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May 13, 2008

Kalil's recovered from minor surgery

For over a year, Matt Kalil had been a Trojan. The days weren't moving particularly quickly.

But with the path from recruit to commit to signee to Trojan almost over, things have been picking up steam.

"The last part of my senior year has gone by like a blink of an eye," Kalil said. "It's gone by pretty fast lately."

Despite not putting shot for Anaheim's Servite High School, Kalil has been plenty busy.

"A couple weeks after Signing Day, USC sent me its training program and workout schedule," he said. "I've been working out, doing the things they've asked me. I want to be ready when I get over there.

"I just wanted to focus. I'm not like I'm going to college for track."

Oh, and he also had knee surgery.

It shouldn't cause panic, though, he said.

"It was just a 30 minute surgery," Kalil said. "I was back and running in a few weeks. It feels a lot better now."

The surgery repaired a cartilage problem in Kalil's right knee that had bothered him since his junior year.

"It would really hurt when I'd bend at a certain point," he said. "I couldn't really get down low my last year. Now, it feels 20 times better.

"I'm good right now. I'm on their program and watching film - just getting ready."

The five-star offensive tackle and Army All-American has dove into USC's training program. The workouts have focused a lot of the lower half of Kalil's 6-foot-7, 280-pound plus frame.

"They've had me focus a lot on leg strength. I have a pretty solid upper body, and my lower body's not too bad," he said. "They've had me work some on shoulder strength, but it's been mostly my legs. I've been working them a lot."

Kalil said he's excited to take on one of head coach Pete Carroll's tests for newcomers - throwing them in with the first teamers.

"There's an opportunity to play. I'm just going to work my hardest and see what happens. If I don't play, I'll have an extra year to know all the plays and be with the program more," Kalil said. "If I do play, I'll have more game experience. Either way it'll be a good situation for me.

"It's a good chance to see where I'm at. I'll just go out there and ball out, and do my best. Hopefully, I'll be good enough. If I'm not there to get better, I guess I should just leave."

Kalil's leaned on his brother, former USC center Ryan Kalil, for some advice.

"He told me that once I get up there, it'd be a whole different deal," he said. "The coaches are going to be on me, saying all kinds of different stuff. He just told me to be mentally tough."

And because he shares a name with such an accomplished player, Kalil knows the bar will be set high for him. He's used to it.

"We're different people and different players," he said. "Because of how well he did, there's some expectations for me. But, I really don't feel any extra pressure."

These days, Kalil's not feeling too much - other than excited.

"I knew I was going to USC since my junior year," he said. "I've been committed for a while now. I'm anxious to get down to campus and start going to practice and classes.

"I'm excited to really be a part of the program."


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