You will always see lists looking back at who was the best college athletes, and who was a better NFL prospect from draft classes long gone. Often times the players talent in the NFL will have a huge impact on these arguments. You will hardly ever see a list talk about High School players, even though we always hear about what school’s got the top prospects.
Sporting News decided to make a list of the best High School players they ever saw. The list includes players like Jadeveon Clowney and Jabrill Pepper. Zac Al-Khateeb included his first hand experience with Dre Kirkpatrick, and where Kirkpatrick is now in his career.
“As Nick Saban worked on his incredible 2009 recruiting class at Alabama, one prospect in particular stood out to those of us in the Yellowhammer State: cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick of Gadsden, Ala. My high school team played in the same section as his, giving me a first-hand look at the top corner in the country. He lived up to the billing, helping hold our team to 74 total yards and even taking a few snaps at quarterback — because why not? He didn’t make any highlight-reel plays, and I felt some pride that we only lost 17-7, but he was clearly the best player on the field — and the best high school player I’d ever seen, then or now.”
Now: Kirkpatrick just finished his sixth NFL season, all with the Bengals, who took him with the 17th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. He finished 2017 with an interception, 14 defended passes, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
It isn’t exactly the most awe inspiring story of all-time, but the fact someone included Kirkpatrick on a list with such talented players is pretty impressive.
Kirkpatrick was a huge reason for Alabama’s success on defense during his time there. He fit perfectly into what Saban wanted to accomplish, and the championship results speak for themselves.
Still, Kirkpatrick has struggled to fully transfer those skills to the NFL. He didn’t play too much until his second season due to injuries and having players like Terence Newman and Leon Hall in front of him. That also meant that he wasn’t able to start until his third season.
He has been inconsistent during his time with Cincinnati. He has never really become that top corner everyone has expected him to be, but he isn’t a bad corner to have on your team either. He will get beat from time to time, but he usually does a good job of keeping opposing receivers from having a great day.
Kirkpatrick was viewed as one of the top corners in the 2012 draft when the Bengals took him with their 17th overall pick. Some people may be disappointed by him not escalating to the top tier of corners, but at least the team got a serviceable corner out of the pick. When it was him, William Jackson and Darqueze Dennard last season things ran fairly smoothly at the corner position.