During his three-year run as the primary Comet running back, former Genoa running back Kyle Nutter set a number of school records while establishing himself as one of the top runners in Ohio.
Now, Nutter is getting a chance to showcase his talents at the University of Cincinnati.
In the last two years, the Bearcats have gone a combined 20-6 and finished tied for first in the Big East both times. Cincinnati was also victorious in each of its bowl games during that span, but was defeated by the Toledo Rockets last year.
Led by former Auburn and Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, the Bearcats will look to take the next step and establish themselves with the top teams in college football. Tuberville is best known for leading Auburn to a 13-0 record, a Southeast Conference title, a Sugar Bowl victory and a No. 2 ranking in 2003.
Cincinnati, which is now part of the American Athletic Conference, opens with non-conference games against Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern State and Miami University before beginning league play. Five of the games will be carried on the ESPN Family of Networks—the question is will Genoa residents get to see Nutter on television during his freshman season.
Nutter says he is enjoying his time in the Q
|Fullback Kyle Nutter, now at the University of Cincinnati, fights
his way through traffic as a Genoa Comet. (Photo by Harold
ueen City, attending a school that has over 23,000 students at its primary campus downtown.
“I had a very easy transition at UC,” Nutter said. “I made some good friends right away and that made it easy for me to transition into college. I'm doing really well on and off the field, and I'm having a lot of fun in Cincinnati.”
He credits his coaches at Genoa for instilling a work ethic that has proven to be of great value at UC.
“At Genoa, physicality and toughness are important qualities to have and here at Cincinnati, it's the same thing,” Nutter said. “That's how I've moved myself up the depth chart — I always gave it 100 percent and I was as physical as possible. Football coaches love physical guys, especially at the fullback position.
“Everything is about competition — competing for a spot on the team and then competing to move your way up the depth chart. At the collegiate level, there are no slouches — everyone is bigger, faster and stronger, so working harder in the offseason is a must to compete at this level.”
What he's referring to at Genoa was a six-year run (2007-12) that saw the Comets go 58-2 in the regular season, 9-6 in the playoffs, and win league five league titles. The program, which was built up by current coach Tim Spiess and former coach Mike Vicars, had its best season in 2008 when the Comets went 13-1 and advanced to the Division IV state semifinal. During Nutter's three years with the team, the Comets went 29-1, won two league titles and advanced as far as the D-IV regional final during his sophomore year.
“Playing at Genoa helped me with toughness and playing physical — it mentally helped me as well,” he said. “Being a part of a winning program with coaches that expect a lot has carried over to college. The (college) coaches expect so much out of you here at UC, and I was ready for that. And I feel that I have a winning mindset and a competitive mindset from playing at Genoa.”
He is not alone in taking on the challenge of college football. Others include Cyrron Barringer (Waite), Zane Troknya, Allen Boss (Oak Harbor), Ryan Brandeberry (Clay), Mike Blazevich (Cardinal Stritch) and Jon Sandwisch (Woodmore).
For Nutter, it almost didn't end up like this. Nutter was originally set to attend Siena Heights Univeresity, an NAIA school located in Adrian, Michigan before, at the last minute, he was able to get in touch with some of the coaches at Cincinnati. Thus far, it's worked out nicely.
For Nutter, who moved to Cincinnati in mid-June, it's been a constant balancing act with regard to football, school and his personal life. That is, if he still has time for a personal life.
He says playing football at a major college program requires complete focus and an incredible amount of physical and mental stamina, not to mention the demands that come with being a full time student. According to Nutter, what stands out in regard to football is not just the practices and the weight lifting sessions, but the film sessions — numerous hours spent dissecting film while trying to gain a competitive edge on your opponent.
“It's a lot more time consuming with the endless hours of film study,” Nutter said, “so you really have to manage your time well so you can maintain good grades in the classroom.”