November 30, 2006 - by
From Walk-On To Team Captain

Nov. 30, 2006

Florida State senior safety Mikhal Kornegay learned the importance of hard work and discipline at a young age.

Growing up in an Army household, Kornegay quickly picked up on the qualities that had made his father successful in the military. When his father retired and his family moved to Madison County, Fla., Kornegay was a boy who had matured beyond his years. With a love for football but a frame that was smaller than most kids his age, Kornegay soon learned Madison wasn’t an ordinary North Florida town.

“All they do there is play football,” Kornegay said. “You can go to Madison right now, and as soon as the kids get out of school you’ll see them in the middle of the road playing football. You might have some kids playing baseball during baseball season, but football is year round. Some little kid always has a football
in his hands.”

Madison County High School football is a powerhouse. Year after year, the Cowboys are among the top teams in the state of Florida.

With faster and stronger squads, rarely do they play close games. Kornegay, along with Seminole teammates Geno Hayes and Charlie Graham are all former Madison County Cowboys now playing at Florida State.

Despite earning playing time as a member of the powerhouse Cowboy program, Kornegay quickly realized he had to work extra hard to make up for his small size. Once he got into high school, he focused on becoming physically strong and well conditioned. He spent much of his time either in the weight room or running sprints on the track.

Kornegay emerged as a dominant force on the Madison County football team his senior year, as he helped lead the Cowboys to a victory in the 2A state championship game. Although Kornegay may have been a top player on the best team in the state, he did not receive many offers from major programs.

At 5-foot-8, many programs overlooked him because they thought he was too small.

“I had some real good numbers, but I had trouble getting exposure,” Kornegay said. “A lot of the media weren’t really surrounding Madison County. After we won the state championship in my senior year, we started to get a lot of attention. I had offers from Colgate, Connecticut, Tennessee Tech, and a couple of
other small schools. I received some late offers from Vanderbilt and West Virginia, but I chose to begin my career at Tennessee Tech.

Jody Allen, Florida States’ defensive ends coach, and former assistant defensive backs coach, knew Kornegay was a special player while scouting him during his high school career. Before Kornegay ever enrolled at Tech, Allen told Kornegay he believed he was good enough to play for Florida State.

Coach Allen always felt Kornegay had what it took to be a good football player.

“He has a great heart and a great enthusiasm for the game,” Allen said. “He’s a competitor and a champion at heart. He has the speed and strength and has one of the best work ethics I have ever seen.”

After transferring from Tennessee Tech to Florida State, Kornegay immediately established himself as one of the hardest, if not the hardest worker on the team. Although he did not earn much playing time in his first two years at Florida State, Kornegay recently earned a scholarship and was named a team captain for
the 2006 season.

“I’ve been working very hard,” Kornegay said. “Not only on the field, but in the weight room and in school. I want to show people that I want to be here and I deserve to be here. I think I have gained a lot of respect from the coaching staff and my teammates. They know that I’m going to give 110 percent at whatever I’m doing.”

By Dustin Ellis
FSU Sports Information
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