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January 1, 2012

Kalis, Yeldon decisions add heat to rivalries

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SAN ANTONIO - They are lines that are not to be blurred.

Alabama or Auburn. Michigan or Ohio State.

Pick one.

Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward offensive lineman Kyle Kalis and Daphne (Ala.) High running back T.J. Yeldon each did.

And then the five-star prospects switched.

"I was immature and impulsive when I first committed to Ohio State," Kalis said. "I was so excited to get the offer and my family is all Ohio State fans, so I thought I was making the right decision at the time."

Kalis, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive tackle, first committed to Ohio State after the third game of his junior season. Then things changed. Following the dismissal of head coach Jim Tressel and subsequent trips to Michigan, Kalis made his final decision to go to Michigan.

"I grew up a lot since then," he said. "I went up to Michigan with my dad and felt like it was right for me, and I really didn't feel that same love for Ohio State that my family does and I once did."

Yeldon, like Kalis, chose to go over to the other side of one of the nation's most intense rivalries when he changed his commitment from Auburn to Alabama.

"It was a tough decision," he said. "I have nothing negative against Auburn; this was a decision that I had to make for me.

"Alabama can get me to the next level, and I had to make that choice for myself."

Yeldon, a 6-foot-2 205-pound running back, said that the recent run of success at his position was the main factor in his change of heart.

"(Two) years ago they had a guy (Mark Ingram) win the Heisman," he said. "And this year they could have done it again (with Trent Richardson). I just feel like I can accomplish all my goals there."

While each said they feel comfortable with their schools of choice, the rabid fanbases made sure to voice displeasure over the de-commitments.

"They blew up my Facebook," Yeldon said. "And my Twitter was crazy.

"People were posting that they hoped I would blow out both my ACL's and other stuff like that."

The overboard emotions displayed by Auburn fans over the de-commitment surprised Yeldon but did not effect him.

"I didn't think it would be like that," he said. "I don't let it bother me because it isn't those people's futures, it's mine, and I have to make the best choice for me."

Kalis said he knew what to expect when he made the change.

"My family and I talked about it," he said. "My dad wanted to prepare me for the backlash and the repercussions of my choice."

The public outcry was still there - and still negative.

"The Ohio State message boards were out of control," he said. "The fans went crazy, a couple of them posted on my Facebook page, 'Good Luck,' and things like that, but the most part was pretty negative."

Neither has any inkling to switch back, but both understand that they are now the sworn enemy to fan bases that initially embraced them.

"I know some people are still mad," Kalis said. "What matters to me is my family, and so long as they are rooting for me at Michigan it's all good.

"But if they are still rooting for Ohio State, though, there could be problems."



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