Kyle and David Nutter gave opposing defenses fits when they were in the same offensive backfield together at Genoa High School.
Now, the Nutter brothers will have an opportunity to do the same thing in college. Kyle and David both signed letters of intent last Wednesday to play running back at Malone University in Canton.
“Playing with him in high school was the best time of my life,” said David, 17, a senior who is 10 months younger than Kyle. “We do everything together. He’s my best friend. To be able to play at the next level, it’s such a great opportunity. To play with your brother, it just doesn’t get better than that. It’s a dream come true.”
Malone, which has an enrollment of just under 1,900 undergraduates, is a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Pioneers finished 2-9 and 1-8 in the GLIAC under fourth-year head coach Eric Hehman last season.
|Former Genoa gridiron stars and brothers Kyle Nutter and David
Nutter, who will team up at Malone University in the fall. (Press
file photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.smugmug.com)
Malone, which plays its home games at Fawcett Stadium, site of the NFL Hall of Fame game, is entering its second full year of NCAA Division II membership.
Kyle, Genoa’s all-time leading rusher and scorer, was a backup running back at the University of Cincinnati last season. He did not have any carries but caught one pass for 3 yards and played in two games for head coach Tommy Tuberville’s Bearcats.
Tuberville, however, made it clear as last season progressed that the offense was going to lean more toward a spread offense instead of a power and two-back formation. That essentially eliminated the 5-foot-11, 230-pound Nutter’s role on the team.
“The coaches thought (the spread) fit the personnel better,” Nutter said. “They were doing what they thought was best for the team. After three or four games, in practice I noticed myself standing on the sideline even more. At the end I wasn’t even practicing. I had a lot of time to think when I was on the sideline and everyone else was practicing. Me and the other fullback weren’t getting any reps at all.”
Kyle said he thought he was doing well at UC, even making the travel squad, but the switch to a spread attack wasn’t made for his talents.
“It was really disappointing,” he said. “Towards the end, I just kept thinking to myself, ‘if the offense stays this way, this is just not me. I want to go somewhere and play football.’ ”
After a few weeks of “stressful, hard thinking,” Nutter decided to play football somewhere else.
“I started calling my parents on what to do,” he said. “I loved Cincinnati, but I wanted to play football. Playing the game of football trumps everything else. If I wasn’t going to play, it wasn’t going to work out for me. I’m not one of those guys who just wants to be a part of the team. The coaches were understanding. They didn’t have any hard feelings.”
The situation was much different for David Nutter, who won all sorts of awards following the 2013 season.
David (5-11, 226), a second-team all-state running back in Division IV who will compete in the Ohio North-South All-Star Game on April 26 in Dayton, rushed for 1,700 yards last season. He was also a first-team All-Northern Buckeye Conference linebacker, yet he couldn’t get a serious offer from any D-I schools.
“Malone was my only Division II offer, really,” he said, adding that he chose Malone, for starters, because the Pioneers run an offensive scheme that fits the Nutter running back mold.
“They run the ball a lot,” David said. “They run an offense where we can both be used at the same time. That’s the best part, being able to play with your brother again, just like high school. The coaches are great. They (Pioneers) play in Canton and it’s such a good football town. There is so much history there and it’s such a good community for football.”
Kyle, who is eligible to play in 2014, said looking for a new school after Cincinnati was made easier after he and his brother decided they’d like to play together again. They will both major in exercise science at Malone.
“We spend a lot of time together and we’re best friends,” Kyle said. “We thought it would be cool to play football together again if it was possible. The best way for us to do that was to go to a system of offense that runs more than one running back. Malone has my major, the facilities are nice and the GLIAC is a good conference. I loved the coaches and met a lot of guys on the team briefly and made some good relationships.”
Genoa coach Tim Spiess said he spoke with Malone running backs coach Adam Chase during the recruitment of both Nutter brothers.
“I told (Chase), ‘you realize you just became a much smarter coach,” Spiess said. “David and Kyle are great people. They’re outstanding students and players. Our motto at Genoa is ‘Be the best,’ and they live that example. They’re going to be on the field together, and not many colleges can offer that opportunity.”
David said the recruiting process was “crazy,” and he’s excited to play at the next level.
“You want to go Division I and you have your preferences on schools,” he said, “but it doesn’t always go your way. Malone plays in a good, competitive league and it just felt good to sign.”