September 21, 2010

Kalis always knew he'd be a Buckeye

Like most high school football players, Kyle Kalis dreamed of one day playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Last week that dream turned into a reality for Kalis, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound tackle from St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio.

On Thursday, Kalis received a phone call from his head coach, Rick Finotti. Ohio State assistant coach Taver Johnson had called and extended a verbal scholarship offer.

"I was out to dinner with my family when coach Finotti called and gave me the news," Kalis said. "We were all going crazy and congratulating each other. It was crazy."

Kalis had planned to take it slow as he traversed the recruiting process. But receiving the news of his offer to Ohio State changed all that.

"I pretty much knew when I started playing football, I knew in my heart that's where I wanted to go," Kalis said. "Everyone was telling me to take all five of my visits and see all the schools, then the offer came and I knew I didn't want to go anywhere else."

Kalis committed to the Buckeyes Friday morning.

"First I called coach Finotti and he said he completely improved and that he hopes it makes me more focused," Kalis said. "Then I called coach Johnson and told him I wanted to be a Buckeye.

"He started going crazy and yelling on the phone."

After talking with Johnson, Kalis then called OSU head coach Jim Tressel to share the news.

"I told him the deal and he was super excited," Kalis said. "He said he wants to get to know me and my family now."

Kalis has visited Ohio State several times for Buckeyes' home games and last summer he camped in Columbus.

He hopes to get back to campus soon, but his team plays a lot of Saturday games. His next chance to see the Ohio State coaches likely won't be until Oct. 8 when St. Edward travels to Columbus to play Columbus St. Francis DeSales.

That game will match up Kalis with another Ohio State recruit, running back Warren Ball.

With his decision out of his way Kalis can focus on the rest of his junior season, which has started off with four straight wins. After finishing 4-6 in 2009, Kalis said he sees a major difference in his team's attitude.

"Last year the school kind of didn't have much spirit. We had some spirit but not the will to win or a killer instinct," he said. "This year, it's a completely different team. We feel we can go out and compete with anybody and beat anybody."

Kalis, who has been in touch with most of Ohio State's recruits thus far, said the Buckeyes plan to use him either at right or left tackle. He plans to major in either architecture or art.

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