COREY KINER TALKS TO LSUODYSSEY.COM

Updated: May 19, 2021

The following was transcribed from a phone conversation & text exchange between this author and the best 2021 running back in the nation....ENJOY


by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips


LSU Odyssey spoke with Corey's mother Denean last fall, finding our conversation with her to be one of our favorites since we started the site; Now, adding to the Kiner family discussions, we talk to the young man himself:


Following a high school career which saw Kiner record 125 total touchdowns (3rd all time in Ohio High School history) while his junior exploits helped Roger Bacon High grab their first playoff victory in over a decade, the future LSU diesel topped that off as a senior, taking Roger Bacon to their first ever semifinal appearance.

The eye-popping, history-making performances propelled Kiner into the stratosphere, especially once word of his 400 yard 8 touchdown game vs Cincinnati Hills spread like wildfire....

He scored 6 in another game and 5 again, all in the same fall....1,869 total rushing yards at 11.1 per carry...74 rushing scores in 2019 & 2020 alone.

Freakish and elite....

Freakishly elite....

But for every non-LSU school who lined up for his signature, it didn't matter....the running back was already taken....Kiner was already wearing purple & gold.

What made Corey so sure about LSU???

That's one question we answer below.

Named Ohio's Mr. Football as well as Gatorade Player of the Year, Kiner has been getting his dues as the most remarkably productive offensive threat within the 2021 class, receiving game invites from the Cincinnati Bengals (where he was hosted by the team) and special attention from Tiger Legends, including a correspondence with Heisman-winning / #1 overall pick / Ohio & LSU hero Joe Burrow.

We caught up with Corey just as he finds himself about to head to Louisiana for his first days on campus at LSU (Corey will graduate on the 3rd of June and will report to Faulk on the 9th):


LONN: Hey Corey how's it going? I gotta start it off with this, I've just been dying to know the answer to this: Have you met Joe Burrow yet?

COREY: No sir, but I talked to him and he congratulated me on being named Mr. Football. I was invited to a Bengals game but he wasn't playing at the time.

LONN: Oh so Joe invited you but he couldn't play cause of his ACL tear? Dang!

COREY: Actually, the Bengals invited me, to honor me for being Ohio's Mr. Football.



LONN: Bro...you're already on the NFL radar. Now, being named Mr. Football took a lot: 125 total touchdowns, taking Roger Bacon to their first ever semifinal appearance...what was the magical run like? Blazing a trail at your alma mater?

COREY: It was amazing for my teammates and I to bring something like that back to the school. A lot of staff members at the school have been there for a very long time and they have never seen something like that happen for football at Roger Bacon.

LONN: What was your favorite moment of your entire high school experience?

COREY: Winning our first playoff game my junior year. It was the first time our school had won a playoff game in like ten years.


LONN: What was your first reaction when Coach Kevin Faulk approached you? Was being an SEC running back something that entered your mind growing up?

COREY: He came to my school my junior year, talked to me and I didn't realize who he was, and we had a conversation...and he always talked to me, texted me all the time, on FaceTime, we just talked a lot and he recruited me real hard, and they offered me around this time last year: March, April of last year, 2020.

And they just kept at it, on and on recruiting me and I did my research on LSU, the players, all that kind of stuff and it was a perfect match...I couldn't let this opportunity go to waste.


LONN: When you were watching the running game around 2019, the season just before Kevin Faulk started recruiting you, was there a spark there when you watched Clyde Edwards-Helaire do what he did?


COREY: Yes sir, just knowing what they do with their running backs and how they send guys to the NFL, I just did more research on top of the fact. And, I contacted people, like former players and stuff like that, just asked them questions. It made the process kind of easy, trying to get as much information as I can before I make my decision.


LONN: Was it all running backs that you were contacting?

COREY: Just a lot of college players, but the one running back I did contact was Spencer Ware, he's from my city: Cincinnati.

He ended up helping me work out, training me and all that kind of stuff.

LONN: We looooove Spencer Ware.

COREY: And.....I got some more insight on LSU, some that not many people would get from a former athlete.


LONN: That's so cool to hear Spencer Ware is lending his talents to the next generation of Tigers, that's incredible!

Now speaking about your talents, I think people really need to realize your numbers:

125 total touchdowns...good for #3 all time in Ohio high school history, scoring 8 in a single game, only failing to score 2 or more touchdowns once in 11 games as a senior....jumping over, going under or through defenders:

What geauxs through your mind when you're pulling off those moves? I know it's gotta be second nature at this point, but when you look back on it, do you say to yourself 'ok, I'm about to jump over this guy'?

COREY: (laughing) No sir, it's just something that happens!

LONN: (laughs) Just reaction?

