TROTWOOD, Ohio—Standing 5-foot-11, 170-pounds, Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne safety Tyree Kinnel combines great size and speed to be an effective playmaker as the last line of defense.
Talk to Kinnel, also a 2015 Michigan commitment, and he’ll say there’s another facet of his game that stands out as well.
“I just like playing like that, playing physical,” Kinnel told GoBlueWolverine. “But you also have to play smart at the same time.
“I just like to play physical and let them know I’m not a punk out there.”
Transitioning to the safety position full time for Huber Heights Wayne, Kinnel is adjusting to the position well, endearing himself to the flexibility the position provides, able to showcase his overall skill set in run and pass situations.
“I love safety,” Kinnel said. “You get to come down in run support and play pass. And Michigan wants me at safety so I’m just going to be working at safety the next two years -- but you never know, I could play corner.
“Coach Mallory has mentioned that to me and some nickel so, I’m keeping my options open -- and with the coaching staff, that’s all their choice.”
An integral part of Wayne’s big week two 35-21 win over Trotwood Madison high school, Kinnel made several key stops including a stonewalling, no doubt about it tackle just shy of the first down markers to keep the Rams out of the end zone and give the ball back to his offense.
“It was a big win for us,” Kinnel said. “Personally, I really wanted this game. Trotwood is a rivalry to us and it’s been a big game to use the last couple years. We wanted this one.
“We knew Trotwood, this was their biggest game of the season, and we wanted to come out and shut them up. They run their mouth a lot.”
Deciding to commit to Michigan at the end of August after receiving a scholarship offer from the Wolverines over the summer, Kinnel’s relationship with the coaching staff in Ann Arbor proved instrumental in the choice.
But for Kinnel, there wasn’t much of a decision to be made, he always wanted to go to Michigan and knew waiting wasn’t the right thing to do.
“The day I got offered, he (George Campbell) texted me and said, ‘Man, this is the place I want to be,’” Kinnel said. “And I knew, when they offered me, it was my place. I grew up being a Michigan fan so it was a dream, and once I got that offer I was just relieved. And now it’s just ready to play football for my high school team.
“Why not just choose it this early and not mess around with these other schools, knowing that you don’t really have that much interest in them.
“I’m a Wolverine now so, I’m just proud of it.”
To watch the full video interview with Kinnel, including him discussing his relationship with fellow Michigan commitment Shaun Crawford, press play below.