"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
"There's a certain level of confidence and composure he brings to the court," said sophomore forward Aubrey Dawkins, who played the bulk of his minutes as a freshman while LeVert sat on the end of the bench in a sweat suit. "When you know you have a player like that on your team of that caliber, it's just like, we're in his hands and he can do a lot of things for this team. It's a comfort. It's nice."
"I just really wanted to see him in a game and I loved what I saw," Beilein said. "He was active. He's got a motor. He's got some things he's got to work on. He doesn't have the strength to (play) the way he'd like to in the Big Ten yet, but that's what we're going to work on in-between (games) without inhibiting his ability to play the next game."
A recent Buckeye decommitment, OH OL Kyle Kalis has committed to Michigan's class of 2012, per a tweet (and accompanying article) from Scout's Allen Trieu. As you will see, this is a Big Deal:
5*, #6 OT,
#4 OT, #18 Ovr
4*, 80, #20 OT,
4*, 96, #8 OT,
#2 Ohio, #52 Ovr
There's a bit of a range in the sites' opinions of this kid. Scout and Rivals (which, to be fair, are the most-established recruiting sites) have him in the top 25 prospects in the country, and he's a 5* to Scout and the guy directly ahead of him in Rivals's overall rankings has five stars. Taking one step back from that is 24/7 Sports, which still likes him, but not nearly as much, calling him a good-not-great 4-star, and outside of their national top 50. ESPN is the most down on him, barely including him in their ESPNU150, and ranking 19(!) offensive tackles ahead of him (as a comparison, the other sites combined have 15 OTs ahead of him, DJ Humphries, Andrus Peat, and John Theus the only ones ahead on all three sites).
In terms of size, there's near-unanimity between the services. All of them say he's 6-5, and weights have a HUGE range from 300-305 pounds, with two votes cast for 302. Thus, 6-5 and 302 pounds seems to be just about perfect.
Kalis is a tough run blocker capable of controlling defenders with his upper body playing strength. Has the size with enough athleticism for the offensive tackle position at the major level of competition. If edge speed becomes a factor this prospect could end up inside at the offensive guard spot.
And there we see the first reason that he's probably not an elite prospect to them: he might play guard, a way less important/glamorous position on the football field.
This guy is a tough customer; displays a nasty finishing attitude while dominating his present level of competition. His arm length and short set ability should serve him well in pass protection; can bend and play flat footed, displaying the ability to play stout vs. the bull rush. Although his playing strength is a positive we see the need to polish his initial location and arm extension in pass pro.
Oddly, they say he doesn't have the length to play tackle, then praise the length of his arms. In a single-game report, they also praised his pass-blocking. Scout, on the other hand, admits that's one of his shortcomings, listing "Arm Length" as his only area for improvement (I guess they think he's got access to a medieval stretching rack?). His positive points are considered "Feet," "Nasty Streak," and "Power and Strength," echoing the ESPN evaluation of those aspects. Allen Trieu on his abilities:
Kalis is a tough, strong lineman who dominates consistently. He plays the game hard and is an excellent run blocker and drive blocker. He plays with good leverage and finishes his blocks strong. He shows the ability to pull and lead, and is coordinated and athletic in the open field. He has good feet all around, which is also evident in pass pro. If there's a knock, it's that he may not be long enough for left tackle. - Trieu
That arm length is starting to sound like a liability, but with his excellent feet, guard is sounding more and more like a possibility with everything I see. Duane Long discusses his game on Bucknuts:
One of the best offensive line prospects it has been my pleasure to evaluate in my time scouting players in Ohio. One thing that I believe has helped the Ohio State offensive line become better is bringing in players who like to play football. When I am talking about offensive linemen liking to play football I mean they like beating people up.
This speaks more to his nasty streak than anything, but calling him among the best all-time is a big deal; Long has been evaluating Ohio prospects for a few years, so that "all-time" puts Kalis among Aundrey Walker, Andrew Norwell, the late Matt James, and Marcus Hall. Long got more specific later in the process:
One of the finest tackle prospects I have seen in my time covering players in Ohio. I have yet to see Orlando Pace's equal but other than him I see Kalis in the same argument as Korey Stringer, Alex Boone, Marcus Hall and Andrew Norwell. He is very mobile, doing a great job of getting downfield and blocking on the second level. At the point of attack he is a dominating run blocker.
