November 24, 2008

Top fullback gets good news

Reuben Corley has never really tried to disguise his desire to play for Ole Miss.

The three-star fullback from Batesville (South Panola), Miss., who committed to Memphis back in June, simply didn't appear to be on the path to meeting NCAA initial-eligibility requirements, so the Rebels' pursuit was lukewarm.

That changed earlier this week when Corley made an 18 on the ACT, meaning the 6-foot, 221-pounder will likely qualify and be eligible to play college football next fall.

"It was real exciting to know I had qualified to play ball," Corley said. "It was real exciting to my mom, too, to hear that I'd qualified."

The news of a qualifying score has re-energized hopes that Corley might get a chance to live out his dream.

"I'm committed to Memphis, but I really want to play ball at Ole Miss," Corley said Monday night. "I've been trying to get in touch with (Ole Miss running backs) Coach (Derrick) Nix and I want to sign with them in February. I'd love to be close to home, too.

"I talked to him and Coach (Houston) Nutt in the summer, but they didn't think I would qualify."

Corley, ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 11 fullback, has helped clear the way for South Panola's stable of rushers to run for more than 3,000 yards so far this season. He's added 16 receptions for more than 300 yards and a touchdown as well.

Corley has offers from Louisville, West Virginia, Southern Miss, Auburn, Mississippi State and others, and several of those schools fit his skill set better than Memphis. However, Corley is doggedly waiting for one particular offer.

"Everybody sees me as a fullback," Corley said. "Memphis wants to play me as a slot receiver. I like Memphis and everything, but with that spread offense, that's not going to work too good.

"I like the way Ole Miss uses (senior fullback Jason) Cook. They let him run the ball, he blocks a lot and he and I have similar features. I like them more every time I see them play."

Corley said if Ole Miss offers, he "would take it in a heartbeat. Everything's going good over there. I'm just starting to like it more and more. Other schools are offering me but I'm not interested. My mom really likes Ole Miss. She told me she'd like to see me over there. It's fun."

There are signs that things could be moving in that direction. Corley said Ole Miss coaches contacted South Panola coach Lance Pogue earlier this week and indicated they said they would be attending one of the Tigers' practices later this week. South Panola, winners of 88 games in a row, travels to Madison Central Friday night for a state semifinal game.

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