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Nutter makes switch from Division III to D-I Big East

Kyle Nutter committed to play tailback for Siena Heights University’s football team next fall.

Genoa’s all-time leading rusher was happy he was getting an opportunity to play at the next level. But at the same time, he was disappointed he wasn’t getting that chance to fulfill his dream of playing at the Division I level.

Turns out he signed on the dotted line with Siena Heights a little too soon.

Nutter visited the University of Cincinnati on May 3 and met with first-year Bearcats running backs coach and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran, who was hired by new head coach Tommy Tuberville.

“Me and coach Gran had a great talk,” Nutter said. “He said a lot of great things. They’re changing their offense and they have a new head coach and they’re kind of in need of a fullback right now. Coach Gran thinks I’d fit in real well as a fullback. He likes what he saw (of me) on film.

“I sent him an email maybe a week before I visited, just like a last-minute thing. I can’t tell you why I was sending these emails out, maybe hoping for something like this to happen. The main reason was, there was a hole in my heart that I needed to fill. I knew in my heart I wanted to play Division I. If I wouldn’t have tried it, I would have regretted it in the long run.”

Nutter said he has accepted Cincinnati’s offer to be on the squad in 2013 as a preferred walk-on. He will report to the team on June 20.

“I’m really excited,” Nutter said.

Nutter said he broke the news to Siena Heights head coach Jim Lyall last Friday. Siena Heights is an NAIA school located in Adrian, Mich.

“I love Siena Heights and I love coach Lyall and I respect him a lot,” Nutter said. “I told him there was a hole in my heart, a dream I felt I really needed to pursue. I felt I had a great opportunity at Cincinnati and I definitely need to pursure that opportunity. If I didn’t, I would regret it.”

Nutter, 18, said Lyall was “very disappointed” with Nutter’s change of heart.

“He asked me how it happened,” Nutter said. “He was a little upset, but mostly disappointed. I think he understands where I’m coming from and why I’m doing what I’m doing. Overall, he understood and he wished me the best of luck, as I wished him good luck, too. He said if I ever need anything, he’s always there. He’s a great guy. We had a good relationship. He respected my decision and I think he knows that this is something I should maybe do.”

Nutter, who holds Genoa records for career rushing yards (6,017), single-season rushing yards (2,058), career touchdowns, single-season touchdowns and highest yards-per-carry average, said he has not talked to Tuberville directly. He said he isn’t likely to get the 25-35 carries a game he got with the Comets.

“It’s definitely going to be a different role, going from carrying the ball 42 times sometimes to twice a game (in college),” said the 5-foot-11, 225-pound Nutter said. “I’ll be doing a lot more blocking and maybe catching the ball out of the backfield. I think it will be much sweeter doing that at Cincinnati, playing Division I. I think that will kind of make up for not being the No. 1 guy, playing against the greatest competition.”

Nutter said his parents, Cheryl and John, support his decision to try playing at Cincinnati.

“I think they definitely see where I’m coming from,” he said. “They believe in me just as much as I believe in myself. They tell me every day that they know I can play at that level. I think they’re happy with this decision.”

Nutter, a first-team All-Ohio selection last fall, said he will study health science at UC.

“My ultimate goal is to be a strength coach for a football program,” he said. “A health science major gets you prepared for the strength and conditioning certification test.”

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