MATTHEW “Matt” KALIL
University of Southern California Trojans
Servite High School
Playing in the trenches seems to be the “family business” for the Kalils. Matt Kalil'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 lineman 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 10 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 the 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.
Matt Kalil at USC pro day.
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, but missed several weeks of practices with a knee sprain. 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. He also blocked an extra point attempt in the Notre Dame contest.
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.
Manning the trenches with 2012 Heisman Trophy hopeful Matt Barkley at quarterback, Matt made sure that his teammate had one of the “cleanest” uniforms on the team, as no defender would get past Kalil on 447 pass plays. In fact, with Kalil leading the front wall, the Trojans allowed a league-low eight sacks for the season. Continuing to excel on special teams, he blocked two extra point tries and a pair of field goals, including a potential game-winner in the Utah contest.
The All-Pac 12 Conference first-team choice was named the winner of the 32nd annual Morris Trophy, which is awarded annually to the league's top offensive lineman as selected by the league's starting defensive linemen and vice versa. With constant media attention throughout his banner season, and much speculation that he would declare for the 2012 NFL Draft, Kalil finally made that decision official shortly after the season.
On Dec. 8, Kalil woke up to what he called "mayhem,” as websites reported that he was weighing whether to turn pro or return for a final season with the Trojans, but was “set to return,” citing a source close to the situation. "I woke up to mayhem," Kalil said. "I guess it was kind of a glimpse of what’s going to be happening. I'm not close to making a decision. That will probably happen in the next couple weeks. No decision has been made. I just started thinking about the process I’m going to go through to make the decision.”
"But I think I got a thousand new followers this morning on my Twitter account."
Like most draft-eligible players, Kalil said he had filed paperwork with the NFL seeking an evaluation of his projected draft position. On Dec. 19, more internet fodder confirmed his decision to leave school. Beginning with a tweet from ESPN's Chris Mortensen and later confirmed by direct quotes from Kalil to the Los Angeles Times, Kalil erased any doubt about his future intentions.
The Associated Press All-American told Gary Klein of the Times that "It was definitely a tough decision because I love SC. But, it's a special opportunity. It's time to move on."
It had been widely presumed that Kalil would strongly consider making the leap. He'd proven himself in two starting seasons as the Trojans' left tackle, keeping the Dallas Cowboys' 2010 first round pick Tyron Smith on the right side and earning comparisons to the great Tony Boselli along the way.
Kalil started the final 26 games of his career at left tackle and had a string of 27 consecutive starting assignments, joining the first unit at right tackle vs. Boston College in the 2009 Emerald Bowl … During his time as a starter, he registered 206 knockdowns and 30 touchdown-resulting blocks … Did not allow any quarterback sacks or pressures on 937 pass plays … Ryan (2006) and Matt became the third set of Southern California brothers to earn first-team All-American honors for the Trojans, joining Marlin (1959-60) and Mike McKeever (1959), and Clay (1977) and Bruce Matthews (1982) … Matt (2011) and Ryan (2006) are the only brothers to ever earn Morris Trophy honors in Pac-12 annals … Became the 12th USC offensive lineman to win the Morris Trophy in the 32 years the award has been handed out.
The consensus All-American first-team selection was rated as the best overall draft prospect eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft by The NFL Draft Report (chosen over more notable quarterbacks, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III) … Was also named to the All-American first-teams of the Associated Press, Walter Camp, Sports Illustrated, Pro Foot-ball Weekly and Yahoo Sports/Rivals.com … Unanimous All-Pac 12 Conference first-team pick and recipient of the 32nd annual Morris Trophy, given to the outstanding offensive and defensive linemen in the conference. What makes the award unique is the selection procedure, which has the starting offensive linemen in the league voting for the defensive winner and vice versa … Playing the demanding left offensive tackle position, Kalil posted fourteen touchdown-resulting blocks and 95 knockdowns … Through 447 pass plays, he did not allow any quarterback sacks or pressures, as the entire front wall gave up a league-low (second nationally) eight sacks for the schedule … Helped the Trojans average 294.17 aerial yards, 456.76 yards in total offense and 35.75 points per game … Also excelled on special teams, blocking two extra point tries; vs. Arizona and California, along with pair of field goals – one in the Minnesota and another late in the Utah clash that would have been a potential game-winning boot … Kalil blocked Utah’s Coleman Petersen’s 41-yard field goal attempt on the final play and Torin Harris returned it for a touchdown that wasn’t counted until two hours after the game ended. “It hit my forearm, so it didn’t even get over my hand,” said Kalil. “Luckily, I’m a tall guy.” … Recorded multiple touchdown-resulting blocks in three contests, including vs. Arizona (team gained 582 yards, as he had three TD-resulting blocks on six scoring drives), Stanford (both on running plays, as the team piled up 432 yards) and Washington (on all three of USC’s runs, helping the team total 252 yards on the ground).
All-American third-team and All-Pac 10 Conference first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report … Started all thirteen games at left tackle, as he was credited with sixteen touch-down-resulting blocks and 111 knockdowns for an offense that averaged 431.46 yards per game … While the Trojans front wall was charged with eighteen sacks for the season, no opponent got to the USC quarterbacks as a result of an error by Kalil (453 pass plays) … His success in protecting the pocket allowed the Trojans to average 242.15 aerial yards per game … On special teams, he blocked an extra point attempt vs. Notre Dame … Also blocked an extra point attempt with 1:01 remaining in the Arizona clash, which was scooped up by Shareece Wright, who sprinted into the end zone, but the play was called back because of an offsides penalty. Arizona then converted the kick to pull within 24-21.
Kalil served as a backup right offensive tackle as a redshirt freshman, but played primarily on special teams … Started at that position vs. Boston College in the Emerald Bowl, taking down linebacker Luke Kuechly with a jarring drive block to clear the rush lane used by QB Matt Barkley for a 1-yard scoring run late in the fourth quarter.
Kalil redshirted as a freshman offensive tackle in 2008, but was sidelined for a few weeks during the season with a sprained knee.
2008 Season … Missed a few weeks of practice due to a knee sprain while a member of the scout team.
4.99 in the 40-yard dash … 1.70 10-yard dash … 2.73 20-yard dash … 4.65 20-yard shuttle …
7.33 three-cone drill … 27-inch vertical jump … 8’8” broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times … 34 ½-inch arm length … 10 3/8-inch hands … 81 3/8-inch wingspan.
Kalil was a standout lineman at Serrvite High School, in Anaheim, California, playing football for head coach Troy Thomas … 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 … Added All-CIF Pac-5 Division first-team, in addition to being selected the 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 … 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) … Teammate of Southern California linebacker Chris Galippo.
Sociology major … Father, Frank, was a center at Arkansas (1978) and Arizona (1980-81-82), then was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1982 before playing for the USFL's Arizona Wranglers in 1983 and Houston Gamblers in 1984 … Brother, Ryan, lettered four years (2003-06) at center for Southern California, where he earned All-American honors and was the Pac-10 Morris Trophy winner in 2006 (he was a member of USC's 2003 and 2004 national championship squads), and now plays with the NFL's Carolina Panthers … Born 7/06/89 … Resides in Corona, California.