Player Profile #25 – DT Corey Liuget

It was February 2010 and as Corey Liuget sat in his place in Champagne, Illinois, snow covered the ground and flurries drifted through the air. The sky was dark, the winds were frigid and Liuget decided he had enough.

Almost two full years into his time at the University of Illinois, Liuget decide it was time to transfer. Things had not gone that well on the field, the Illini were bringing in a new defensive coordinator and there’s no way the kid from Miami’s Hialeah neighborhood was every going to get used to an Illinois winter. Liuget did what any unhappy son would do – he called his mother.

But down in Miami, Lorene Liuget wasn’t looking for a new roommate. A widow who lost her husband and Corey’s father about 15 years before, she put her foot down. “My Mom said ‘You’re not welcome back home’,” Corey Liuget told ESPN.com. “I said ‘Well I could live with this person or that person’ and she was like, ‘Don’t even think about living with them. It’s not going to happen. We expect a lot more out of you.’

“I had to think either I stay here and get an education and play football, or go home and be a nobody. I would have to find my own place to live. It was going to be tough for me. So I decided to stay.”

But he’s leaving Illinois now, declaring for the NFL Draft with a year of eligibility remaining. Staying in school could be worth millions of dollars for him, as he’s considered a first-round prospect.

Here’s his story.

FAMILY BUSINESS

Corey Devon Liuget (Le-git)

Born – March 18, 1990 in Miami, Florida.

Family – Mother is Lorene Liuget; Father passed away when Corey was three years old in 1993. That’s why he’s worn No. 93.

BODY OF WORK

  • Height – 6-feet, 2¼ inches.
  • Weight – 298 pounds.
  • Arms – 33¼ inches.
  • Hand – 9½ inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 4.97 seconds.
  • 20-yard dash – 2.86 seconds.
  • 10-yard dash – 1.73 seconds.
  • Bench press – 27 repetitions at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 27½ inches.
  • Broad jump – 8-feet, 6 inches.

HIGH SCHOOL

Liuget was a member of the graduating class of 2008 at Hialeah Senior High School, part of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The school is located in northwest Miami, not far from the Hialeah Race Track.

He played three seasons in the Thoroughbreds’ program for head coach Steve Smith.

He also was part of the wrestling team at Hialeah.

FOOTBALL

2007 – In his senior season, Liuget had 59 tackles and 11 sacks and was named first team 6A All-State. Hialeah finished 3-7 on the season.

2006 – Liuget’s junior year featured 55 tackles and six sacks. The team was 7-2-1.

2005 – As sophomore, Liuget saw a lot of playing time and finished with 59 tackles and 11 sacks, but the Thoroughbred’s went 3-6.

RECRUITING

Liuget was considered a four-star recruit by the scouting services and Illinois, Miami, LSU, Florida State, Ohio State, Rutgers and South Florida all made scholarship offers. He made visits to everybody but Ohio State. He committed to the Illini in October 2007.

COLLEGE

Liuget was working on a degree in Sociology at the University of Illinois-Champagne-Urbana.

He finished his three seasons with the Illini making 125 total tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.

2010 – He finished with 63 tackles, including 12.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Liuget earned second-team All-Big 10 status and really caught a lot of people’s attention with his performance against Baylor in the Texas Bowl, when he had 5 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a sack against the Bears.

2009He had 36 tackles and 2.5 sacks, while playing in 12 games and making four starts. His best performance came against Northwestern with 7 tackles and 1.5 for minus yardage. Not too bad against Michigan with 4 tackles, 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks, while also recovering a fumble.

2008 – Played in 11 games and started 2 at DT in his true freshman season. Liuget had 26 total tackles and 1.5 sacks.

 Year

 

G

 

S

Tot.

Tkl.

 

TFL

 

Sks.

 

QH

 

FF

 

RF

 

PBU

2010

13

13

63

12.5

4.5

10

0

0

3

2009

12

4

36

8

2.5

2

1

1

2

2008

11

2

26

5

1.5

2

2

2

1

Totals

36

19

125

25.5

8.5

14

3

3

6

EVALUTION FOR PRO FOOTBALL

Strengths – Explosive coming off the ball, Liuget hits with strength and power. A very good athlete with quick feet, he can drive the blocker off the line, if he doesn’t shoot the gap and blow up the ball carrier in the backfield. He plays with violence, especially in the hand-to-hand combat of the line of scrimmage; he’s very good at shedding blocks and he forces double teams which he occupies so others can make a play. He’s a high motor guy who plays every play until the whistle, and sometimes beyond.

Weaknesses – He is not an elite athlete, and will not max out on the speed or strength scales. His problems have been few, but one area where he needs to improve is his conditioning. He wears down in the fourth quarter and a tired Liuget is not nearly as dynamic as the guy who plays early in the game. He’s battled his weight over the last three years. Going into the 2010 season, he lost 30 pounds in workouts leading up to the start of fall camp. That almost doubled the number of snaps he played during the season.

Analysis – Liuget’s skills translate to just about any defensive front that’s played in the NFL. Whether as a nose tackle or end in the 3-4, or a tackle in the 4-3, he has shown the qualities necessary to play either defense. A concern is his weight and if he’s not gotten better control of himself and his problem then his time in the NFL will be short. If he maintains the work habits he’s displayed in the last year, he should have a very productive career.

WHAT THE SCOUTS SAY

A scout from an AFC team said – “He’s scary because it’s really been just in the last six months that anybody has seen anything special in this guy. Before last season there was nothing in the books that would have indicated he could play in the league, let alone excel and be a first-round draft pick. I’m not buying in; he needed to stay with (Ron) Zook another season to prove that 2010 wasn’t a fluke.”

A scout from another AFC team said – “One-year wonders really light up my radar screen, and there’s no doubt this guy is a one-year wonder. You don’t want to believe what you’ve heard, but then you watch the tape and see what this guy can do. The problem is whether he’ll do it again, and again and again. Maturity is an issue here.”

WHAT HE SAID

“I think I’ll be effective anywhere up front on the line. I just want to play some football. Definitely the D-line, anywhere on the line is where I’d be best.”

DOES HE FIT WITH THE CHIEFS?

A player with Corey Liuget’s skills and ability would fit perfectly into what the Chiefs are doing defensively. But Liuget’s work habits and weight problems are a concern. Is this guy mature enough to handle being an NFL player making millions of dollars? Is he in the game because he loves the game, or in it because he loves what the game gives to him? Plenty of questions make it unlikely he’s high on the Chiefs first-round list.

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