Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. HomeTeam

HomeTeam 100 spotlight: Kinyatah Morgan’s home, heart remain in Brooksville

When it seemed the defensive back might be uprooted again, Nature Coast coach Cory Johns steps up to offer the junior a place in his family.
Nature Coast's Kinyatah Morgan (ALLIE GOULDING | Times)
Nature Coast's Kinyatah Morgan (ALLIE GOULDING | Times)
Published Jul. 23

BROOKSVILLE — After years of turbulence at home, Kinyatah Morgan had finally found some stability.

Three years ago, the Nature Coast defensive back moved in with his uncle, Rudy Story. No more bouncing from relative to relative.

On the verge of dropping out in middle school. Morgan’s grades improved dramatically. Morgan once had felt he had an obligation to skip school. He wanted to stay home to take care of his grandmother, who had kidney issues.

“Kinyatah has a big heart,” Story said last year.

But Morgan’s heart had problems too. In fifth grade, doctors discovered he had a murmur. It prevented him from playing football, the sport he loved growing up.

Related: RELATED: HomeTeam 100 football countdown: Players 31-40

Eventually, Morgan was cleared to resume playing. At Nature Coast, he started fulfilling his football potential as a defensive playmaker.

Everything was turning around. Morgan had structure, support.

In April, that progress was put in jeopardy.

Story decided he was moving to Hillsborough County to take a job as a teacher, track coach and assistant football coach at annual state title contender Armwood.

“It was just too good of an opportunity to pass up,” Story said.

Morgan did not want to be uprooted again. All of his friends were at Nature Coast.

Trouble was, there were not many options to stay.

Sharks coach Cory Johns knew of Morgan’s dilemma.

“Kinyatah had nothing else, nowhere to go,” Johns said.

Related: RELATED: HomeTeam 100 spotlight: Return to Lakewood reinvigorates Tre’von Riggins

Johns ended up making Morgan part of his family by gaining legal custody.

“It was a good situation for me,” Morgan said. “I already had a pretty good bond with Coach so it was a pretty easy adjustment.”

Morgan has become a big brother to Johns’ 4-year-old daughter and 1-year old son. Last week, Morgan spent just as much time with his new siblings as he did with his teammates during Nature Coast’s team camp at Webber International.

“It’s like he’s always been here,” Johns said of Morgan. “He goes to family functions. He makes it easy.”

After a stellar sophomore season that included 94 tackles and five interceptions, Morgan is starting to get noticed by colleges. He has offers from Navy, Southern Mississippi and Western Kentucky.

And he still is tackling the books (his grade-point average is above 3.0) as ferociously as he does opposing receivers and ball carriers.

The next two years will be spent trying to find the right home in college, a process made easier because he still has a home in Brooksville, thanks to his coach.

Contact Bob Putnam at bputnam@tampabay.com. Follow @BobbyHomeTeam.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Senior football players in Pinellas County took to the gridiron for their final prep game Wednesday night. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Of the past 15 meetings, the South has been on the losing end 13 times.
  2. In this file photo, Lakewood High School defensive lineman Tre'von Riggins (98) takes a moment during a spring football practice last April. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
    Measures to prevent heatstroke deaths were among the key items in a bill that unanimously passed its first committee on Wednesday
  3. A little more than a month into the season, Nature Coast Tech sophomore Kennedy Weissman leads the state in scoring with 41 goals and 92 points, almost double the totals of the next closest player. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The sophomore has a whopping 41 goals so far this season, easily tops of any player in Florida.
  4. Largo's Julia Violante (6), center, gets a hug from teammate Sarai Faulkner (17), right, while joining Asti Luff (23), left, and McKenzie Emery (14) at midfield moments after scoring her second goal of the night (2-0) against St. Petersburg on Monday. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    The University of Florida commit is having a banner season on the pitch, but is missing her biggest fan.
  5. Hezekiah B. Walters, 14, was a member of Men of Vision, a local non-profit for teens. He collapsed while participating in football conditioning drills at Middleton High School during the summer. [MEN OF VISION  |  Special to the Times]
    The death of Middleton High’s Hezekiah B. Walters during summer conditioning helps spark a bill that seeks better protection for players at practices and games.
  6. East Lake and rival St. Petersburg squared off Tuesday night, this time as non-district foes. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The Eagles’ 67-30 victory over the Green Devils is their fourth straight in the series since late last season.
  7. Springstead guard Unique Torain makes a nifty assist during a victory at Nature Coast on Tuesday night. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The Eagles are led by Unique Torain’s 18 points and unselfish play.
  8. Clearwater wide receiver Keedrik Murray (5) catches the ball for a touchdown during the first quarter at Gaither High on Nov. 15. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The 25th edition of the game will be held at Clearwater High.
  9. Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott talks with receivers Mike Williams (7) and Artavis Scott (3) during a 2016 game at FSU. Scott was named USF's coach Monday. [DAVID GROOMS/CAL SPORT MEDIA  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    Though not the bay area’s primary recruiter for Clemson, Scott’s fingerprints are all over the region.
  10. Tampa Catholic's Alijah Harrison attempts to block the ball from Andrew Jackson's Logan West during last year's state semifinals in Lakeland. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
    Tampa Catholic holds on to the top spot after an impressive opening week.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement