Perhaps one of the more misunderstood recruiting stories of the 2007 recruiting class is that of Sidell Corley Jr. He committed early to the Florida Gators but wanted to take a couple of official visits. Even though he said he would keep his eyes open when he visited other schools, he has never wavered on his commitment to the Gators.
Corley, his father Sidell Sr. and best friend Michael McNeil recently visited Gainesville and The Swamp for the Gators big game against LSU. The atmosphere was electric that day and the elder Corley had a great time.
“It was a good trip,” Coach Corley said. “We got a chance to talk to Coach Meyer and Coach Strong. Coach Meyer said (Sidell) looked like a million bucks. He was all Gatored down (dressed in orange and blue) for the game and that made it back to Alabama real quick.
“It took us a while to get to the stadium but we got in right after the Gator Walk. We did get a chance to be on the field a little bit. It was great to be back and the loudest game I had ever been to. We saw Jay Howard and the Lakeland kids at the game. They are getting bigger, they are huge.”
According to the junior Corley the atmosphere two weeks ago was a step up from another trip he made to Gainesville for a big game.
“It was the loudest game I ever heard in my life,” he said. “The guys had a lot of energy. The defense gave the offense the energy to score. I thought it was louder than the FSU game last year. I left the game with a headache.”
His time in Gainesville certainly made him feel wanted and needed. He saw where he fits well on the field of play.
“They told me they want to get me in there and get me working and get used to the plays,” he said. “They have more speed defensive ends than big ends. They call that the Fox and I would be more of the rush defensive end. That is what I am strong at although I can rush the passer well too. The coaches aren’t guaranteeing a lot of playing time, but if I play to my potential I will see the field. I really feel they are honest in saying that.”
This past Saturday was a rough day for the Gators as they ventured to the Plains of Auburn and came away with a disappointing loss. A close game till the last play, left a bitter taste in the mouth of Gator fans, including one 6-3, 250 pound fan in Mobile that was watching the game with friends at a local wing place.
“I did go to the wing place wearing my Gator stuff,” he said. “I am a Gator fan. I just thought that Florida didn’t play up to their potential. They are a lot better team than Auburn. They have a lot better athletes. We just had too many turnovers.
“It put me in a bad mood. I left the place from my friends and I had to go see my girlfriend. She was the only one that could make me smile after that and she is an Auburn fans (he laughed as in ‘it figures’).”
My conversation with Coach Corley happened on Sunday and I talked to Sidell Jr. on Monday. On Sunday Coach Corley told me about their travel plans to visit.
“We are supposed to come back for the South Carolina game for an unofficial visit,” Coach Corley said. “We are taking the official visit in January. We visited Alabama, now we are going to watch Auburn for the Auburn/ Georgia game.”
After the interview, I realized the Florida/South Carolina game and the Auburn/Georgia game were on the same weekend, So, I asked the younger Corley about that.
“Well I guess I will probably be in Florida then,” he said.
He views his commitment like anyone else would who is visiting other places. He knows what he likes. He made a pledge there because he likes it. He is just checking out another good option to see if he has made the right decision.
“I am committed,” he said. “I am just making sure.”
Corley’s McGill-Toolen team is 6-1 and plays for the region championship in two weeks. They have three games left in the regular season. If they win this week they will be guaranteed a first round home game in the playoffs.
Corley was nominated for the US Army All-American game but he hasn’t heard whether he is in it yet. He has already been selected for the Alabama-Mississippi game and he was selected for the Max Emfinger game. He is also in an All-Star game in Ft. Walton Beach.
Sidell Corley committed early to be a Florida Gator and through all the process this year and all the difficult recruiting, he has remained true to his word. He loves Florida and especially the atmosphere in the Swamp. He has what it takes to make a difference on a national caliber team like the Florida Gators and he relishes a chance to make that difference in front of 90,000 people.
“I am a hard worker that just loves to see the fans go crazy,” he said.