Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Coach | RB Corey Kiner A Program Lifter

January 24, 2020

Corey Kiner‍ is a big-time recruit, but the 2021 Ohio running back doesn’t see himself above anything or anybody.

Earlier this month, it was a packed house at Roger Bacon High School as the Spartans basketball squad hosted their rival, Purcell Marian. As the crowd finished filing out of the gym after the game, the school’s janitor grabbed a broom and began sweeping the bleachers.

Kiner and his teammate James Thompson were in the audience, but instead of leaving with everybody else, they grabbed a couple brooms of their own and joined in the effort.

“Nobody asked him,” Roger Bacon head football coach Mike Blaut says.

The school’s assistant athletic director took a video and shared it with Blaut.

“He was like, ‘Hey, this is why we do what we do,’” Blaut recalls. “You get two of my captains and two Division-I caliber kids doing that kind of stuff.

“He does that every day. When I saw the video, I thought, ‘Yeah, he does that all of the time.’ But not everybody sees the behind-the-scenes kinds of things.”

On the field, Blaut calls Kiner a “once-in-a-lifetime back.”

“I’ve been coaching for over 30 years,” he continues. “For a running back, he’s got every tool a running back needs. He can run with speed. He can run with power. He’s got spin moves, he’s got stiff-arms. He’s got a little bit of everything. He plays at his 40-time and maybe even a little below his actual 40-time. He plays with aggression. He can block, he can catch. He can do a little bit of everything.”

Kiner scored eight touchdowns and had 400 all-purpose yards in a single game this fall, a 58-32 win over Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. He finished his junior season with 2,298 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns en route to being named a First Team All-State player.

Toward the end of the regular season and into the playoffs, Blaut even put Kiner in as an outside linebacker and he proved just as adept making plays on that side of the ball.

“He had quite a few tackles, he had a huge sack, came blitzing off the edge and nobody is going to outrun him so he hunted the quarterback down from behind and made a heckuva play,” Blaut recalls.

Not surprisingly, Kiner has caught the attention of the nation’s biggest college programs and currently sports scholarship offers from schools like Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, LSU and USC among several others.

“He’s an extremely competitive kid,” Blaut says. “He wants to win in everything he does.

“He competes in the weight room. We do competition things at weight lifting just to have fun. Playing wiffle ball at times as a fun day. He fights and competes at Wiffle Ball. That’s just ingrained in him. That’s the way he is. That’s the way he’s built.”

He competes in things that others probably don’t even view as competitions.

“The first day he came in as a freshman, at the end of practice, I say, ‘Bring it up,’ and everybody comes and huddles around,” Blaut remembers. “He fights to be the first one in front of me and kneels directly in front of me to listen to whatever I have to say or anybody, it’s not just me, but typically I’m the one at the end of practice doing that.

“The first couple of times he did it, I’m like, ‘Man, this is kind of weird.’ Kids don’t do that. They don’t compete to be the middle kid in the front row right in front of Coach. He does things like that.”

He competes in the classroom too, where he owns a 3.2 grade-point average.

“He works his butt off in the classroom,” his coach says. “He takes a full load of classes. He doesn’t shy away from anything there. In the locker room, he’s a fun-loving kid. He likes to have a good time.”

All of the attention hasn’t changed Kiner either, according to Blaut.

“He’s the same,” his coach says. “He just kind of takes it in stride. Growing up, he had so much attention on the little league teams he played on, he just kind of takes it in stride. There’s really no difference in how he looks at it.”

Blaut credits Kiner and Thompson, a defensive end in the Class of 2020 who has signed with Wisconsin, for lifting the program.

“The program has been elevated by their play obviously, but also their character, their leadership,” he says. “They’ve elevated the entire program. Any young kid who doesn’t want to do the menial things of cleaning up the locker room or cleaning up the weight room, they better do it because those guys are going to tell them to do it. They’re not above doing the menial stuff that every team has to do.”

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