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Roger Bacon's Corey Kiner embraces a leadership role for the Spartans while school is closed

Posted: 6:49 AM, Mar 23, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-24 19:26:35-04

ST. BERNARD, Ohio — Roger Bacon junior running back Corey Kiner preferred the Baltimore Ravens last week in "Madden NFL 20" on PlayStation 4.

"I played with the Ravens with Lamar Jackson, [head coach John] Harbaugh and all those (guys)," Kiner said. "[Thursday] I played the Texans and I got beat, so I probably won't play with them again."

Kiner, ranked the nation's No. 10 running back in the 2021 class by the 247 Sports Composite, also enjoys playing "Fortnite," "NBA 2K 20" and "Call of Duty" during this time away from school.

He jokingly asked ESPN last week on Twitter if it wanted to watch him do pushups in his backyard.

"I played with PlayStation with my friends from school every day," Kiner said. "I got Twitter. Twitter is like one of the best entertainments right now -- looking at everybody's tweets."

But if you think Kiner -- the Cincinnati area's top college recruit in the 2021 class -- is resting on his laurels during this coronavirus outbreak, think again.

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Roger Bacon defensive coordinator and strength coach Solomon Tentman said Kiner has effectively set an example for others on the team during this unprecedented time.

"Corey just gets into the Hudl chat and says, 'Hey, guys, make sure you guys are waking up early, getting your work done so you don't have to wait until the end of the day,'" Tentman said. "'Because if you wait then you are not going to get it done.' I didn't prompt him into that -- that's just him. He's embraced the leadership role."

Kiner, an Ohio 2020 Mr. Football candidate, said there was an adjustment period early last week as he navigated schoolwork and athletic training.

His family knows he always has been busy in the past with football workouts, track or school so he wasn't often home during the day. But by mid-week, Kiner was settling into the new routine at his Bond Hill home.

"I try to keep my regular school schedule," Kiner said. "So every morning I wake up around 6 or 6:30. They send us our schoolwork by 11 o'clock. So I get all my schoolwork done by 10:30 or 11 o'clock or sometimes 12. After that, sometimes I go running. Our coach (Tentman) sent us a workout to do. So I do that in my room and I go running after that. Some days I will go for a jog or sprint or something like that."

All the workouts are geared toward this upcoming season. No one wants to start from zero.

Kiner, who rushed for 2,298 yards and 40 touchdowns for the Spartans (10-2) in 2019, doesn't want to leave anything to chance.

"I am self motivated 100% of the time," Kiner said. "I know I want to be better than I was last season or last week or yesterday. I just take it day by day and push myself each day."

Roger Bacon head coach Mike Blaut stays connected to his players through email, text or a Hudl chat room. The Spartans coaching staff has encouraged its players to send videos of their individual workouts.

"With it just being a week, I am sure the kids are bored," Blaut said. "As it drags onto two weeks or three weeks, it's going to become more and more of a challenge. Your guess is as good as mine. Trying to pump them up whether it's on Twitter or through the email or through Hudl or whatever the case may be. We just got to try to stay in contact with each other and be supportive of each other because we are all in the same boat."

Kiner is still plugged into his college recruiting situation with his list of 10 finalists. The spotlight hasn't subsided.

"My top 10, really, I did that because there were a whole lot of schools talking to me each day," Kiner said. "And some of the schools I knew I wasn't going to. I'm getting closer to making a decision. It's affecting me every day because the fans, the coaches from these 10 schools -- they're all texting me every day. It's all fun, though. They're texting me every day, and I feel like a celebrity in their eyes."

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Roger Bacon junior running back Corey Kiner has a list of 10 finalists for his college recruiting.

The coronavirus outbreak has directly impacted Kiner's college recruiting timeline.

"I know that he had a visit set up for Louisville, which obviously got canceled," Blaut said. "I know he was talking about possibly going up to Michigan and maybe Ohio State and places like that. Him and I and some of the coaches -- we were going to go up to Northwestern just for a coaches clinic. He was going to kind of tag along and go with us and be able to see the campus and things like that."

Kiner said the timeline for a college decision is still to be determined.

"I had one visit planned in May, but I really don't know what's going to happen now," Kiner said. "My plan before all this coronavirus business happened, I wanted to make a decision probably late August or sometime before school started. Since all the coronavirus business it probably would go into my senior season somewhere. I need to get these visits in before I make a decision."

This month also has given Kiner a greater anticipation for his senior season with the Spartans.

"I am very excited," Kiner said. "Honestly, I want to step on the field with my brothers again. That's what I miss every Friday."