Iowa Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz has a reputation for turning three-star recruits into NFL all-stars.
Kyle Calloway appears to be another example of that.
Like fellow Hawkeye Bryan Bulaga, Calloway is another rock-solid offensive lineman coached by Ferentz who looks to be drafted fairly early in this year's NFL draft.
Part of Iowa's infamous 2005 recruiting class, Calloway came in as a three-star recruit rated No. 55 in the country at his position by Rivals. A few of his future teammates, Dan Doering and Dace Richardson, were actually ranked ahead of him.
Now, Calloway is considered one of the best offensive tackles available in the 2010 NFL Draft. Having started 37 regular season games over the last three seasons as a lineman coached by a former NFL offensive line coach has many teams drooling at the chance to select him.
The 6'7'', 323-pound guard was named to the 2009 All Big Ten second team and has a very similar style to former Iowa player Marshall Yanda, who was a drafted by the Ravens in 2007.
NFL Analst Gill Brandt predicts that Calloway should be a solid pro starter.
Since Iowa's convincing victory over Georgia Tech in the 2010 Orange Bowl, Calloway has been training at IMG Academies to make sure Brandt's prediction comes true. In preparation for the events leading up to the draft, he has been working on his technique with Tom Nutten, a former guard who played eight seasons for the St. Louis Rams.
The hard work seems to be paying off. As the draft approaches, several teams appear to be interested. He has done interviews for all but four NFL teams.
After Iowa's recent pro day , Calloway took the time to answer a few questions about life as a Hawkeye, his preparation for the draft and his computer gaming skills.
Bret Feddern: How does it feel to be done with school?
Kyle Calloway: It feels great, earning my history degree in December of 2009 was a culmination of five years of work, and to be finished with the process is definitely an accomplishment.
BF: In the off season, what was your favorite bar/hangout around campus?
KC: Iowa City offers a wide variety of ways to entertain yourself. My favorite place, and not widely known, is the Englert Theatre. I have seen many performances there and have never left disappointed.
BF: Because your dad was in the Military, you traveled around quite a bit as a kid. Where do you call 'home'?
KC: I kind of fit Metallica’s "Wherever I may wander" song in that wherever I lay my head is home. I don’t fill particularly attached to any of the places that I have lived. When people outside of Iowa ask me where I’m from I say Iowa and when people in Iowa ask me where I’m from I say Arizona, which is where my parents currently live.
BF: How do some of the other places you've lived compare to Iowa City?
KC: Every place that I have lived in is different, with different geographical, cultural, and economic situations. Some of the many things that attracted me to Iowa were the small town feel, strong sense of community, and the general friendliness of the people. I can’t count the times neighbors have went out of their way to shovel the snow from our driveway during the season and have brought over home cooked food.
BF: You had a great career at Iowa. What was your favorite moment as a Hawkeye?
KC: The 2009 season. I don’t think anyone saw us as an 11 win team, and to consistently go into games as the underdog and come out with victories has been really defining to me as a Hawkeye. We may not be the flashiest team but we work hard and do things right way, which gives us an edge come game time.
BF: Now that you, Bulaga, Richardson and Eubanks are all moving on, who do you expect to step up on the offensive line next season for the Hawkeyes? Is there anyone we should keep an eye out for?
KC: Obviously Reiff and Vandervelde will anchor the line and provide the needed leadership but you should keep your eyes on Gettis and Zusevics, who have the ability to have breakout seasons and solidify the offensive line.
BF: Growing up, who was your favorite NFL player? Who did you most want to be like?
KC: I was more of a basketball fan and watched very little football growing up. However, in Illinois I had the opportunity to be coached by one of the greatest defensive tackles to play the game in Dave Butz. As a defensive lineman in high school I hung onto his every word and tried to model my game around his.
BF: What has it been like preparing for the NFL draft? What was your typical schedule like while you prepared?
KC: Preparing for the NFL draft was no easy task. A typical day for me began around 7:00 with breakfast leading into speed work and position work, which would last until lunch time. Following lunch I would then begin what was known as mental conditioning, which was simply preparation for interviews and techniques for handling yourself during interviews. Following this I would lift, and then finish my day around 6:00 with a soak in the cold tub.
BF: Did you and Bulaga have any friendly competitions going on during the combine or pro day?
KC: There was nothing friendly about the combine or the pro–day. Each player is focused on performing to their maximum potential and what someone else does is irrelevant.
BF: National Football Post has you in the Top Ten tackles available in the draft. It looks to be an lineman-friendly draft, which is a good thing for you. Based on research online, it appears as though the Chargers and Bills might be interested in acquiring your talents. Did any teams express interest at the combine or Iowa's Pro Day?
KC: I have had the opportunity to speak with many scouts and coaches and one thing they all have in common is a deep respect for coach Ferentz and how Iowa develops superior lineman. I was told that, from a technique standpoint, I had an advantage over other offensive linemen. It seemed to me that most teams showed interest but each team has their own needs in regards to positions that they need to fill in the draft.
BF: Have any teams scheduled you for an interview?
KC: From the East/West shrine game and the combine I have done an interview with all but four teams.
BF: When you aren't focused on football, you told IMG Academies that you're an avid PC gamer. What is your favorite video game of all-time for any system? Why?
KC: This is a tough question for me as I have played and enjoyed many games. The game I have played the most is Counter-Strike 1.6, and Counter-Strike Source, reaching the highest level of competitive play. However, the game that I have enjoyed the most is Diablo II, which is an RPG. This was during the early days of PC gaming and me and several friends got together and managed to beat the game in three long days.
The 2010 NFL Draft will kick off Thursday, April 22. Hawkeye fans look forward to watching Kyle on Sundays in the very near future.
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