Ann Arbor — Michigan had 14 of its players from last year’s team at the NFL Combine, but offensive lineman Kyle Kalis was not among them.
He and Michigan offensive lineman teammate Erik Magnuson, who had participated in postseason scouting bowls, thought the obvious next step would be combine invites. They never came.
Kalis, who made 43 career starts at guard for the Wolverines, remained in Chandler, Arizona, where he has been working out since Jan. 1 at O-Line Performance. LeCharles Bentley, the former Buckeye and NFL Pro Bowl center and guard, started the invitation-only training club for NFL offensive linemen in 2008.
“It’s crazy,” Kalis said this week. “Me and Mags, we were kind of in shock at first, especially looking at the group of guys they had (at the combine). There were definitely some guys deserving to be there, but I thought going to the Shrine and the Senior bowls, I thought I was following (former Wolverine) Graham’s (Glasgow) steps, and it just didn’t come.
“Every team I talk to now, they all say the same thing. They say it doesn’t matter, but they all say they were surprised I wasn’t there. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter. They’re going to draft me off my film, they’re going to draft me off my formal interviews, so it’s all good.”
Kalis will be among the 19 Michigan players, including Jabrill Peppers, Taco Charlton, Jourdan Lewis and Jake Butt, participating in Pro Day at Michigan on Friday. Representatives from all 32 NFL teams will be there watching the players getting measured in various drills.
While in high school in northeast Ohio, Kalis had begun a relationship with Bentley, so heading to O-Line Performance was an easy decision.
“He’s the smartest, craziest guy I’ve ever met,” Kalis said of Bentley. “You know who he kind of reminds me of is a coach (Jim) Harbaugh. He’s always working to the next thing. He’s always thinking of ways to get better. Always trying to incorporate lifting and conditioning in a way that translates to football in a smart, functional way. So much of what we do out there is body functions. It’s seriously like biomechanics. How the body works.”
Kalis is 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, the same weight he was at Michigan, but he looks thinner and is, he said, much leaner and faster. Since the start of the year he has been on a diet that excludes sugar and carbs.
“My energy levels are so consistent, and I go right to bed at night,” he said. “It’s an awesome feeling. You feel like you’re doing clean living.”
While at O-Line Performance, Kalis became fast friends with former Buckeye Pat Elflein. The two are featured in “In the Trenches,” a six-episode video diary sponsored by Ford. It airs on the NFL Network and can be viewed online.
“We’ve become pretty good bros,” Kalis said of Elflein. “We’ve become best friends pretty much. I posted a video of me and him playing guitar — I taught him out how to play — and I was like, who said Buckeyes and Wolverines couldn’t get along?”
The show takes viewers behind the scenes in their paths to the NFL Draft.
“It was awesome to show the different sides of me and Pat and LeCharles,” Kalis said. “It shows us getting super intense in the weight room. I make eggs every day. Pat’s the bacon man. We eat breakfast, drink coffee and the ‘Price is Right.’ We’re like old men. And then we jam before we work out. Life is good.”
Kalis, who graduated in December, said, Bentley has them working out at every position, so he has been snapping every day from under center and out of the shotgun. He said at the Senior Bowl he and former Indiana lineman Dan Feeney showed they could snap, although they were not put in live situations.
“I like it,” Kalis said of snapping.
He has visits with the Lions, Panthers and Colts coming up.
“What I’ve been hearing from teams, my best performances were at the Senior Bowl,” he said. “I played really well down there. I think I showed I’m a top-five guard in the draft. My goal going through this whole entire process is showing teams what I’ve got, showing teams what I can do for them, because I’m a guy in my mind I’m going to come in and I want to compete for time right away.”