Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward coach Rick Finotti saw eight of his seniors sign Division-I letters-of-intent on Wednesday, and he talked about each of them with 247Sports.
Kalis is the best offensive tackle in the country according to his coach Rick Finotti.
Michigan commit Kyle Kalis was the prospect that drew the most attention during the recruiting process. Once committed to Ohio State, the 6-foot-5, 300-pound U.S. Army All-American flipped to the rival Wolverines during the Buckeyes coaching change, and also held scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Iowa, Miami, Notre Dame, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
“Kyle in our opinion is the top tackle in the country,” Finotti stated. “He could have gone anywhere, but really embraced the tradition and everything at Michigan. There are not too many tackles out there with his work ethic, size and ability and will to succeed. He’s a strong-willed young man.”
The Wolverines would have loved to add Kalis’s teammate, tight end Sam Grant to the fold, however he chose Oklahoma less than a week before National Signing Day. Formerly committed to Boston College, the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Grant was also offered by Arkansas, Cincinnati, Indiana, Louisville, North Carolina State and Syracuse among others.
“We’re real proud of him,” Finotti began. “He wants to go into engineering and they have an engineering program he’s going to get into. The big thing they’re getting in Sam, is they’re getting a guy that is going to strap it up for four quarters and play as hard as he can. He’s probably going to be 6-8, 245-pounds when he gets to campus. He can put his hand down and block people on the ends and he has good enough feet to be a force there.”
Finotti thinks Northwestern is getting a force in defensive tackle Greg Kuhar, who had 24 sacks as a senior. He is the third St. Edward player in two years to sign with Coach Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats, joining 2011 graduates Deonte Gibson and Geoff Mogus.
“Northwestern has a very similar style of program” Finotti said. “Coach Fitz puts such an emphasis on family and taking care of the kids. It would be odd to see Coach Fitz on another sideline. They do so well married together. He sealed the deal with Greg Kuhar. He had big-time schools coming after him and chose Northwestern.
“They’re getting a big body, a mean and nasty defensive tackle,” he continued. “This guy plays with great leverage. He’s a National Champion caliber wrestler, so they’re going to get a guy that plays with good leverage. It’s going to be exciting to see what he does at Northwestern.”
Kuhar’s fellow defensive lineman Darryl Render signed his letter of intent for Pittsburgh. He had 18 tackles for loss and 12 sacks this past fall.
“With Darryl, what they’re getting at Pittsburgh, they’re getting a big defensive end with a big frame,” Finotti said. “Darryl is a three-year player on the varsity level. He’s a guy with experience in playing in big games. He’s a hard worker, a solid young man that comes from a tremendous family. They’re going to get a guy that likes to compete.”
One of the mainstays with Kalis along the St. Edward offensive line was guard prospect Tyler Orlosky, who penned his John Hancock with West Virginia.
“Tyler, what they’re getting is the consummate offensive lineman,” Finotti said. “He can play every position on the offensive line and do it well. Tyler is a weight room wonder. He lives in the weight room. He loves it. He’s a nutrition freak. He’s a tremendous student. He turned down Big Ten offers to go to West Virginia. He loves it up there. They’re getting a very, very good football player.”
At one time committed to Marshall, Charlie Weis and Kansas was able to come in late and take rising senior offensive tackle Sean Connolly.
“What they’re getting is a big frame,” Finotti began. “He’s around 6-8, 300 pounds right now. They’re not expecting Sean to come in and compete right away. He’s a one-year starter for us that filled in on a talented offensive line as a junior. Sean is going to go down there and earn everything he gets. They’re going to work him into a position and develop him into a guy that I think will play well for them.”
“They’re getting a sleeper in Quincy,” Finotti said. “He’s going from a team that is 75-percent run, and we have guys like Kyle and Grant, and Quincy was often overshadowed. He is a tall, rangy, very good wide receiver. He’s going to fit in very well at Eastern Michigan and they got a steal in my opinion.
“The one thing about Kirkland is they’re getting an athletic defensive secondary player. He’s versatile enough to play safety, corner, nickel, and he’s just blossoming. He only played two years of football for us at St. Ed’s so he’s just blossoming.”