ANN ARBOR – Kyle Kalis came to Michigan with a five-star ranking and an early expectation to start right away.
Well, it didn’t exactly workout the way he wanted it to as an freshman in 2012.
In fact, Kalis did what most offensive lineman do when they are freshman – he redshirted. Even though he didn’t like it.
“It sucked,” Kalis said. “everyone wants to play. I was mad when I didn’t play -- whatever. But in the long run looking back, especially after spring ball and stuff, I learned -- and I saw that it was a really a good learning experience.”
Kalis came to U-M from Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edwards, and was one of the more highly decorated recruits in Michigan’s 2012 recruiting class. At 6-foot-5, 305-pounds, he thought he was more than ready to contribute a freshman last season just from his size and strength alone.
“When I first came in I thought I was going to be able to manhandle people and that wasn’t the case,” Kalis said. “There was a lot of techniques I had to learn. A lot of calls, adjustments, defenses, I had to learn the offense. So it was a bunch of stuff. So last year redshirting -- was a long redshirt year.”
U-M offensive line coach Darrell Funk has had many freshman who have come into camp thinking they were ready to start. However, that won’t happen if it’s up to him.
“Every lineman should redshirt,” Funk said. “That’s what should happen. You can’t always do it. Some places we’ve been we haven’t been able to. That should be the plans from the start. And even if they come in big enough and strong enough, they just don’t know how to do things going against grown men that are 22, 23. You know, you’ll get thrown around.”
Redshirting Kalis has already paid dividends for the Wolverines, as he is off to a strong fall camp and is expected to compete for a starting spot at offensive guard this fall.
“First of all, the redshirt year for him wasn’t a negative – a real positive," Funk said. “And then he took spring by the horns about half way through. He’s been pretty steady. Since then he’s off to a good start this fall.”
And he will find out soon enough.
U-M opens its season with Central Michigan at home on Aug. 31.