Seneca Valley grad Kessler working through 1st camp at Mercyhurst
Corbin Kessler spent most of the warmer months preparing for some of the cooler ones.
While the calendar says summer lasts until late September, the fall sports season is here for Kessler, a freshman on the Mercyhurst football team. He reported to the Erie campus Aug. 9.
“It’s a new experience for me. I was definitely anxious to get up there,” he said. “Mercyhurst sent us all a workout packet for the summer. I just lifted and ran every day. That was pretty much what my summer was like.”
Getting ready for camp was a task, especially in the heat.
“I really liked the lifting part. The running and conditioning part was hard. No one likes to do that at all,” he said. “We had a conditioning test that’s pretty challenging. It’s hard; you have to get into shape going into camp instead of getting into shape at camp.”
Kessler, who turned down an offer to play baseball at Eastern Michigan, did it all on the gridiron at Seneca Valley. Last year, he played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, safety and returned kicks.
Offensively, he caught 20 passes for 362 yards. He added 63 carries for 361 yards and completed 3 of 4 passes for 29 yards and a touchdown. All told, he scored a team-best nine touchdowns.
However, he will start out on defense for the Lakers.
“I am at free safety, but it definitely helps having experience on both sides of the ball,” he said. “I have played pretty much almost all positions, skill-wise, except corner. It definitely gives you an advantage because I understand the tactics of what the offense is trying to do. Also, it helps that I can play those positions in case something happens where I would have to go to offense or another position.”
Kessler will get a chance to work with the kick return team, as well. He was a touchdown threat at Seneca Valley every time he fielded the ball.
“I had always done it through high school,” he said. “It’s always something I liked doing if it can get me on the field as early as possible. I’d definitely like that.”
Going through the transition of being the low man on the totem pole is something Kessler and the other Mercyhurst freshmen are experiencing.
“It’s tough. I remember being a sophomore in high school and playing varsity. I looked up to all the older players,” he said. “I just kept my mouth shut and worked hard. That’s what I am doing now.”
Adjusting to the speed of the college game is another challenge.
“That’s the thing I looked forward to the most. That’ll be the biggest thing getting used to — going against bigger, faster and stronger players,” he said. “My roommate, Hunter Merritt from Conneaut, we always talk about that. He is looking forward to it also.”
Then there’s the adjustment to a new academic environment. Kessler, a finance major, welcomes that test, too.
“It’ll be all new also, but I am definitely excited for it, actually,” he said.
The Lakers, who were picked sixth in the PSAC West preseason poll, open the season Sept. 1 at Ashland.
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.