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MATTHEW “Matt” KALIL Offensive Tackle University of Southern CaliforniaCorona, California Servite High School
Playing in the trenches seems to be the family business for the Kalils. Matt’s father, Frank, was a center at Arkansas and Arizona, and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1982, before playing for the United States Football League’s Arizona Wranglers in 1983 and Houston Gamblers in 1984. His brother Ryan was an All-American at Southern California, and is the starting center with the Carolina Panthers.
The younger Kalil is the consensus choice to be the first offensive lineman selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, according to professional scouts and talent evaluators. Based on his stellar performance at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, he has solidified his status as a very early draft selection. Some analysts feel that he might be the best offensive line-man that the Trojans have produced since Tony Boselli was a three-time All-American selection during his four seasons at the university (1991-94). Boselli was the second overall selection in the 1995, joining the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Despite the school’s long tradition for producing NFL offensive linemen, since Boselli was chosen, the only USC tackles to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft are John Michels (27th pick by Green Bay in 1996), Sam Baker (21st choice by Atlanta in 2008) and Tyron Smith (ninth selection by Dallas in 2011). With his family bloodlines, excellent athleticism, consistent performances and dominance in the trenches, many feel that Kalil will join Boselli and Smith in hearing his name called among the first ten picks in the 2012 draft. In 26 career starting assignments at the demanding left tackle position, the junior denied all defenders from getting to the Trojans quarterbacks. His athleticism was evident with his stellar special team skills, where he blocked five kicks in the last two years, including a school record four in 2011.
Even during his days at Servite High School in Anaheim, California, Kalil proved that he was one of the elite players in the game of football. As a sophomore, he was a member of the Cal-Hi Sports All-State first-team. As a junior in 2006, he again earned Cal-Hi Sports All-State first-team honors, in addition to being selected to that organization’s All-State Underclass squad. He added All-CIF Pac-5 Division first-team, in addition to being selected a Los Angeles Times All-Star and All-Trinity League Co-Lineman of the Year.
His 2007 honors included Parade, Super Prep, Prep Star and EA Sports All-American first- team accolades. He was named USA Today All-USA second-team, ESPN 150, Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star Dream Team, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first-team, Orange County Register Fab 15, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100 and Cal-Hi Sports All-State first-team. Additionally, the lineman was chosen All-CIF Pac-5 Division first-team, Los Angeles Times All-Star, Orange County Register All-Orange County first-team and All-Trinity League Co-Lineman of the Year as a senior offensive and defensive lineman.He was considered a five-star recruit by Rivals.com, along with being listed as the third-best offensive tackle in the class of 2008, behind only Mike Adams (Ohio State) and Baker Steinkuhler (Nebraska).
In 2008, Kalil enrolled at the University of Southern California, along with fellow Servite high teammates, linebacker Chris Galippo and D.J. Shoemate. He red-shirted as a freshman, performing on the scout team. The following season, he performed mostly on special teams and as a reserve right tackle, appearing in all but the Arizona State clash. He also made his first career start for the Trojans vs. Boston College in the Emerald Bowl, delivering the key block on Matt Barkley’s 1-yard QB keeper for a score in the fourth quarter.
In 2010 fall camp, Kalil beat out Tyron Smith for the left tackle position, replacing Charles Brown in the lineup. Smith returned to his more natural right tackle position, giving the Trojans perhaps the most athletic bookend blockers in the college game that year. Kalil did not allow any sacks for an offense that averaged 431.46 yards per game. As a junior, Kalil was a consensus All-American selection, joining Ryan in giving USC the third All-American first-team family in school history. Other sets of brothers to receive that lofty postseason honor were Marlin and Mike McKeever and the renowned Matthews brothers, Clay and Bruce.