February 3, 2011
Top recruit Corey Marshall has his sights set on football - and his future beyond the game

Corey Marshall can envision himself in many pictures in the coming years. Racing by an offensive lineman to sack a quarterback. Making a punishing hit on a ball carrier. Or holding a microphone broadcasting a game.

“I’m not going after your job … at least not yet,” Marshall joked during our recent conversation.

The 6-foot-2, 252-pound defensive end from Dinwiddie, Va., plans to study journalism at Virginia Tech and hopes to get into broadcasting at some point. That’s after his playing career, which will continue this fall in Blacksburg after a standout career at Dinwiddie High.

Marshall, who was rated the fifth-best player in Virginia by The Roanoke Times and one of the top defensive prospects nationally, is an articulate young man who will be popular on the interview circuit once he arrives at Tech. Here’s our conversation:

BR: Why Virginia Tech?

CM: “The atmosphere there was just great. I was able to interact with the other players, and we had a really good time. It really felt like family. You could tell the players there were close and were all happy with their time there. Plus, it’s just a great school academically. But the big thing was the atmosphere there among the players.”

BR: I understand you’ve been a Tech fan for a long time.

CM: “Since I was 7 or 8. There’s always something going on here about Virginia Tech. It’s a big thing in this area.”

BR: When was your first game in Blacksburg?

CM: “The Virginia game. I came up with Chris Hall [Dinwiddie tight end who also signed with Tech]. It was crazy. It was wild. I can only imagine what it’s going to be like running through that tunnel.”

BR: Later, on your official visit, what were the highlights? Who was your host?

CM: “Logan Thomas. We had a great time and really clicked. It goes back to what I said before about the family atmosphere.”

BR: You were recruited by Coach Cav [Jim Cavanaugh], but you got to know the rest of the coaching staff here. What was that like?

CM: “Coach Beamer is just what you’d expect. He’s straightforward. Tells it like it is. And his staff is a mirror image of him. The stability on the staff is tremendous. It trickles down from him.”

Photo courtesy of Rivals.com
BR: That’s very perceptive of you, but it’s true. Where else did you visit?

CM: “I went to Tennessee, West Virginia, Michigan, N.C. State and Virginia.”

BR: People will want to know your thoughts on UVa.

CM: “I went to UVa as a sophomore and met Coach [Al] Groh. It was funny. He threw me in with some seniors, and they kind of threw me around a few times, which was fun. With Coach Groh, I had a good relationship, and we had a good connection. But there was some turmoil there at the end for him. When we went to Georgia Tech, they offered me, too.”

BR: So how many total offers did you have?

CM: “14.”

BR: Is there a player out there, college or pro, who inspires you, or who has a similar game or style as you?

CM: “James Harrison [of the Pittsburgh Steelers] as a pass rusher would be one. John Randle [retired Minnesota Viking] or an Elvis Dumervil [of the Denver Broncos]. They are defensive ends who are disruptive. I’d say I’m like one of those shorter defensive ends who can be disruptive.”

BR: And away from football, what do we need to know about your hobbies and your life off the field?

CM: “I like to fish. In fact, I’m planning on a fishing trip up to New York to see my uncle this spring. I like spending time on a lake, just fishing.

BR: What’s your all-time favorite place to fish?

CM: “Nags Head [N.C.].”

BR: So you want to be a broadcaster, too? I saw you announce your commitment to Virginia Tech on Washington Post Live on CSN. You’re coming for my job?

CM: “No, (laughs), I’m not coming for your job. At least not yet. Maybe I’ll work for you next year.”

BR: You can be the guy interviewing players after they sign with Tech.

CM: “That would be great.”

BR: Who are your favorite announcers?

CM: “Wow, that’s a tough one. I like Rich Eisen [of the NFL Network]. He has a great personality, and he’s good, although he’s a Michigan man. I’d say Rich Eisen, Chris Collinsworth [NBC] and John Madden [former commentator for NBC and ABC].

BR: You know, the hard part of broadcasting games is when it’s lopsided – one way or the other. The Orange Bowl game a few weeks ago was a hard one. Did you watch?

CM: “Oh yeah. That was a tough night. Coach [Bud] Foster will have us in better shape the next time. We’ll be better.”

BR: You’ll be playing for some great coaches in Charley [Wiles] and Bud [Foster], and you were recruited by Coach Cav. Do you realize how many top-flight players Coach Cav has signed over the years?

CM: “He’s a pretty amazing guy. He’s a great recruiter.”

