Hermantown senior David Cornelius didn’t have many opportunities to impress college coaches. He rarely got a chance to play until this – his senior – season. Cornelius made the most of his small window to impress to receive interest from…
Hermantown senior David Cornelius didn’t have many opportunities to impress college coaches. He rarely got a chance to play until this – his senior – season. Cornelius made the most of his small window to impress to receive interest from mostly Division III schools in the Midwest. A chance encounter opened the eyes of the University of Sioux Falls’ coaching staff and their 2019 commit.
The season started with a lot of unknowns.
“With the new coaches, nobody was sure how the season was going to turn out,” Cornelius admitted. “The coaches did a great job figuring out where everybody should be. They put it all together.”
They put it together to the tune of a 7-1 regular season and a trip to the state tournament.
“On defense, we were good recognizing tendencies from our film work,” Cornelius explained. “We stopped the run first. On offense, we threw the ball a lot more this year, but we were still mainly a running team.”
For the first time as a high school football player, Cornelius was an every-down contributor.
“I got a chance to show what I could do this year. I was on special teams last year and had not gotten that chance to prove myself until this year.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Cornelius was the Hawks’ primary ball carrier.
“I think my speed is one of my biggest strengths. I think I have good vision and that helped me this year.”
The 6’1″ 180-pound senior played both ways – starting at cornerback.
“On defense, my strength is just knowing where to be and my ability to take care of my assignments.”
Even with his success this season, Cornelius knows he needs to improve if he is going to have success at the next level.
“I need to focus on my technique on almost everything,” the avid snowboarder said. “I learned what I should be doing but I need to nail down how everything should be carried out is where I need to improve.”
After the football season, he went about improving himself as an athlete.
“This winter I have been lifting – focusing on my lower body,” Cornelius said. “I am working on becoming more mobile and elusive on the field.”
As he has since junior high, Cornelius will be competing in track this spring.
“I run the 110-meter hurdles. I also compete in the long jump and high jump, and then I run other sprints based on what makes sense for that meet.”
Getting noticed after his junior year got Cornelius started on his recruiting journey.
“The process started with me going to local camps. Minnesota-Duluth and a couple of camps in the Twin Cities. At the end of my junior year schools started to look at me and things picked up starting with my senior year.”
“A lot of Division III schools were looking at me,” Cornelius continued, “Augsburg, Concordia-St. Paul, Crown College, and Presentation College.”
Unexpectedly, a school that was not on Cornelius’ radar came into the picture.
“My mom and I were touring other colleges in the area,” Cornelius recalled. “She lost her keys, so she had to go to a dealership in the area to get keys made. The closest dealership was in Sioux Falls. A guy who I played with last year was a freshman at Sioux Falls, so I called him up and asked him about his experience there. He said it had been great. He was having a great time and was with some great people, so I had a meeting with the coaching staff. They looked at my film and said they wanted me on the team.”
He was on an official visit a week later and was impressed by what he saw.
“There is no chance you can’t fit in well with the culture there,” said Cornelius who also likes to play the guitar. “I felt like the coaches, and everybody knew what they should be doing.”
The Cougars liked what they saw in Cornelius too.
“They said they liked my potential. The coaches knew I didn’t get a lot of playing time. They saw my speed and athletic ability. They were excited to see what they can do with it.”
Although he could play – likely at cornerback or possibly receiver – right away, Cornelius expects to redshirt year one. Whether he is on the active roster Week 1 or if he redshirts, Cornelius – like in high school – will make the most of whatever opportunity he gets.