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WPIAL Product Jimmy Kalis Benefiting From Football Family Support



WPIAL product out of Central Catholic Jimmy Kalis

(Nathan Breisinger, Pittsburgh Sports Now)

While Central Catholic’s Jimmy Kalis might not have been around to see his father play a snap in the NFL, he grew up watching his brother play in some of the biggest games in college football.

His fondest memories come from making trips to see his brother Kyle, who was a standout on the offensive line at Michigan, play in some big-time football.

Taking in some of the best atmospheres in the sport and watching his brother dominate on the line led to Kalis’ own goal to work towards the next level as an offensive lineman.

“Growing up watching my brother play at Michigan definitely influenced me to want to play football at the collegiate level,” Kalis told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “The best memories I have watching him are the games vs Ohio State.”

After earning second-team All-American honors in his senior season with the Wolverines, Kyle would sign with the Washington Redskins after going undrafted in 2017. Kyle followed in a similar path to his father Todd, who was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1988 draft in round four. Todd spent nearly a decade in the NFL playing at the guard position.

For Jimmy, he now plans to follow in his family’s footsteps with two of his most important influences carrying out their own collegiate and NFL dreams.

“Growing up in a football household definitely pushes me to be the best player I can be and definitely made me into the competitive athlete that I am today,” Kalis said.

While the rising sophomore still has a long way to go before he steps onto a collegiate field for a game, his dad and mom, Kristen, have supported his early interest from schools.

“It’s great because they’re willing to take me anywhere. I feel like some parents aren’t willing to travel, but my parents are willing to travel wherever and I’m really appreciative of that,” Kalis said.

With that, Kalis hit the road this past weekend with his parents to check out two prominent programs that relate to his position on the offensive line.

The weekend kicked off with a visit to South Bend, Ind. to check out the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

“Notre Dame was outstanding,” Kalis said. “I got to experience the campus, the facilities and atmosphere. I got to talk to all the coaches but mainly coach Rudolph and coach Freeman.”

Then, the road trip stopped to meet with the Wisconsin Badgers program on Saturday. It wasn’t the first time in Madison for Kalis as he was there to witness the Badgers take on Northwestern in the fall.

“Wisconsin was also incredible,” he said. “It was a great trip and plan on going back. The bar of excellence is very high at Wisconsin for the o-line.”

While Kalis still awaits offers from both Notre Dame and Wisconsin, he is still in awe that they are showing interest in him.

“It’s an honor to get recruited by o-line heavy schools because I feel like if I went there, they could perfect my craft and mold me into the best player I can be,” he said.

Kalis’ spring visits concluded with a quick trip south of Pittsburgh at West Virginia on Tuesday.

“It went amazing. We started with the tour of the facilities then onto practice. After practice I got the speak with coach Moore. The o-line was very competitive, and it was very fun to watch. The hospitality and community were very welcoming as well.”

It’s only a matter of time before Kalis’ recruitment truly picks up steam in the offer department. As of now, the 6-foot-6, 290-pound left tackle holds offers from Akron and Duke.

The Blue Devils serve as the first Power 4 school to offer Kalis and it came on the same day that he visited the program on April 13.

“I was super surprised,” he said. “The day was great even before, but the offer finished it.”

While Kalis starts to reel in some offers, he has plenty of teammates to talk about it with at Central Catholic that consistently boasts players with high-level offers. Specifically, Penn State signee Anthony Speca and highly sought-after linebacker Colsen Gatten have helped Kalis through the process.

“Anthony Speca really gave me some good advice and really helps me with tips. I’m pretty close with Colsen Gatten and he always helps me with my recruiting process,” Kalis said.

During his freshman season with the Vikings, Kalis lined up at right tackle, but will make the switch for next year and expects to start at left tackle where he will continue to work on his technique and skill set.

“I try to finish through the whistle. I’m a pretty athletic player with my footwork, hands and speed. As an o-lineman, you try to be more of an athlete than a big dude,” said Kalis.

This story initially appeared on our partner site Pittsburgh Sports Now.

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