BR: There was some talk about you maybe coming to school early.

CM: “Yes, we looked into that, but my superintendent looked at it, and the way the semesters work here and at Tech, it wasn’t going to work out that way.”

BR: So, you’ll enjoy your final semester in high school and we’ll see you at the spring game?

CM: “For sure. Can’t wait to get started.”

Other recruiting thoughts

• Clearly, defensive linemen were a major focus for this year’s class. Virginia Tech signed six defensive linemen on Wednesday. Marshall joins Kris Harley (6-1, 275, Indianapolis, Ind.), Dewayne Alford (6-3, 225, Suffolk, Va.), Matt Roth (6-3, 225, St. Augustine, Fla.), and two young men from Atlantic Community High School in Delray Beach, Fla. – Luther Maddy (6-1, 280), and Wedley Estime (6-3, 215).

• Of course, recruiting rankings are the ultimate exercise in subjectivity. Nobody knows for a couple of years how good a class will be. Last week, ESPN revised its rankings from 2007. Virginia Tech’s class, which was ranked seventh in the ACC at the time by Rivals, was ranked No. 4 in the nation in revised rankings by ESPN. See the story here: http://es.pn/idsUIg

• We had our staff go back over the past 11 years and research the college choices of the top-five players in Virginia, as ranked by The Roanoke Times. That’s a total of 55 players. Since 2001, Virginia Tech has signed 25 of those top-five players. The University of Virginia is second with 11 such signees.

Tech has signed at least one player ranked in the top five each year, with the exception of 2006. That February, Percy Harvin [Florida], Vidal Hazelton [USC], Jarrell Miller [UNC], Damon McDaniel [Florida], and Evan Royster [Penn State] all left the Commonwealth.

Dear Bill,
I saw on the telecast of the Miami game that Virginia Tech’s RPI is in the 60s. I’m sure that will change, hopefully for the better, in the coming weeks. What has Tech’s RPI been at the end of the past few seasons when we’ve been on the NCAA bubble? Thanks. Ed Little, Charlotte.

Hi Ed,
The NCAA has released its official RPI numbers since 2006. Here’s how the Hokies have finished following the ACC Tournament, based on the official rankings from the NCAA each year.

2010: 58th (NIT)
2009: 50th (NIT)
2008: 63rd (NIT)
2007: 32nd (NCAA)
2006: 148th

Dear Bill,
I read that this is the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma State basketball team plane crash in which several players died. Also, I saw where the UMass team plane had to make an emergency landing last week. I’m curious, with the weather we are having, what kind of plane and airline does Tech use for its charters? I’m curious as to the precautions that are taken to ensure the safety of our players and coaches. I look forward to your response. Mary Anne, Scranton, Pa.

Mary Anne,

For football, Tech flies with Miami Air, which also flies several NFL and NBA teams. You can read about them and see photos of their fleet here: http://www.miamiair.com.

For basketball, it depends on the trip. For most ACC games, we take smaller planes from Ultimate Jet Charter (http://www.ultimatejetcharters.com) or a Delta regional jet. For the trip to California, the charter was a big 737-800.

The safety and comfort of the players is the top priority for all the airlines, of course, and there are no corners cut in choosing the aircraft of airlines for our flights. The beauty of the smaller aircraft is that it allows the team to land at smaller airports like Tamiami south of Miami, Hanscom near Boston, and Dekalb-Peachtree near Atlanta. It’s quicker to get in and out of those smaller airports, which is an added benefit. Of course, the first-class travel is a real perk in recruiting for our coaches as well.

Dear Bill,
I don’t understand why we don’t play Penn State in football. The schools are similar, both have legendary coaches, similar fan bases, and it would be a GREAT trip for both PSU and VT fans. We are playing Ohio State and Wisconsin in the Big Ten. Why not Penn State? JIM WEAVER PLAYED THERE for cryin’ out loud. And we play Penn State in basketball like EVERY YEAR! What gives? Rick, Ashland, Va.


That’s an excellent question. I suggest you forward it to this gentleman: Mr. Joseph V. Paterno, Penn State University, University Park, Pa.

Dear Bill,
Please help settle an argument for me with a UVa co-worker. How many players does Virginia Tech have in the NFL compared to UVa? I look forward to your response. Steve, Richmond.


This number can change, but as of Super Bowl weekend, there are officially 24 Hokies on NFL rosters and 25 UVa Cavaliers on NFL rosters. Those are current numbers of players officially under contract and listed on team rosters. I don’t know if you win your bet or not, but that’s the current total.

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