Kalil Pimpleton, Central Michigan star receiver/punt returner, enters NFL Draft

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Kalil Pimpleton, the Muskegon native who began his collegiate career at Virginia Tech before transferring to Central Michigan and helping lead the Chippewas to one of the best seasons in the program's history, announced Sunday he will enter the NFL Draft.

Pimpleton was first-team All-Mid-American Conference in 2021, and was the conference's special teams player of the year.

Central Michigan wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton eludes Washington State defensive back Armani Marsh during the Sun Bowl on Friday.

The highlight of his season was a win over rival Western Michigan on Nov. 3, when he returned two punts for touchdowns, and had 115 receiving yards and another score.

"To my family, coaches and teammates, and Chippewa Nation, your embracing spirit, support, and motivation has meant a lot to men and my journey!" Pimpleton wrote on Facebook. "I can't thank you all enough for helping me grow into the human, leader, and player I was destined to be!

"I'm forever grateful for the lifelong relationship we've built, and I love each and every one of you forever!"

Pimpleton finished with 959 receiving yards and four touchdowns, and also had two rushing touchdowns this season, in which the Chippewas finished 9-3, the highlight being a 24-21 win over Washington State in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, on Friday.

Pimpleton was one of four players in the Football Bowl Subdivision with two punt returns for a touchdown this season, including Michigan State's Jayden Reed. Five times in 2021, he had more than 100 receiving yards.

He was second-team All-MAC at receiver in 2020, leading his team with 26 receptions for 277 yards in a shortened season due to COVID-19. He was first-team All-MAC in 2019, with 82 catches for 894 yards.

Pimpleton sat out the 2018 season due to NCAA transfer rules — he transferred before the NCAA granted a one-time immediate-eligibility waiver — after playing in five games for Virginia Tech in 2017. He was a top prospect coming out of Muskegon High, which he led to the 2016 state-championship game. Pimpleton, twice, was named the Muskegon Chronicle's offensive player of the year.

At Central Michigan, he reunited with Muskegon receiver JaCorey Sullivan, a friend since childhood.

Pimpleton could've played one more season because of the extra year granted athletes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he's decided to chase his NFL dream.

"This has been a lifelong dream and I'm excited to continue this journey while embracing everything that comes along the way," Pimpleton wrote.

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tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984