The Bridgeport (WV) High coaches attempted to talk Connor Kornbrath into changing positions. The staff dreamed of the possibilities for the tall, athletic, multi-sport standout.
Kornbrath wouldn't bite.
"My coaches were always pressuring me to play like tight end or defensive end," the 6-foot-6, 205-pound punter said. "It would be fun, but the way I see it is that I had the opportunity to go D-I for kicking but I definitely didn't for tight end or something else. I didn't want to risk getting hurt and just stuck to kicker-punter."
It's a good thing Kornbrath clung to his beliefs. On Friday, he received a scholarship offer from Iowa and committed to the Hawkeyes a few hours later. The West Virginia punter had interest from the in-state Mountaineers, Maryland, Pittsburgh and others, but this represented hist first to offer.
"Of all the schools that I've seen, Iowa is No. 1 for everything - coaches, campus, football program," Kornbrath said. "I just loved everything about it. They were the No. 1 team that I wanted an offer from. I got it (Friday) so I just went with it."
Kornbrath said that he hadn't heard from Iowa until the middle of May.
"I got in contact with (kicking guru) Jamie Kohl," he said. "I attended his (Kohl) camp in May and was one of the top punters and kickoff guys. I was decent on field goals. Jamie Kohl got me in contact with (Iowa Special Teams) Coach (Lester) Erb. From there, we just started talking. I attended a one-day camp during the middle of June."
At the Iowa camp, Kornbrath said he worked out for Erb and fellow special teams coach Darrell Wilson.
"We started off with punts and it wasn't one of my best days but it was one of my better days," Kornbrath said. "I was hitting the ball well. But Coach Erb and Coach Wilson both saw some minor things punting. I needed to make sure I'm keeping my head down and not coming across my body.
"I did like three punts after they told me that and all of them were like 50-yard bombs. That was impressive to them to show coachable, I guess. All of my kickoffs were at the five or inside. The only thing I really need to work on his keeping my chest up."
Kornbrath gave kicking a try as a secondary sport early on.
"I played soccer up to my freshman year," he said. "I played freshman football but would only come to the special teams practices to kick and I played soccer. I noticed I was good (at football) so I went to an instructional camp that summer to give me some technique. From there, I just really worked at it and here we are."
Home-State West Virginia University has been pursuing Kornbrath but had yet to offer him a scholarship. He said it won't impact his future if the Mountaineers offer down the road.
"I'm finished. I'm committed," Kornbrath said. "I'm done with the other camps that I had scheduled. The (Mountaineers) were up there as one of my top schools but compared to Iowa I'm not interested in going to WVU.
Kornbrath has heard that he'll get an early opportunity for playing time with the Hawkeyes.
"I know they're going to have a senior punter (Eric Guthrie) this upcoming season," he said. "I'm told that I'm going to be punting my freshman year. I'm on scholarship for kickoff/punter, but I'm not sure how early I'm going to start kicking off."
Iowa also has punter Jonny Mullings on scholarship. He'll be a redshirt freshman this fall.
As a junior, the 6-foot-7, 210-pounder led all state kickers in scoring at 4.8 points per game, making seven of 12 field goals, including a school record 51-yarder and a state playoff record 47-yarder. He recorded 19 touchbacks, tops in the state.