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Kalil Pimpleton signs as undrafted free agent with the Detroit Lions

Pimpleton will continue his professional journey just over two hours away from Mt. Pleasant, signing a UDFA contract with the homestate Lions.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 17 Central Michigan at Ball State Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Central Michigan wide receiver and kick return specialist Kalil Pimpleton, the pride of Muskegon, Michigan, will take his talents to the Motor City after his four-year stay in Mt. Pleasant, signing as an undrafted free agent with the Detroit Lions on Saturday evening.

The signing was reported by Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network via Twitter.

Pimpleton was one of the most dynamic players to ever don the Maroon and Gold, finishing his Chippewas career with 170 receptions for 2,131 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air, 39 rushing attempts for 299 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, 48 punt returns for 567 yards and two touchdowns, and even went 7-of-12 passing for 112 yards and one touchdown in his 33-game career after transferring in from Virginia Tech in 2018.

Pimpleton was selected to the postseason all-MAC team in all three seasons he was eligible, with first-team honors in 2019 and 2021, second-team honors in 2020, and MAC Special Teams Player of the Year honors in 2021, proving himself one of the best prospects from the MAC ranks from the moment he stepped onto the field.

NCAA Football: Sun Bowl-Washington State at Central Michigan Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

After his collegiate career, Pimpleton was invited to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, leading the National Team with four receptions for 21 yards while also proving his worth as a blocker and decoy.

Pimpleton’s speed and ball vision in the open field is what makes him stand out, as despite his diminutive five-foot-seven, 172 lb. frame, Pimpleton still ran a 4.49 40-yard dash, with elite times in the 10-split (1.52 seconds) and flying 20-yard dash (2.5 seconds), and decent times in the agility drills, with a 4.04 second shuttle time and a 6.93 second three-cone drill.

Kalil Pimpleton’s Relative Athletic Score
Kent Lee Platte

Pimpleton was a multi-purpose tool in the CMU offense, seeing snaps at running back, quarterback, outside receiver and slot receiver, and could provide similar gadget use at the professional level given his athletic background.

He will immediately compete for a special teams role in Detroit, likely competing with current incumbent Kalif Raymond for a direct roster spot as a kick and punt returner.

Pimpleton will have work to do to impress coaches enough to stick on in a larger role due to his size and uneven performance at points in his career, but Lions fans and coaches are getting a high-character football player in Pimpleton who is an infectious locker room presence that is unafraid of taking on a leadership role.

Should he not make the roster, he would be a good practice squad addition for more seasoning until he’s ready for weekly action.