2012 NFL DRAFT: OFFENSIVE TACKLES

A position-by-position look at prospects in this year’s NFL Draft. This entry: Offensive Tackles.

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INDIANAPOLIS – The dreams of a father should soon become reality for a son.

Southern California offensive tackle Matt Kalil is ticketed to be one of the early selections in the 2011 NFL Draft.  The 6-6, 306-pound Kalil is the son of an offensive lineman and the younger brother of an offensive lineman, thus….

Frank Kalil was a center who played collegiately at Arkansas and Arizona before playing professionally with Arizona and Houston in the USFL from 1983-84.  Matt's older brother, Ryan, lettered at center with the Trojans from 2003-06, then embarked on a successful NFL career with Carolina.

Any dreams Matt may have had to play another position at Servite High School in Anaheim, Calif., were snuffed out by Frank.

"My first time going to Servite, I tried to play tight end as a freshman," said Kalil.  "My dad went on the field and said, 'No, he's playing left tackle.'  That pretty much ended that dream."

Kalil went on to a celebrated prep career on the line that paved a path to Southern Cal, and his time with the Trojans should lead to a third family member playing on Sundays.  

Kalil started 26 games at USC, all coming in his second and third seasons.  This past year, he made numerous first-team All-America squads and he joined Ryan in becoming the third brother tandem in school history to earn such notice.  The Kalils joined Marlin and Mike McKeever and Clay and Bruce Matthews as sibling USC tandems with the honor.  The school flourished as well with a 10-2 record while averaging 162.6 rushing yards per game and 456.8 total yards per game while scoring 429 points.  Kalil made the decision to come out after three seasons.

"Being a tackle coming out of USC and being highly regarded as I was and definitely talking to a lot of people, sitting down with my brother, sitting down with my dad, they basically told me that if you're going to be a highly-valued prospect, it's definitely the time to come out," said Kalil.  "I'd done all I could at SC.  I was an All-American.  I won the Morris Trophy.  I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish there.  I think it was definitely time for me to move on and take my skills to the next level."

Kalil agrees with the notion that he is an aggressive player with a tough demeanor and with a motor that runs high.

"That's pretty accurate," said Kalil.  "I definitely like to impose my will on my opponent, get after it from when the first ball is snapped to when the whistle blows to end the game.  That's my style.  I wouldn't say (I'm) nasty.  I think I'm an aggressive player.  I definitely like to finish, from the snap to the whistle and like I said, impose my will on my opponent and basically let them know that I'm on the field and I'm going to be on the field for the rest of the game.  That's where I get that demeanor from."

Kalil's lineage meant that working on fundamentals with his father meant doing kick steps and drills associated strictly with line play, and he adds his brother's advice has meant a great deal in his development.

"It's definitely helped out.  My brother has almost kind of laid the path for me," said Kalil.  "I started off coming out of Servite when he went to Servite, going through SC and going through this draft process.  I've always had my brother there to help me and telling me everything to expect, and having that tool there to help me in any way possible has definitely been a big help."

Kalil is one of a few talented linemen expected to be selected in a league that places a premium on his position.  He believes he is the top lineman in the draft, and he holds a mutual regard for another top prospect, Stanford's Jonathan Martin.

"I would definitely say I am the best tackle in the draft," said Kalil.  "Especially at my position, or quarterback position or any big-time position, confidence is definitely a big part of your game.  I think they (NFL teams) want to hear that you do think you're the best tackle.  I think I am.  I think I've worked hard going through SC working on everything I can to become a better player. I'm ready to take my game to the next level.

"Me and Jonathan have become great friends.  He's a great tackle.  He's really athletic, really big. (He's) one of the best tackles I've seen when I've gotten to watch him.  I respect the kind of player he is and think he'll do a great job wherever he goes."

As for bloodlines and a family history of football success, Kalil knows it only has helped him.

"What my dad did was do a great job of raising me and my brother," said Kalil.  "He definitely didn't force football on us.  It was definitely a choice we wanted to make.  He made it clear that we could play whatever sport we wanted to.  If we wanted to play football and if we wanted his help, it was going to be his way or he wasn't going to help us.  That's what made it so great for us.  We wanted to play football and we love the sport."

LOOKING AT THE 2012 NFL DRAFT'S OFFENSIVE TACKLES

THE LAST FIVE

The last five offensive tackles drafted by the Colts:

2011:  Anthony Castonzo, first round, Boston College

2007:  Tony Ugoh, second round, Arkansas

2006:  Michael Toudouze, fifth round, TCU

2006:  Charlie Johnson, sixth round, Oklahoma State

2004:  Jake Scott, fifth round, Idaho

THIS YEAR'S DRAFT

An alphabetical list of offensive tackles expected to be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft (*-denotes underclassman):

Mike Adams, Ohio State

Jeff Allen, Illinois

Cordy Glenn, Georgia

Matt Kalil, Southern California*

Jonathan Martin, Stanford*

Josh Oglesby, Wisconsin

Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State

Nate Potter, Boise State

Riley Reiff, Iowa*

Zebrie Sanders, Florida State      

Note:  The content in this story and in the series of draft-eligible players that appears on Colts.com in no way reflects the position of the Indianapolis Colts.

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