Hello: Kyle Kalis

Submitted by Tim on July 10th, 2011 at 1:11 PM

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:

KyleKalis-mug.jpg

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
5*, #6 OT,
#21 Ovr
4*, 6.0,
#4 OT, #18 Ovr
4*, 80, #20 OT,
#140 Ovr
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.

Let's kick off the evaluations on a negative note, as ESPN is by far the least impressed:

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.

A report from Long before Kalis's commitment:

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.

OFFERS

KyleKalis-passblock.jpg

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).

STATS

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.

VIDEO

Junior highlights from ScoutingOhio, which has taken to posting obnoxiously-short videos:

(Insert joke here about The Killers as the soundtrack to him burying a bunch of dudes). Sophomore(!) highlights. There are a couple Rivals Amp videos available, as well.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

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.

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* [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).

Comments

JohnnyV123

July 10th, 2011 at 1:13 PM ^

Yes! Great news on a Sunday!

Welcome to the team Kyle I know it has been tough on ya but you will be happy with your choice when you're winning Big Ten titles for the Wolverines

AAB

July 10th, 2011 at 1:15 PM ^

if the knock on him is that he "only" projects as an elite RT or guard instead of an elite LT, that doesn't exactly seem like the biggest problem in the world.  

Naked Bootlegger

July 10th, 2011 at 1:21 PM ^

I'm currently at work.  Nobody else is around.  The sound of my "holy $hit!" exclamation scared me as it echoed off the 1960's-era block construction walls of my work place.

Welcome, Kyle.   You will undoubtedly be a key ingredient in UM's transformation back to a Big 10 power and national prominence!!

turtleboy

July 10th, 2011 at 1:22 PM ^

the power run we're installing. Can you imagine him as the pulling guard levelling some hapless linebacker?! Oh the Schadenfreude! Tears flowing like delicious wine! TomVH says he's already been recruiting for Michigan :)))))

Maize n Blue

July 10th, 2011 at 1:42 PM ^

Well yeah... off the top of my head:

Gabe Watson, LaMarr Woodley, Prescott Burgess, Jake Long (I know he was only a 4*, but leaving him off this list just doesn't feel right), Chad Henne, Steve Schilling, Brandon Graham, Mallett, Warren, Turner, Campbell.

Not exactly bad company to be in.

northdakotamaizefan

July 10th, 2011 at 5:30 PM ^

Going into Tsio backyard landing there top i say top priority is a reallt big deal. This would be like them comin in and takin our 2013 commit Shane Morris. Hoke is really something special of a recruiter. And welcome Kyle to the best university in the world. You will be part of something really special in the years to come.

JimLahey

July 10th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

For the first time in my mgoblog life, i actually jumped up and said "YAHOOOOO!" when I saw the hello post. Then my dog got all excited and started jumping around with me. What a great get.

rockydude

July 10th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

Welcome aboard, Kyle. You made a great choice, and we all look forward to four years of road grader. We're all ready for what you bring to the table. Get ready for a great time, and to one day sing The Victors in Pasadena!