have him highly regarded as a guard, so perhaps that's his destiny in the NFL.
Bret Bielema indicated Kirkland's official draft grade wasn't as high as those outside projections, and Bielema had a meeting scheduled with Kirkland and his family for this week likely to try to persuade him to come back to Fayetteville, but it seems Kirkland has already made up his mind.
Also, from Kirkland's tweets over the past couple of weeks, it seems the departure of Sam Pittman, Kirkland's offensive line coach all three seasons at Arkansas, helped make the decision easier for him. Arkansas has not yet hired a replacement for Pittman.
This means Arkansas is now losing three members of the starting offensive line, along with tight end Hunter Henry. Guard Sebastian Tretola and center Mitch Smothers were seniors. Arkansas has a few highly-regarded linemen waiting in the wings to take his spot, likely Brian Wallace if we had to guess today. The Razorbacks are also trying to land highly regarded juco tackle Garrett Bolles, so we'll have to wait and see how the roster shakes out, but the Hogs should have options.