Wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton emerges as leader for CMU, discusses newcomers on rise

Central Michigan wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton leads his position room in drills during the third practice of fall camp Aug. 5 at the Bennett Track Grass Field.

Kalil Pimpleton watched the 2018 Central Michigan football team from the sideline. 

The speedy sophomore wide receiver was unable to play because of NCAA transfer regulations after joining the Chippewas from Virginia Tech.

As the 2019 season draws near, Pimpleton has been thrusted into a leadership role amongst the position group, and the entire offense.

In individual drills, the Muskegon native was out front and leading the line in each drill. He said that his leadership qualities are nothing new. In fact, he embraces the opportunity. 

"I feel like I've always been a leader type," Pimpleton said. "I played quarterback in high school, so I feel like I've done a great job of leading those guys, and they've done a good job of helping me in that room." 

One of those integral newcomers in the room throughout spring and fall camp has been redshirt freshman Tyrone Scott. He played in the season finale at Toledo last season, but that was his only appearance. 

Pimpleton said Scott has been one teammate that has improved from last season, and that could play paramount when this season begins.

"I feel like Scott has done a great job in the film room," Pimpleton said. "He's translated that over to the field. He's done a great job of locking in during practice and the film room. He's a very athletic guy."

Pimpleton added that redshirt freshman Keonta Nixon has improved. He also gave credit to the offensive linemen for their hard work. 

When Brandon Childress went down with his career-ending knee injury, the entire wide receiver corps knew that it would have to step up and fill the void.

While guys like Scott and sophomore Drayton Law have stepped up to help on offense, Pimpleton noted two teammates that have provided leadership without Childress.

"(Senior) Cameron Cole and (sophomore) Mark Patritto have done a great job helping those (younger) guys," he said. "I feel like those two guys have done a great job."

Pimpleton, while exemplifying leadership in the individual drills, has proved that he is one of the "top-dogs" based on a skill alone.

His quickness and route running ability have made him stand out since arriving in Mount Pleasant, leaving fans eager to watch him take the field.

Senior linebacker Michael Oliver said having Pimpleton in the lineup is going to help the offensive unit exponentially, but there's always more to the picture.

"Having KP is a bonus," Oliver said. "It's all the pieces that (first year head coach Jim McElwain) brought in and (that) we got over time is making real, real special." 

As for Pimpleton's season, he is ready to go and kick it off against Albany on Aug. 29 in Kelly/Shorts Stadium. 

He believes speed makes him a dynamic player, one that is an asset to the success of the Chippewas.

"Speed," he said. "Wherever they put it, I feel like I can make a play."