Lakewood, OH offensive lineman Kyle Kalis (#67) committed to Michigan
Offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, from Lakewood, OH, committed to Michigan on Sunday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, LSU, Miami, Michigan State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. He had previously been committed to Ohio State.
Kalis is a 6’5″, 302-pounder who would be Michigan’s most touted recruit since 2009, when the Wolverines reeled in defensive tackle William Campbell. Kalis’ recruiting ratings from around the internet:
I can’t help but find those recruiting rankings a little bit funny for several reasons. First and foremost, I’ve been saying for weeks that Kalis looks like an offensive guard more than a tackle. Furthermore, every scouting report you can find on Kalis says he lacks the body type of an offensive tackle. Furtherfurthermore, ESPN has some dudes ranked as offensive tackles ahead of Kalis who are a) not nearly as good and b) not going to play OT in college, either. You know what they say: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be an iguana.
Why does he look like a guard?
He’s 6’5″. The last time Michigan had a 6’5″ starting tackle was Steve Schilling, who was a poor fit so he moved to guard for his final two seasons. Before that it was Rueben Riley, who was clearly only playing tackle in 2006 because Alex Mitchell was an all-time fatty. So the last legitimate 6’5″ offensive tackle (i.e. one who wasn’t playing awkwardly out of position) was Adam Stenavich in 2005, who was an All-Big Ten player.
Look at him. Kalis has the build of a guard. Offensive tackles these days are long and lean, with the lower bodies of tight ends and the upper bodies of Greek gods who binged on carbs for the past week. Guards look like Bob-ombs.
Skills. Kalis has the footwork and upper body strength to be a great in-line drive blocker, and he has the ability to stay low and root out defensive tackles. Additionally, he has the speed and quick feet to trap and pull, which will be important for Michigan’s guards in the coming years.
Much like Jarrod Wilson, I firmly believe in Kalis’ abilities translating to college. His father, Todd, was an offensive lineman for the Vikings, Steelers, and Bengals. The elder Kalis obviously taught the younger Kalis well. Kyle comes out of his stance very well for such a big, young player. He’s quick off the ball, and his footwork is impeccable. He rarely wastes any movement or gets his feet crossed up, and he keeps a wide base when blocking, which allows him to latch onto blocks and not let go; that’s one major difference between Kalis and guys like Michigan commit Blake Bars and potential Michigan commit Jordan Diamond. Kalis is also relentless when it comes to driving opponents into the ground. He’s not a big guy who gets one or two shots on a guy and then grabs a handful of popcorn; if you want to see that, take a look at the film of 2011 USC recruit Aundrey Walker. Kalis would perhaps be more physically and technically ready to play as a freshman than any lineman (offensive or defensive) in recent memory.
And now I become a Debbie Downer.
I always preach not to get too excited about Michigan recruits until they sign a national letter of intent. Kalis was committed to Ohio State until late June, and the main reasons for his decommitment were the pending sanctions and the departure of Jim Tressel. I’m sure the Buckeyes will not stop contacting Kalis, and if they get only a slap on the wrist from the NCAA, I could foresee him going back to Ohio State. There have been message board rumors that there are a few recruits who have picked other schools to save a scholarship elsewhere, but that those recruits might head to Columbus if the punishments aren’t severe and if OSU seems headed in the right direction under new coach Luke Fickell. Message board rumors should be taken with a grain of salt and are often fabricated by people with no inside knowledge, but keep in mind that nothing is official until February 2012. Michigan isn’t too far removed from the plethora of decommitments in the 2009 class or the saga of Jerimy Finch, who was “committed” to Michigan, Indiana, and Florida all in one recruiting cycle. Kalis has a good future, but don’t jump off a bridge if this story doesn’t develop how you hope.
This brings Michigan’s 2012 class to 19. The coaches have said they’re looking for six offensive linemen, and Kalis is number five. He’s also the ninth player from Ohio to pledge to the Wolverines in this recruiting cycle.