He is as technically sound as any lineman I have seen in the last couple of years. Once he gets his hands on a defender it is over. He is going to punish him until the whistle blows.
His father is former NFL lineman Todd Kalis, who (oddly enough) played for former Ohio State coach John Cooper at Arizona State. Sons of NFL players typically are a bit more polished than others, as Long implies. Duane's one question mark? If he has the ability to play LT, a recurring theme in other evaluations. Long couldn't contain his excitement after watching Kalis's physical play in the State Championship game:
Kalis should not be allowed to play against high school players. What he does to opponents borders on assault. He beats up the opposition... I don't like to project offensive linemen to play as freshman. Kalis is one that I think can. Love the nasty. Love the motor.
He'll play in the Army All-American Bowl ($, info in header).
Long story short on Kalis: an elite run blocker, mostly unknown as a pass blocker (from the sound of things, St. Eds doesn't pass a lot, and Kyle has played on the right side to date). He has the mobility the pull-block, and with shorter arms, might be a better fit as a guard, but a great one.
I like this part. Here are a few of Kalis's top offers: Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Those schools are either recruiting powerhouses, reigning National Champions, or Offensive Line Of Doom machines, so that offer sheet is very impressive.
Some of his other offers include Arizona State, Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, Nebraska, Pitt, and West Virginia. Penn State showed interest, but did not yet offer Kyle (though there's a good chance it's due to his long-standing commitment, rather than a negative evaluation of his talent).
Kalis is an offensive lineman, and therefore doesn't have stats. However, Lakewood St. Ed's is one of the top programs in Ohio, and Kyle played a key role in leading them to a State Championship last year. They're MaxPreps's #9 team this season.*
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the recruiting sites have listed a 40 time for Kyle, so I get to give out my default five FAKEs out of five.
Junior highlights from ScoutingOhio, which has taken to posting obnoxiously-short videos:
This kid is a 5-star (or close to it) for a reason. He has the potential to play as a true freshman, and with Michigan's questionable depth at offensive line, he could see a backup role in his first year on campus. There are a couple RT/G prospects in the class ahead of him though, so hopefully he can take a year to learn.
After that, however, three interior linemen depart, and Taylor Lewan could also be out the door to the NFL Draft if he has an excellent redshirt junior season. Playing time should be easy to come by, even if it's only a key backup role.
As an upperclassman (or redshirt sophomore), I wouldn't be surprised if Kalis took an iron grip on a guard spot, and became a dominating Big Ten offensive lineman. With his recruiting rankings, it's hard to project anything short of potential multi-year all-conference honors, and possibly even an early entry to the NFL Draft.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The need at offensive line is all-but completely taken care of. Michigan will stay after several blue chips -- 5-star IL OL Jordan Diamond would be a very nice final piece of the puzzle, as a versatile lineman that can play pretty much any position -- but otherwise that big need has been filled.
Class needs remain re at defensive tackle and wideout, with smaller needs at QB and RB - positions the coaching staff could take a pass on if they can't land anyone elite.
* [Ed-M: Michigan was looking at three more of Kalis's teammates for 2012. Two - tight end Sam Grant and OL Tyler Orlosky have committed elsewhere (BC and WVa. respectively). DT Greg Kuhar is a 3-star DT deciding between Northwestern and West Virginia, and seems to be behind other M offers for his position).
I can't really describe how excited I am about what is going on here in AA. I know Hoke hasn't coached a game here yet but I haven't been this excited in a long time. I was a RR fan and was less than ecstatic about the Hoke hire. I am not too proud to admit when I have amde a mistake, and so far it looks like I have.
Of course the final judgement can only come when his teams play the games, but all looks bright at this juncture.
When I think of how excited I get when I read these "Hello" posts it makes me wonder what Hoke and the staff as well as current players are thinking hwen they hear. They must be pumped!
Welcome aboard Kyle. I really think you are going to be a part of something special here at UM. Good luck and great to have you.
I was just wondering this morning if we had any 5-star recruits considering us, and bam...I see that Kalis committed! This class is ridiculous, and Hoke hasn't even played a game yet. Hopefully he'll bring success on the field so that this will build on itself.