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May 11, 2016

Trent Corney: Charisma and athleticism

Virginia's Trent Corney reaches the line during a shuttle run during NFL football pro day, Tuesday, March 15, 2016, at the university in Charlottesville, Va. (Andrew Shurtleff/The Daily Progress via AP)

May 11, 2016

First, the formalities – Trent Corney is absolutely jacked to be a Winnipeg Blue Bomber and thrilled the club made him their first pick in the 2016 Canadian Football League Draft.

“It’s a really amazing feeling,” said Corney, from his home base in Brockville, Ont. “The fact they wanted to select me with their first pick really makes me feel good. It makes me feel wanted.

“That’s one of the greatest feelings anyone could have.”

And now, as part of an introduction to Bomber fans, we suggest a peek at his Instagram account, where you can see Corney leaping into the back of a jeep, dunking off one foot, and jumping out of a pool backwards onto the deck.

All of it might just be the perfect representation of the young man: eye-popping stuff that showcases his athleticism and the free-spirit that seems to be at the very core of Corney’s being.

Put it this way, if the guy can get it done on the field this year, he could quickly become one of the most popular dudes to pull on royal blue and gold.

“I would describe myself as a straight meathead,” Corney said. “I just love to lift weights and challenge myself. I can do backflips, I can do front flips… I can do a lot of athletic things a lot of people can’t do. I’m just really competitive with myself.

“Everything I do correlates to my weight room stuff and that mentality. It’s about being a defensive end, which is all about being explosive off the ball, and then there is the technique. I feel like I’m a very explosive athlete and I’m going to show people that.

“People really liked the videos I posted and I enjoy doing them, so… I’m probably going to keep doing it.”

Trent Corney javelinWhat the Bombers hope is Corney’s athleticism can translate onto the CFL field. A track star in high school – he set a national juvenile record in the javelin and anchored the 4×100 relay team – Corney started 11 of 12 games at Virginia last year and then dropped jaws at a National Football League regional combine in February where he ran a 4.69 40, recorded a 38-inch vertical and 10-feet, two-inch broad jump. Later, at the Virigina pro day, he pumped out 34 reps in the bench press (at 225 pounds) and that total would have ranked him first among defensive lineman at the NFL Combine.

That shouldn’t really be all that surprising, given what we’re already finding out about Corney.

“During the draft I was watching it on TV and lifting,” Corney explained. “I was just so excited I had to do something so I was lifting and doing some squats in my basement with my buddies just waiting for the call. Like I said… meathead.

“I plan on getting a lot stronger and getting a lot of sacks. A lot of sacks.”

Corney was flown into Regina last week as part of a handful of draft candidates the Saskatchewan Roughriders were considering for their first-overall pick (they selected Oklahoma offensive lineman Josiah St. John) and was also in a mini-camp with the New York Jets.

“I was in Saskatchewan for a few days. I guess they were thinking of taking me first overall,” said Corney. “But I’m in Winnipeg now and it couldn’t have turned out any better. They got a really good player.

“I’ll use this as motivation. This has helped my self-esteem. It’s already made me more confident to the point where I’m going to work even harder now. Getting taken first by the Bombers motivates me even more to train and train.”

Finally, asked what he knew about the Bombers and Winnipeg, Corney gave a straight-up answer that offered another glimpse into his personality.

“To be honest with you, I haven’t been following the CFL for the last few years because I’ve been so consumed with the college football scene,” said Corney. “I used to be a huge Ottawa Renegades fan and went to training camp to watch all the time with my buddies. But once I went to college, I didn’t have time to watch football. I didn’t watch the NFL, either.

“I just know that the head coach there (Mike O’Shea) is a legend. And I know that Winnipeg is a great place to be.”