Sam Webb: So how did your visit to Michigan's junior day go?
Antonio Kinard: "It actually went pretty good. I liked everything. I actually got a feel for the school. I got a chance to see how the academics are and how the football playing works out, so everything went good."
Sam Webb: What did you think of the stadium?
Antonio Kinard: "The stadium is huge! I actually saw that they're doing some construction work. Coach Rodriguez was telling me that they're making the stadium to where the sound doesn't go up in the air… It's built to where the sound stays inside of it. Instead of 100,000 people making a lot of noise, it's going to sound like 500,000 people. I was very impressed with the stadium. It's huge. It was my first time ever seeing it."
Sam Webb: What did the coaches tell you about how you would fit in if you decided to go to Michigan?
Antonio Kinard: "They said I would fit in real good. They said I have a real nice frame and should be able to fit in with the linebackers real well. They said I still have a lot of growing to do, but they said they put on muscle like it's nothing, so they said I'd fit right in.
Sam Webb: Speaking of muscle, what did you think of Mike Barwis, the strength & conditioning coach?
Antonio Kinard: "Aww man! (Laughing). He is crazy. He is very intense. He is always pumped up and ready to go. I actually met him this morning for the practice and he was still hype and really energetic. I like him a lot."
Sam Webb: You've had a Michigan offer for a little while now. When exactly did it come through and have any others come through yet?
Antonio Kinard: "Michigan came in December or January. They gave me an offer at about that time. My interest has been Michigan, and I see myself at Michigan. That's where I really want to be at. The other schools that were close to me were West Virginia and Penn State. They were getting real close. I was actually talking to my recruiting coach from Penn State and he was telling me he had seen my football film and he liked it. I actually went down to West Virginia when I was a sophomore to a combine. They said they liked me and they wanted me then and there."
Sam Webb: Sounds like you spent a lot of one-on-one time with the coaches. What were your impressions of Coach Rodriguez?
Antonio Kinard: "The coach I sat down with the most was Coach Rodriguez. He actually took me away from the other players in the group on the tour and we talked one-on-one. He was asking me how I liked the facility and how I liked the academic plan. I told him, ‘I like it. I think this is where I need to be. I have a couple of friends coming up here, so I can bond with them still. I like talking to Coach Rodriguez. That's who I talked to the majority of the day. I talked to Coach Gibson too, my recruiting coach. He was just telling me, ‘yeah Kinard, I like you. Take as long as you want. I'm not trying to rush you into anything, but if you feel like you need to be here, then by all means be here. If you still want to take some time to think about, then by all means, take your time.'"
Sam Webb: You stuck around for practice today. Did they tell you like they did D.J. Williamson, that they didn't want you to leave without you becoming a Wolverine?
Antonio Kinard: "Yeah. (Laughing) They actually did say the same thing. They actually told me that they were going to lock the doors and chain the doors so I wouldn't leave. I actually did make a commitment. I did actually commit yesterday at junior day in the Big House. I told (Rodriguez), ‘yes I'm committing to the University of Michigan.' Coach Rodriguez did accept."
Sam Webb: What was his reaction?
Antonio Kinard: "When I first came up to him in the middle of the football field, I asked him did he accept my offer? He actually found that a little bit amusing because I kind of froze up. He was like, ‘yes Kinard, I accept you. (Laughing)' He was real proud of me. He was like, ‘now you can sit back, chill, and relax. You don't have to worry about any of these other colleges. Your main focus is Michigan now. I know you won't try to mess around with other colleges or nothing like that.' He was real proud of me."
Antonio Kinard: "I haven't really talked to Isaiah that much. He has actually been calling me today and wanting to know. I really haven't gotten a chance to tell him. Yesterday at junior day I texted Fitz and let him know. Fitz was like, ‘aww man, are you serious? Welcome to the family. It's the three of us, me you, and 'Ikey' up there.' I was like, ‘yeah man, it's going to be tight.'"
Sam Webb: Now that you're officially in the Maize & Blue fold, tell Michigan fans about your game.
Antonio Kinard: The way I would describe myself is I'm quick, I'm fast, I love to hit, and I'm not going to stop until I get the man down, I don't care what I takes. I'm always after it. There is never a point where I'm slowing down. I always want it. My height is 6-4, my weight is 200 pounds, and my forty time is a 4.6. My year as a junior – I think I did pretty well… better than I thought I would. I think I did real well. I just made plays. I had 89 tackles, one interception on defense."
Sam Webb: With recruiting out of the way now, what's next? Are you participating in any other sports?
Antonio Kinard: "Yes, I'm actually running track. I run the 4x200, the 4x100, and the long jump. My fastest split in 11.2. My split time in the 200 in 22.8 – 22.9."
To see the highlight vide for Michigan commit #6, Youngstown Liberty LB Antonio Kinard, click here.
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Antonio Kinard in the coming days.