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Eastern York Golden Knights senior Kaleb Corwell was excited to become a leader on the team this year as the program looks to improve. York Dispatch

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Kaleb Corwell just wanted an opportunity.

The Eastern York High School senior did what he was supposed to do — get good grades, perform on the field, contact college football coaches — but the interest still wasn’t there.

“A lot of the (NCAA) Division II schools would reach out to me, talk to me, but you could just tell they weren’t going to give me a chance,” Corwell said. “I would email them and they wouldn’t email me back for a few weeks. It was super confusing and super frustrating. I didn’t understand it at the time.”

Corwell received offers from NCAA Division III programs, but didn’t feel like that level was a good fit for him. Then in January, an opportunity to be a preferred walk-on at NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision Robert Morris University presented itself and Corwell had a choice to make. 

The amount of playing time he would receive was an important part of his decision and he considered walking away from the sport and going to college in South Carolina, because he found himself in the unique position of holding offers from only NCAA Division I and NCAA Division III programs.

Ultimately, Corwell couldn’t say goodbye to football and decided he would show the Robert Morris coaches that they made the right choice and recently committed to the program.

“I thought to myself, ‘I love football,’ so I can’t just give that up,” Corwell said. “So, I’m taking the challenge of going to Robert Morris and working hard for my spot. I know God has a plan for me and I think this is the best opportunity I would have, so I feel like it all worked out for the best, honestly.”

Waiting his turn: The 5-foot, 11-inch, 180-pound wide receiver was third in the York-Adams League in receiving yards last season with 690 was a Y-A D-II first team all-star. Despite the solid production, Corwell had to watch as other local players gained attention from colleges. 

Waiting for the moment when colleges would realize he had the talent to play at the next level wasn’t easy, but Corwell’s faith helped him focus on his own situation and not become envious of the other players in the area.

“I knew my time would come eventually,” Corwell said. “Here and there I’m not going to lie, it was a little frustrating seeing all these offers here, offers there, but at the end of the day I was happy for them and I was just focused on myself and my goal.”

More to prove: Now at Robert Morris, Corwell has new goals. They include earning playing time, getting bigger, faster, stronger and being a reason why the Colonials win a championship.

Although his love for the game is likely enough to get him into the gym and on the practice field each day, Corwell holds onto the pain of the unanswered messages and delayed responses as motivation to show other coaches that they could have had a great player.

“Just proving to people that, hey I did make it at the (NCAA) Division I level and you missed out on this talent,” Corwell said. “Not being able to get the offers I wanted to fuels me and pushes me even more.” 

Corwell plans to major in early childhood education with designs on a career as a teacher and high school football coach after his playing days are over. Corwell joins Eastern York graduate and fellow wide receiver Demonte Martin at Robert Morris. 

Robert Morris went 7-5 in 2019 and competes in the Northeast Conference.

Blessing in disguise: With his college decision made, Corwell can look back and enjoy the recruiting process, even though it didn't proceed the way he envisioned it. He said discovering the ability to overcome challenges was a core in the Golden Knights’ program, and now that he is on the other side, he appreciates the lessons he learned along the way.

“It just made me feel like I was extremely blessed to be in the position I was put in,” Corwell said. “That adversity of just not getting the phone calls I thought I would receive or not getting the text messages I wanted from certain coaches; just fighting that adversity and just keep pushing myself forward to ultimately reach the goal I wanted to meet. It just made me sit back and think how blessed I was.” 

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.

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