Flying Blind: Calloway 'Officially' a Hawkeye

Ever heard of the phrase 'flying blind'? It's an aviation term that is applied to flying at night or in heavy clouds or fog, and you cannot see the air in front of you and you have to trust your instincts and instraments. Recent Iowa commit Kyle Calloway can appreciate such conditions after his work at Iowa's camp on Tuesday. Prior to working at at offensive line at the camp in front of the Iowa coaching staff, he had never played on the O-Line before. Now he is a Hawkeye. (MORE)

Imagine trying to pull off the lead role in a school play while never having read the script.

Or think about what it would be like to drive a car if you had never had any instructions or training.

That might give you an idea of the challenge that faced Kyle Calloway on Tuesday at Iowa's football camp.

The 6-foot-7, 275-pound man-child from Belleville, Illinois (East) and his father had been invited to the camp by the Iowa coaching staff. There were no promises of a scholarship offer, just a chance to come to Iowa City and show them what he could do at offensive tackle.

But there was one little aspect that made this ‘tryout' all the more challenging: Calloway had never played on the offensive line before.

"I went to the camp and there was like 500-some players. There were a lot of big players there, so I was sort of nervous. This was the first time I had ever played offensive tackle, which is where they wanted me to work at. I thought that I did pretty good." Calloway said.

"They (Iowa's coaches) were watching my footwork a lot and told me that I had natural feet, from playing basketball."

Kyle was joined by his father Ed at the camp. They had planned on traveling to camps at Wisconsin, Illinois and Notre Dame during the week. But the Iowa coaching staff had told them that they were very impressed and that they could expect something in the mail in the very near future.

"We felt good enough about Kyle's performance that we just decided to drive on back home," Ed Calloway told us earlier this week.

They spent the night in Iowa and read the local papers on Wednesday morning. Hawkeyenation.com had reported early Tuesday evening that Calloway would likely be receiving a written offer from Iowa this week, and we had also reported on Monday that if Iowa would offer Calloway, he would accept.

So when they learned the news on Wednesday night that Iowa was extending a scholarship offer, it was money in the bank.

"When they offered me, it felt really good. Iowa has always been my number one. I went to Illinois and Missouri for their junior days, but I was amazed when I went up to Iowa. They have better facilities, and I like all of the coaches at Iowa, not just a couple of them." Kyle Calloway said.

"Obviously, if you are going to play offensive line in college, which is what all of the schools were recruiting me for, Iowa is clearly the best place to go for that."

Kyle is also a solid basketball player and plays for his high school team as well as on the AAU circuit. At the conclusion of the 2003-2004 season, he was hearing from some colleges, but for his basketball skills.

"By the end of basketball season, my first letter was from Western Illinois for basketball. After about two weeks, I started to get letters for football. I was amazed." Calloway said.

Kansas was the first school that officially offered him in football, and Illinois had told him that he came to their camp, they would make him an offer.

Another interesting side to this ‘out of nowhere' story is that Kyle will not be playing offensive tackle for his high school team this coming fall.

"This year I am playing tight end in high school but I have basically been a defensive player. I started playing football my freshman year, and played two years of defensive end and defensive tackle last year." Calloway said.

He also knows that he will be making some significant adjustments.

"Well, with the tight end work I will get this year, that will help some. But there is a big difference in going from defense to offense. It's an entirely different mindset on the offensive line. I think you have to be a bit smarter, as you have so many plays to learn. I am sure it's going to be tough."

Calloway told us that he will no longer play AAU basketball, but he will lace up the high tops after his football season this year, due to a sense of loyalty to his high school team.

But he knows that football is now his meal ticket, and he will work at keeping on as many pounds as he can.

"Right now I weigh 275-pounds. After football last year, I was 260-pounds, then after basketball, I dropped down to about 245. After basketball season, I got into the weight room and put the pounds back on. I am still playing basketball, which will help my footwork. But I am eating a lot more." Calloway said.

"I don't see there being any problem for me to get to Iowa at or over 300-pounds. Last year, I wanted to lose weight to be quicker. I will be lifting weights harder, and even in basketball season, my priority is getting ready for football."

The final and perhaps most amazing part of this story is the simple fact that the University of Iowa football team, a program that has put four offensive linemen in the NFL in the last two drafts, including Robert Gallery being the 2004 Outland Trophy winner and overall #2 pick in the draft, used one of it's limited number of scholarships on a player that had never, ever played on the offensive line before in his life.

"I woke up this morning and thought, ‘wow, I am done. I am going to Iowa.' It is a great, great place. You think of Robert Gallery and all that he has done, it's amazing. It really didn't hit me until this morning when I woke up. Wow, I am an Iowa Hawkeye."


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