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Thursday, January 31, 2013
The One Who Got Away: Kyle Kalis

By Brad Bournival

The masses in the business were questioned. The names came back -- and there were few, but they kept coming back to one.

The question: Which would-be Ohio State target who gave a pledge to the Buckeyes before signing with another school turned out to be a big miss for the scarlet and gray?

Although there isn't a lot of data out there from the pre-recruiting-writing era, a scant few names jumped to the surface.

Kyle Kalis
Kyle Kalis committed to Ohio State, but switched to Michigan before his senior season at Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward.
Alex Anzalone and Lewis Neal from the 2013 class aside, once recruits commit to Ohio State, they usually stay there.

A small case can be made for cornerback Justin Green, who spurned the Buckeyes for Illinois in 2009. A better argument can be stated for defensive end Stanley McClover, who shunned the Buckeyes for Auburn and was taken in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL draft. He was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection in 2004 and honorable mention All-SEC in 2005.

But the one name that kept surfacing to the top like in a bad bowl of soup was offensive guard Kyle Kalis.

Kalis played his high school days in Ohio for Lakewood St. Edward, and the fact that he was scooped up by that team up north left a bitter taste for Ohio State fans.

With Ohio State's coaching situation unsettled after Jim Tressel's forced resignation on Memorial Day 2011, the four-star ESPN 150 lineman decommitted from the Buckeyes on June 21, 2011, waited, then pulled the trigger with Michigan in July.

The decision didn’t sit well with Ohio State fans, of course, even though Ohio State's coaching situation was in flux with Luke Fickell as the interim head coach.

“The reaction from the community was furious,” Kalis told WolverineNation’s Chantel Jennings. “It got to a point where it was just like, ‘Please just leave me alone.’ … It was a shock for the public, I guess. I think it was hard for them to take it.”

A first-team Sports Illustrated and Parade Magazine All-American as a high school senior, he was a legitimate contender last season for the starting job.

This season, WolverineNation’s Michael Rothstein has projected him to be the starter at left guard after he redshirted in 2012.

Former Ohio State great LeCharles Bentley owns the L. Bentley O-Line Academy in Avon, Ohio, and the two-time Pro Bowl selection knew Kalis would turn out to be outstanding.

“My first impression was the same as everybody’s is ... wow!” Bentley told WolverineNation’s Tom VanHaaren before the 2012 season. “There aren’t many high school football players that are as physically and mentally gifted as he is. Physically he’s probably on the same wavelength as a collegiate sophomore.

“This is saying a lot, and I’m not saying that he’s going to be this player, or that level of player. But it was me and two other guys that saw him, and all three of us said the same thing: That’s Jake Long as a guard.”

What compounds things even more is the fact that Ohio State’s offensive line lacks substantial depth heading into the 2013 season. Although the Buckeyes have players, they’re pretty green outside of the first team, so one injury could become a big issue.

Factor all of that in and Kalis very well could be the big fish the Buckeyes couldn’t reel in.