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March 14, 2009

Antonio Kinard commits to Michigan

Michigan has landed yet another Ohioan, and yet another Youngstown Liberty standout. Antonio Kinard, a 6-4, 210 pound outside linebacker, committed to the Wolverines over the weekend, he informed TheWolverine.com tonight.

"I committed [Friday], actually," he reported. "I told Coach [Rich] Rodriguez on the football field in the Big House. That's where I told him.

"He was excited. He had a big smile on his face. He just told me 'welcome to the family,' and that he was looking forward to me coming up there and playing for him."

Kinard is the high school teammate of two members of the 2009 recruiting class, with running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and safety Isaiah Bell also hailing from Youngstown Liberty. He finished with 86 tackles, including six sacks, during his junior season.

"I just finished telling Isaiah Bell about an hour ago and I told Fitzgerald the day I committed," he noted. "Fitz was like 'oh man, I can't believe that you're actually coming up there.' He was saying welcome to the family and stuff like that. When I told Isaiah, he was screaming in my ear … they're happy for me."

Kinard's made the trip as part of the Michigan junior day, which included the Night of Champions event on Friday evening. The unique setting made a big impression with the young linebacker, who becomes the Wolverines' fifth commitment in his recruiting class.

"I enjoyed the experience. That was my first time visiting a Big Ten college and I enjoyed it. It was exciting," he said. "I got to sit down in Coach Rodriguez's office and have a one-on-one talk with him. I got to see the weight room, their practice field and talked with (Shari Acho) about the academics."

While Kinard hasn't made many unofficial visits to schools, he is happy with the decision that he has reached and does not plan to look back.

"It was just the school and the football program, and of course my friends too, because they're going," he explained of why he made his choice. "I'm happy with my choice. There's no second thought about my decision."

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