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Posted on Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Michigan recruit Kyle Kalis, scooped from Ohio State, is a 'road-grading' lineman

By Kyle Meinke

Darrell Funk was eating dinner with his family at a local Damon's last year when he stepped away to take a business call.

The wife of the Michigan football team's offensive line coach didn't mind. She knew who was on the other end: Kyle Kalis, a five-star offensive lineman who was committed to her husband's biggest rival, Ohio State.

The Wolverines were trying to poach him away.

This was Kalis' first chat with Funk, who had to walk past a photo of former All-American tackle Jake Long to get outdoors for the conversation.

"We hit it off well," Funk recalled last week. "He was asking great questions, he was excited, he knew Michigan’s traditions. I told him I just walked by a big picture of Jake Long, and of course who doesn't know that guy?

"He seemed real interested, and I’m glad it’s come to pass."

Funk didn't specify when the call took place, only noting that "it was still cold out, and it wasn't in the past seven months, if you know what I mean."


Michigan offensive line coach Darrell Funk answers questions about his latest recruiting haul last Wednesday. On 5-star Kyle Kalis: "He just wants to tear your head off. He plays like that all the time and practices like that all the time, and we need that.

Melanie Maxwell I

Kalis didn't decommit from the Buckeyes right away. But, when he finally did on June 21, he booked a visit to Ann Arbor for the following weekend, during which he called Wolverines coach Brady Hoke from the block M on Michigan Stadium’s 50-yard line to say he was in.

Now, he's the gem of the country's No. 3 offensive line class.

"He just wants to tear your head off," Funk said. "He plays like that all the time and practices like that all the time, and we need that. You can Xs and Os all you want, and that’s important, but at the end of the day, it starts up front.

"Everyone thinks it’s coachspeak, but (winning) starts with knocking the heck out of the guy in front of you, and that’s one thing Kyle does real well."

Funk laughed when he described one sequence of film in which Kalis knocks over an umpire “when he was throwing someone around” and couldn’t decide whether to help the guy up or find someone else to hit.

Kalis is a 6-foot-5, 305-pound prospect from Lakewood, Ohio. He is ranked as that state's top high school player, which makes his gain -- and the Buckeyes' loss -- all the more pivotal for Michigan.

Hoke described Kalis as a “powerful, strong, road-grading type of offensive lineman,” and also said he has "tremendous resolve" for gracefully handling the backlash he received after ditching Ohio State for its chief rival.


Kyle Kalis

“The basic reaction (to my Michigan commitment) in Ohio has been, ‘Ah, how could you do this to your home state? You betrayed your home state!!'” Kalis texted last summer. “It just makes me laugh because I’ve only been here for 2 1/2 years.

“About 95 percent of everyone has accepted (my decision). And of course my family is OK because they’re happy if I’m happy.”

Funk said Kalis has the versatility to play guard or tackle, but will come to Michigan to play right tackle. The Wolverines are losing their starter there in Mark Huyge, and Kalis figures to push for time as a true freshman.

But his future also could be elsewhere.

"It’s based on how you can get on the field," Funk said. "We’re going to bring him in and play him at the position he wants to play, and then we’ll go from there.

"I’ve had a number of guys get to the league, and almost all of them’s first start was at a different position than they ended up playing. ... But that’s our plan going in, we’ll be flexible and we’ll see where we go."

Kalis is joined in the 2012 class by fellow offensive linemen Erik Magnuson (Carlsbad, Calif.), Ben Braden (Rockford) and Blake Bars (Nashville, Tenn.).

Funk said the 6-foot-6, 275-pound Magnuson, a four-star prospect, projects as the successor to Taylor Lewan at the left tackle position. Braden projects as a tackle but could play guard, and Bars can play tackle or guard.

None of the four play center, Funk said. The Wolverines will have to replace departing senior David Molk from within, either in the form of Ricky Barnum, Jack Miller or Rocko Khoury.

Despite not snagging a center prospect, or a fifth linemen he so hotly pursued, Funk said this class still is strong enough to be the best of his career -- better than the one he had at Colorado State that produced four NFL players.

Kalis is the cream of the crop.

Good thing Funk took that phone call.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


Albee Macaw

Wed, Feb 15, 2012 : 5:04 a.m.

