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Recruit Kyle Kalis Keeps Hope Alive in Columbus

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The resignation of Ohio State coach Jim Tressel has sent reverberations around the college football world. Kyle Kalis, a four-star 2012 offensive tackle recruit, was distraught when he heard the news but was convinced to stay with the program by interim coach Luke Fickell. Will Kalis be a building block for the Buckeyes’ new future?

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound behemoth from outside Cleveland is projected as one of the finest offensive line recruits in the country and the 18th overall recruit in the nation by Rivals.com.

According to Buckeye follower and recruiting guru Duane Long, Kalis compares favorably to Korey Stringer and comes up just short of Orlando Pace, both former Buckeyes and Ohio natives.

But Long suggested that all three will be mentioned as great former OSU linemen if Kalis remains with the program. As of right now, he will.

A native of Lakewood, Kalis has his heart set on playing for the Buckeyes, who he described as his dream school. But more than anything, he had committed to Tressel.

“I felt shock and awe,” Kalis told ESPN.com in reference to the coach’s resignation. “I was very upset. I wouldn’t take any phone calls and didn’t know what to do. I gave my commitment to coach Tressel and Ohio State. After I heard he resigned, I was very angry.”

As opponents have discovered, you wouldn’t like Kalis when he’s angry.

“If we would have talked (on Monday), I would have been de-committed from Ohio State,” he said, according to ESPN.com. “Just out of the respect I have for coach Tressel and to show my support for him, I was going to de-commit. My head was spinning.”

Fickell is the man that put his mind at ease.

“He changed everything for me today with one call,” Kalis told ESPN.com. “I was planning on telling Luke Fickell that I was no longer committed. But he convinced me to stay with it. He made me realize that I would be playing for the same staff and that this is what coach Tressel would want for me to do.”

That sounds good for now, at least. Kalis said that if Fickell is not offered the job at the end of his interim season in 2011, he could decide to go elsewhere.

Ohio State is one of the top jobs in the country, and there will be many coaches clamoring for a shot to be the big man on campus in Columbus. That means Fickell, a former Buckeye himself, will have to prove he’s worthy in 2011.

Kalis, for his part, is rooting for him to stay.

“I am still committed to Ohio State,” Kalis said. “But I know there is a good possibility that I could be playing for someone else. That really bothers me.

As it bothers a lot of people in Columbus.

The reality is that the biggest blow to the Buckeyes could come from the NCAA, which no doubt will hand down sanctions against the program.

That might hurt Ohio State in recruiting since it would be hard to sell top recruits on school that could be banned from the postseason at that point.

What is clear is Kalis’ ability. According to Scout.com, his strengths are his feet, power/strength and nasty streak - all must-haves for an offensive lineman. The one negative is his arm length.

While that might one day be a problem when he is making the jump to the NFL and scouts downgrade him for not being able to keep guys like Von Miller literally at arms’ length, it shouldn’t be a problem for this man-child in a run-oriented offense like he’ll find in the Big Ten.

Good thing Fickell’s arms were just long enough to reach out and grab Kalis before he bolted from Columbus.

 
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