May 18, 2010

Antonio Kinard must pass test before U-M enrollment

Michigan signed four linebackers in the Class of 2010, including Youngstown, Ohio, native Antonio Kinard. The three-star recruit would like to enroll in summer classes at U-M, but there is a significant obstacle he must overcome before he can do that …

Like redshirt freshman Justin Turner, who saw his admittance to Michigan delayed, Kinard has yet to pass the Ohio Graduation Test. The test was established in 2001 to ensure that students graduating from Ohio high schools were proficient in the areas of math, reading, writing, science and social studies.

Kinard did not pass the test earlier this year and must take it again after graduating May 30 before he can enroll in college.

"I'm right on the edge; I have to pass this test or I have to wait until August before I get another shot, before I can … the whole thing is complicated, but the easiest thing I can do is pass it right now and not have to worry about it the rest of the summer," said Kinard, who feels better prepared than when he first took the exam.

"I've been tutored so much I'm sick of it. Everybody says senior year is supposed to be smooth and the easiest year of your high school career, but it's been hard on me with class work and all the tutoring, and I don't have study halls during my day to help me catch up."

Kinard has found an outlet for the academic grind on the track. He's competing in the long jump event. Last year's Division III long-jump winner covered 22-10 3/4. No one in the state of Ohio has jumped that far this season but Kinard feels he can.

"My best this year was 22-10," Kinard said. "I don't know what it will take to win state's or if I can, but I'm going to try."

Kinard will put track and field on the shelf when he arrives at Michigan, though. In the midst of his long-jump workouts, he's also been training according to the Mike Barwis' workout plan.

"There is a lot of sprinting back and forth between exercises but Fitz [Toussaint] told me what I'm doing now isn't even real workouts compared to what they do," Kinard said. "He said it's just sick how hard they work, but I'm looking forward to it, to see how far I can push myself."

Kinard has added eight pounds since Signing Day, tipping the scales at 203 pounds. He hasn't noticed discernible gains to his strength and speed, though he admits he would need to strap his shoulder pads on and hit somebody to know the difference.

In three seasons with Liberty High School, Kinard recorded 218 tackles, including 12 for loss. He had four interceptions and totaled 473 yards offensively. In conversations with U-M's coaching staff since February, he has learned where he will begin his career.

"They want me more on the outside at first, because they think I'm quick enough and fast enough to be versatile, but they said they'll give me a look inside too so that I can see where I fit best," he noted.

Kinard attended Michigan's spring game April 17 and was impressed with the Wolverines' offense. He chatted up Toussaint, a close friend, and is excited to spend the summer in Ann Arbor, if eligible.

"Our offense looks stacked with a lot of great running backs and Denard Robinson at quarterback," Kinard said. "Fitz told me he can't wait to hit somebody for real after going against teammates for so long.

"It just killed him to sit out last season with his shoulder injury. He's not the kind of guy that can stand on the sidelines and not play and watch other guys do it. So he's excited, and he can't wait for me to get up there so he can show me around and help me make the jump."

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