Now you see why Brady (toss in a diet coke) Joke said the urbanator did not wrong. All is fair until they sign. We will se how the Ohio kid feels after having lost every game against TOSU during his brief career at UM. You know like a few classes experienced while the Vest beat them 8 out of 9 years. OUCH. I love how Urb, his staff and his players say nothing about UM while your coaches and kids not even enrolled there yet are running their mouths. That silence by TOSU is called class and the knowing they will let their play do their talking on the field.

mark h

Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

FACT CHECK SEC Fan states, "Current SEC teams under NCAA Football probation/sanctions = 0." Fact: Alabama is currently on probation (for the third time) until June 2012. Fact: Tennessee is currently in the midst of a two year probation for 12 violations that occurred under former coach Lane Kifflin. Yes, it is true that Tennessee's probation is self-imposed, but so is Michigan's, so if you're going to count Michigan's, then you need to count Tennessee's. Fact: Both the Big 10 and SEC have two football teams currently on probation. Tiebreaker?: Auburn was recently reported as the 3rd most corrupt program in college football (after ASU and SMU). Please don't lie to support your argument.


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

Michigan's is not &quot;self imposed&quot;. The NCAA slammed them: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

Tennessee is not on NCAA probation, it is on a &quot;self imposed&quot; probation. UM and Ohio St. are on NCAA probation I also stated &quot;football&quot;. granted the Alabama probation ends in &quot;june 12&quot;, but since football is over until fall of 2012, it is, effectively, over.


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

if you watch film on kalis you can see why the coach's are so high on him and it would be nice to redshirt him but i think he will play next fall. . .he won't start but he will play!! GO BLUE!!!!!!

Terry Star21

Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

Although I despise the thugs that are supported by the coach from up north, I think the verbal tribute 'ready to tear heads off' is a great assessment here. I consider both he and Pipkin's fierce warriors, yet clean players. Everything you see, read and hear about these two makes one think (NFL ready), but cautious. If the anxiety and anticipation isn't enough waiting for team 133, wanting to see these two will be. Great article Kyle (again). MgoBlueForTiM.........most excellent time to be a Wolverine football supporter


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

He's still a freshman, won't matter next year. Linemen don't come in and immediately contribute let alone &quot;grade roads&quot;.

Terry Star21

Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

You're joking right....He and Pipkins are NFL ready right now......stay tuned !


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

There is this &quot;Michigan man&quot; thing where one has too much &quot;honor&quot; to poach a recruit. There is a 'gentleman's agreement&quot; some say. Hoke said he and his coaches never criticize another school to get a recruit. I don't believe they would promise a recruit things they can't guarantee such as playing time. they constantly emphasize competition for every spot. So I think a &quot;gentleman's agreement is less ethical than open competition for a recruit until the day he signs. Personally I think gentleman's agreements are less honorable than what Hoke and Meyers have done. They and their staffs just work relentlessly to get the best class they can. Isn't hard work a virtue anymore? Isn't hard honest work ethical anymore? Go Blue! (even if your not a gentleman)


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

Well said, sir! Thank you.

Lorain Steelmen

Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

SEC Fan. Ha, ha, ha! ....I really enjoyed your humorus comment about the big ten's 'gentlemen's agreement'. As everyone knows, the SEC is nothing more than a slimy bunch of crooks and liars.....


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

Check your stats SEC Fan, Bama is on probation until June of this year. At that point you can get holier than thou.


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

Ok Pot, Kettle's reply: let's see. Current SEC teams under NCAA Football probation/sanctions = 0. Big 10 Teams currently under probation/sanctions = 2 (including UM). oh yeah, let's throw in the pedaphiles of Penn St.


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

&quot;The Wolverines were trying to poach him away&quot;. Seems pretty straight forward to me...quit trying to change the words to say he initiated contact first. so much for the big 10's &quot;gentlemen's agreement&quot;...


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 2:26 a.m.

gee MichFanTex, try reading the post. only um, little 10 fans are claiming they haven't &quot;poached&quot; players. Everyone else in the NCAA calls it recruiting! Even Hoake says it.


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 11:31 p.m.

I understand Arkansas didn't poach Darius Philon from Alabama. No, what happened is that upon hearing that Philon had committed to Alabama, Coach Saban called to inform that unfortunately they couldn't restructure his salary to get him under the cap.


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Coming from a SEC fan... thats classic.


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

Very unfortunate that the writer used the word &quot;poached&quot;! Kalis decided to leave on his own after what was going on in Columbus. Poached? Hardly!!!


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

I knew the second I seen that someone would cry foul... and what do you know, the first comment. Who cares?


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

Who care? KK is True Blue and he'll wear the Winged Helmet next time we see the team take the field.

Rabid Wolverine

Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 2:11 p.m.

Scott, It is not &quot;poaching&quot; when that something in question calls the neighbor, then jumps off the neighbors property onto yours. That's called switching commitments. Sounds like Kalis initiated the contact. That is not poaching, sir.


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Poach implies taking something off land that is not yours. He was a verbal commit to OSU and an Ohio resident. We poached him. Has anyone ever heard of a metaphor?