Sidell Corley is learning the price of fame the hard way these days. Last Friday night, the freakishly fast defensive end from McGill-Toolen in Mobile, Alabama, a Florida commitment since the spring, was having a banner night against Murphy, the kind that earned him defensive player of the week in Mobile. Late in the game, he hurt his leg when his opponents decided to play dirty.
“The guys did a little cheap shot on me,” Corley said. “It’s just a bruise, I’m okay and practiced today (Sunday). I could have gone back in but they wouldn’t let me. We won 30-10 for the first time in 20 years and against our biggest rival Murphy. I earned the Optimist Player of the Week and had nine tackles, two and a half sacks, a pair of knockdowns, and caused an interception. This week if we shut this team out we will have the number one defense in the state.”
McGill-Toolen is playoff bound thanks to that stingy defense which is led by Corley, a 6-4, 255-pounder who has the ability to take over a game. Corley is rated four stars by Scout.com.
What sets Corley apart from other defensive ends is his quickness. Throw in moves he’s perfected in four years of playing the position and you’ve got a quarterback’s nightmare.
“My first step is my best asset,” he says. “I like to have the offensive tackle try and figure out what I am going to do. I like to turn their hips and get back inside on them. The club is my favorite arm move to get my position. My dad has been teaching me this stuff since middle school. I always played defensive end or linebacker.”
On Saturday he watched his future teammates take care of business on the field. The Gators got a scare against Georgia, but Sidell Corley saw the guy at his future spot make the game deciding play. He is excited about how the Gators play on the defensive side of the ball.
“I watched the Gators 21-14 win on Saturday,” he said. “Ray McDonald came through for them. The defense seems like a family there and that is the way we are here. They know how to play and it all starts with the defensive line. It was good to see Ray McDonald get the player of the game, because he plays the same position I do.”
Florida’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Greg Mattison talks to Corley a lot. He’s always offering encouraging words when they talk on the phone. Mattison has let Corley know there is a lot to work with when he ends up in Gainesville.
“Coach Mattison always asks me how ‘my guy’ is doing,” Corley said. “He likes my versatility, how I can move around and play everywhere. He likes how I can drop in coverage as big as I am.”
Corley has some unofficial visits he will take this season.
“I will go to Alabama for the Iron Bowl in November,” he said. “I am planning on an official to Auburn for the Georgia game and for Florida for the South Carolina game.
One problem is the Auburn-Georgia and Florida-South Carolina games are on the same day. Corley didn’t realize that.
“Is it the same day?” he asked. “Man I want to go to both of them.”
He will have a decision to make about that day.
In the mean time I contacted Sidell Corley Sr. to clear something up about official visits. A couple of weeks ago Corley Sr. was quoted saying that Alabama was going to get Corley Junior’s last visit. Here is what he said then.
“We have not set up any official visits yet. We will start officials in December. We are not sure on the dates, but we know Alabama will be the last place we visit.”
Puzzled by that remark, I decided to ask Corley Sr. myself and here is what he told me:
“No, that is wrong. What I said is Alabama wants us to visit in January. We will visit Florida after that, and Florida will get the last visit.”
Mr. Corley went on to tell me that it is tough living in Alabama and committing out of state. He said at the awards banquet tonight at a big money function, Sidell was asked where he was going and the younger Corley belted out “Florida” much to the dismay of the crowd.
Through all the angst and the turmoil surrounding his commitment, Corley has remained true and never wavered on his commitment. Some Gator fans and even board operators of rogue message boards don’t want to trust the Corleys, but they have given very little reason not to with all things considered.