COREY: I don't even think about it, I can't practice something like that in football practice. I mean, I come from a small school so we didn't have that many guys at practice anyway to really do things like that at practice.

So, like I see it on TV, I see Saquan Barkley, I watch a lot of football, you know I study a lot of guys like Saquan...all the running backs in the NFL, but you see him do it...and it's in the back of my mind all the time and it just happens in a game on instinct.


LONN: Something I also wanted to ask you about was your receiving ability, that's going to be a big focus of Jake Peetz's offense. We didn't see you catching the ball too much in Roger Bacon's offense, though from what I saw, you have the abilities. What do you think about your receiving game?

COREY: I feel like I'm a pretty nice receiver. At football practices, all the time I'd go to scout offense and line up as receiver.

I'd run routes against our defense...trying to work on my ability to catch the ball and run routes and all that kind of stuff....just to show my coach if he ever needed me to line me up at wide out, he could.

Whenever I would go work out with friends and stuff, I would always line up at receiver, running at DBs, just trying to improve on my route running, 'cause I know I can do it.


LONN: I feel there's nothing you can't do.

But there is one thing: Do you believe you can be the starting running back here at LSU in 2021, Corey?

COREY: I haven't really thought about that, right now.

Like right now my goal is to get the offense down, try and get my body right for college football, 'cause SEC football isn't like any other conference...it's real grown men out there. So I gotta get all that right before I start thinking about taking someone else's job like that.


LONN: Speaking of more future Tiger teammates, LSU probably weren't going to sign another running back, but they geaux all in for Armoni Goodwin, another 2021 running back you personally recruited!

What went into trying to persuade him to come to LSU?

COREY: Armoni is a cool dude and we became friends like right off the bat, he's pretty cool. And I thought about the long term effects of the game: you need....in today's day and age of football, you need more than one running back, and he's such a dawg, I just realized our games complement each other....us being on the same team...it could be a force...it could be unstoppable, I'm just thinking of that.


LONN: Well watching Armoni's tape and comparing it with yours, I completely agree. You got that absolute burner with Armoni, who's still a very powerful guy between the tackles and then...

COREY: Oh yeah...he's pretty strong! I was watching one of his workout videos the other day, and I'm watching it and I was just amazed at how fast he was lifting, man he was lookin' good. He has some unbelievably fast feet too, it's crazy.


LONN: It's really rare to see a running back who's the #1 guy in their class recruiting another running back for their team, it's actually a new phenomenon to see a guy recruit someone else at his position.... it's extremely unselfish and speaks to your character.

Well, Corey just a few more questions:

After what you did in high school at Roger Bacon, what do you think is possible this season as a freshman?

What would be the bar for you?

COREY: Like I said, I haven't really set a bar for myself yet 'cause I gotta come in & make sure I learn the scheme, give those conditioning tests my full ability, get in the weight room, get with the strength & conditioning coaches, get with my teammates, learn...learn everything I'm supposed to be doing.....and once I get all of that done, then I'll set my goals for football season.

Like right now, I'm taking it step by step. I feel like where a lot of people go wrong they try to think too far ahead and they don't get the "now" part.

So, I'm just taking it step by step and I'll set my goals for the summertime: try to come in and be the best in the weight room, try to be the best at learning the playbook, try to be the best at practice, all that kind of stuff.

Once we get through camp, then I can set all my season goals once I know where I'm at.



LONN: What's the best piece of advice someone from LSU has given you about coming into the school?

COREY: Spencer Ware told me to 'keep my head down and work. Ask questions when I need to ask 'em, but...just keep my head down and work. Don't be a freshman that thinks he knows everything and thinks he's the best already...just keep my head down and work my tail off, every day.


LONN: What should LSU fans expect most from your freshman season, Corey?

COREY: People should expect me to just continue to work hard, I can't promise any stats or anything like that...but I can just promise that every day there'll be 110% from me, 200% from me, every single day....just for my team, that's the least I can give is 110% effort for my teammates.


LONN: Well I don't know how much you're acquainted with Louisiana just yet, my man, but that's all they're gonna to need to hear...right there.

Thank you so much for joining the Tigers!

We're all so excited for what you're about to bring to the table Corey, not just what you can contribute on the field, but what you mean off the field, as well.

You're a high character young man and we're lucky to have another Native Son of Ohio as a Tiger!

Tell your Mother Denean that we love and appreciate her support & kindness!

COREY: Thank you that means a lot, sir!

LONN: Be talking to you soon, Mr. Football!


by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips

Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC


RIP BENJAMIN BAKER 1996-2021


SHOUTOUTS: Daniel Baker for being so incredibly tough throughout your brother's passing and being a rock for your family. Seeing you navigate these horrific waters with such grace and nobility has been a huge lesson for me. Love ya bro, your friend always! Our Jazz will win that title for him this year!

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