The state of Iowa produces some of the top college line prospects in the country. Tono Cornell is working hard to be among the next in line.
The Class of 2024 standout from Independence High is already catching the attention of Power 5 programs. At 6-foot-2, 290 pounds, the sophomore stands out.
“I’ve been fortunate in my life to be able to look up to some great guys that have been in my shoes at some point in their lives, guys like TJ Bollers, Henry Lutovsky, Dodge Sauser, Tyler Linderbaum and Tristan Wirfs,” Cornell tells HN.
“There’s always a lot to be thankful for, but it always starts at the starting point.”
He realizes time is on his side. He’s not rushing the process.
Cornell visited Iowa Football on Tuesday and was expected back on campus Saturday. He attended two Hawkeye games at Kinnick Stadium in the fall.
“Iowa was the first school that I visited. That’s one thing that will always be special to me,” he said. “My favorite thing about the University of Iowa is how organized they are and how they go about their business in their program.”
He could end up on either side of the line of scrimmage in college. That’s part of the reason why he’s communicating with Hawkeye defensive line coaches Kelvin Bell and George Barnett, who coaches the offensive line.
“In conversations that I’ve been able to share with coach Barnett and coach Bell, I understand how recruiting works and the limited opportunities that coaches have to visit recruits; knowing that it makes a huge impact on decisions and realizing what’s important to you and what’s going to be beneficial for you and your future, “Cornell said.
“My strongest relationship is with coach Bell. I enjoy talking with coach. A lot of the time it does not have to be about football. We can be talking about football and then families and then our favorite restaurants. I enjoy all of our conversations and building relationships with coach. “
Cornell sees himself as a fit at Iowa.
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“I believe in doing the right thing, being flexible and open to any way the team can win. The ultimate goal is impacting my teammates ‘lives, the coaches’ lives and lives in the community,” he said.
“I have always been a team-first kind of guy. At the end of the day, if I’m filling up cups of water for people at practice, it doesn’t matter. My goal is to win.”
Cornell is looking forward to his next Iowa visit. There’s more he wants to find out about the school and program.
“I would like to learn more about the rest of the coaching staff. Sit down with them to learn about their story and how Iowa Football has impacted their lives and from their perspective what makes Hawkeye football special,” he said.
When it comes to academics, he has a few areas of study in mind.
“I’ve been talking a lot about this topic with my dad. He says that I have the personality and communication skills to be a pastor. I grew up going to church and always had a big heart for the Lord, so I ‘ ve thought about something along the lines of ministry, “he said.
“I also enjoy working out and learning about the human body, instructing and helping others learn. So I’ve thought about having a small business and opening up a gym or possibly becoming a teacher or coach of some sort.
“But for now, I’m just enjoying all of the opportunities that I’ve been given; going to keep working hard and trust that the Lord will open doors and close doors.”
Cornell has visited Iowa State three times and also caught a game at Nebraska in the fall. Minnesota also has shown him interest.
He recorded 17.5 tackles (6.0 solo) as a sophomore. He was credited with 4.0 tackles for loss and a half sack. He wrestled this winter and returned to the track team this spring.
Here’s a look at Cornell’s sophomore football highlights – LINK.