Antonio Kinard, a 6’4″, 210 lb. linebacker from Liberty High School in Youngstown, Ohio, has committed to Michigan. Soon-to-be freshmen Isaiah Bell and Fitzgerald Toussaint were his teammates at Liberty.
At this point, Kinard is relatively unknown. He’s unrated by the recruiting services, and the only offer he’s reported was Michigan’s. With his size and athleticism, though, I expect he’ll be a 3-star originally with a mid-4-star ceiling as the recruiting cycle goes along.
Kinard’s size suggests that he’ll either be a strongisde linebacker or a defensive end in college. He has good speed and sheds blocks pretty well. Playing linebacker in high school, he has the athleticism to drop back into coverage. His ball skills bode well for playing linebacker in college. He finished the 2008 season with 86 tackles, including 6 sacks.
However, he has the frame to eventually carry 245 pounds or so. On film he looks every bit of 6’4″ and he might not be done growing. It’s rare for college linebackers to be 6’4″ or taller. My guess is that he’ll be a weakside defensive end by the end of his career at Michigan. He doesn’t have the instincts to succeed at linebacker. He’s a little tentative when filling the hole and takes bad angles when chasing ballcarriers; this works in high school because of his superior skills, but if his fundamentals don’t improve, he’ll get burned by college players who are talented in their own right.
Kinard’s height, build, and speed remind me of Shawn Crable. I’d rank Kinard’s skills slightly behind Crable’s in high school, but there’s plenty of room for growth. I think Kinard will eventually be a defensive starter, but perhaps not until he’s in his third year or so. His body and his fundamentals need a few years to develop.