EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — College football players like Josiah Miamen have heard all the rumors.
“Some people are saying we many not start until next spring or start until Christmas,” said the former Dunlap High School star. “Our coaches say, just keep your head down and work.
So Miamen, who just finished his first year at the University of Iowa, works out at home. College athletes are away from their teams and campuses since the coronavirus outbreak.
School is done from home, so are workouts. But with some gyms, like East Peoria’s 360 Speed and Performance, re-opening, Miamen and other local players no longer have to work out by themselves.
“We’re all trying to do the same thing because we’re really trying to make up for lost time,” said Peoria’s Coran Taylor, a quarterback at the University of Illinois.
Taylor was starting his workout as Miamen was ending his last week at 360 Speed and Performance. Big Ten athletes walking in and out of the gym’s doors has become quite a sight.
In some cases these football players are working out alongside their high school and college opponents. Yet they kind of feel like they’re on the same team this spring.
Each is trying to stay focused during a sports shutdown.
Nolan Donald/Iowa football (Morton): “Coming back here, we are players from the 309 (area code) playing in the Big 10,” said Morton’s Nolan Donal, who recently finished his first season at Iowa.
Donald played on Iowa’s practice squad this past year and is looking for a bigger role with the Hawkeyes this fall.
“It’s good because they are on the same base as us,” Donald said as he pointed across the room at some former Peoria High School stars. “They’re not going back (to campus) until we go back. It’s good to have that competition when you’re working out. It gives you that extra motivation.”
Taylor added: “As you can see, we’ve got guys from Northwestern, Iowa, guys from my school. We’re all trying to do the same thing. We’re on the same mission, trying to get better.”
Nobody wants to be left behind when college football does resume this year.
“It’s definitely great being with other athletes and having people that will push you,” Miamem said. “It’s an environment you want to be in.”