April 3, 2012

Rivals100 LB Kalambayi impresses at VTO

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - By Peter Kalambayi's own admission, he was a little rusty Sunday at the Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 at Mallard Creek High School.

Of course, he had a pretty good excuse.

"I haven't really done any football-related drills because I'm in track season," Kalambayi told Rivals.com

It didn't matter.

Kalambayi, a Rivals100 outside linebacker from Matthews (N.C.) Butler, might not have been razor sharp by his standards, but he was good enough to win linebacker MVP honors, which speaks volumes about the kind of athlete he is.

"This was a good chance to get some work in," he said.

Kalambayi, ranked No. 9 nationally at outside linebacker and No. 62 overall, is one of the country's most sought-after juniors. At last check, he held 23 offers, with the most recent coming from Ole Miss and Oregon. He already has visited a handful of schools in 2012, and while he isn't ready to name an official top five, he did name five programs that were standing out at the moment.

"It's Stanford, Oregon, Michigan, Virginia and North Carolina," Kalambayi said.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Kalambayi said he plans to visit Virginia on Wednesday and Stanford on June 22; Clemson also is very much in the mix and he hopes to visit there this spring. Kalambayi said a commitment could come "probably during the college football season or toward the end of it."

"Most likely, it's going to be one of those [schools]," he added. "I'm pretty comfortable with them."

During one-on-one drills Sunday, Kalambayi spent most of his time blanketing running backs and tight ends. But in the future, he hopes to be closer to the line of scrimmage.

"I just want to blitz off the edge," Kalambayi said. ""If I have to, I'll play defensive end. I'll do it. If I have to play outside linebacker, I'll do it. I just want to blitz. I just feel comfortable doing it. It's natural to me. A lot of schools like North Carolina and Clemson want me to play their bandit position. It's a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker. Stanford wants me to play outside linebacker. And a school like Maryland wants me to play inside. I've heard all three."

Kalambayi missed some action in 2011 with a high ankle sprain but said he is now 100 percent. In track and field, he competes in the 100 meters, 4x100, discus and shot put. His best time in the 100 is 11.06 seconds.

On the football field, Kalambayi said he has grown leaps and bounds since last year at this time.

"I'm way better," he said. "I've gotten a lot more quick, and my footwork has improved. My shuttle, for example, used to be like 4.6. Today, I just ran a 4.1. I've been working on my feet."

It's not the only part of his game he's working to improve.

"Definitely my lateral movement could be better," Kalambayi said. "My hands could be better, too."

As for Sunday, Kalambayi was pleased with his performance - even with the rust.

"I think I did pretty good," he said.

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