March 15, 2004

Who Are They? Corey Spells

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The road to success is never easy, but the path that some must take is more difficult than others'. It hasn't been easy for Corey Spells, but the signing of a college scholarship in February has helped ease the pain and has given him an opportunity that others only dream of. Here is your chance to see his play on the field in highlight video clips, and you can actually hear the sincerity in his voice while listening to this exclusive one-on-one audio with BulldogBlitz.com. This is a free feature, so every Bulldog fan can hear what he has to say!







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Who is your biggest role model outside of sports? (Remember#21)

That is difficult, because there are so many people that have played a direct role in my life and I look up to all of them. It's the small people in life. The ones that take the time out to help me. I would have to say my school teachers; my teachers, my principal, and my coaches: The ones that have been there twenty-four hours with me. Those are the ones I look up to and admire.

What do you envision your role with the team being? (Remember#21)

I don't know. I can't really say, because I am not down there yet. Anywhere I can fit in. Wherever I can help, I am willing. I just want to bring my determination and my winning spirit.

Who do you model your game after? (Remember#21)

No, I really don't know. I just play. If they throw it, I have to catch it. If they are running, I have to hit them. I just play the game. I don't really get caught up on trying to play like someone else, but if I could be someone it would have to be (Miami Jr. safety that is leaving early for the NFL) Sean Taylor. He is a monster. I mean he is almost flawless. If I could, I would like to be as flawless as he is.

Do you think it will be a big transition coming from Atlanta to rural Mississippi? (Remember#21)

Yes, and I would be a liar if I said no. Of course it is. I am in Atlanta and coming down to Starkville, it is different, but I think it is a difference I can get used to.

What college did you follow growing up? (Remember#21)

Florida State. I was always Florida State and Notre Dame. I knew it. There was nothing in the world that could tell me I wasn't going to Florida State or Notre Dame. I knew it, just knew it, then I actually had a chance to, but ended up coming to Mississippi State. That is weird. I was recruited by both of them as a matter of fact.

Do you prefer zone or man-to-man coverage? (Remember#21)

I have never played zone yet, so I don't know if I like it or not. Our coach made us play man. We had two corners and one safety; three people in the secondary, and we just played man the whole season. We went zone one play. The coach wanted to try out a new blitz and just backed us up for caution, but I have never played zone before.

You were hurt your junior year and did not play, did you play at 100% your senior year, or is your knee getting stronger? (Bulldog Backer)

My knee? I never hurt my knee. I pulled a hamstring and I was actually going to school off of track, so I was like there is no point in me trying to return too soon for football and reinjure it and be injured for track season, so I just took off football to run track. I just did it to make sure I wasn't trying to rush anything, so it was never a knee injury.

What are your primary strengths? what is your biggest weakness? (Bulldog Backer)

I don't know. They say you are supposed to be your biggest critic, but I can't really tell yet. I have to get around some more professionals. Some professional people that have seen a cornerback develop. I really don't know. I know I am a little bit bigger than a lot of them, and I am a little bit faster than a lot of them, but right now, I would have to say technique is probably my biggest weakness. I don't really think it a huge weakness, but to be able to compete on that level, it has to be a big part of your game, and I don't feel I am technically sound right now.

You were committed to Auburn until the last few weeks. Why did you decide to come to State? (Bulldog Backer)

I hate to say it like this, but it was single-handedly Coach Croom. I mean I was able to sit down and talk to him, and I was able to envision what he had planned for Mississippi State better than I could see what everybody else had planned for their programs. I mean he was a sincere guy. He was straight up and after we talked for awhile he opened up to you more than the other coaches did. You could see that he was sincere with what he said and you could believe ands trust in him, and you knew that he was out for the best of you and for the best of the program. I would rather be with someone who is going to take care of me, than with someone who is more concerned with the politics of the game, and more of the business aspect of college football.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

You never really think about those things, but I probably do. I probably do some things. Okay I do. We have a bus ride from the school to our field. We don't have a field at our school and we have to drive to a stadium, so the whole time we are riding to the stadium, most of the people would be asleep. For some reason I couldn't sleep. I guess my adrenaline would just be pumping too much. For me to calm down so I wouldn't be getting too tired before the game, I just talk to people. I mean I talk to my mother. I talk to my uncle who is deceased. I just talk to people to keep me focused. My uncle said that if I ever made it to a championship game then he would come see me, and he died a couple of years ago, then we made it to the state championship game in middle school. So I just play every game for him, and play it for my mother who wants me succeed and I just talk to them on the way there.

Where do you want to be five, ten, and 20 years from now? (Bulldog Backer)

Five: NFL, Ten: NFL, and twenty retired somewhere chilling on the beach with you, Rob. That's the way I see it, and somewhere helping somebody. I owe so many people in my life, but if it doesn't work out that way, who's to say. I know I want to work somewhere with kids. I love being around a lot of kids. Maybe an entrepreneur or getting involved with some investments, so maybe a broker. Who knows what life has to offer you, so I can't really say.

What other schools offered you? (MSUNeedsALaw Sch)

Mississippi State, Auburn, Wake Forest, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida State, Maryland, a bunch of small schools, Fort Valley, Sam U, North Carolina A$T, Georgia Tech, there were a lot of people coming on late too. I started getting a lot of offers the week before signing day and started getting a lot of calls. There were a few, it kind of slips me: Northwestern, Indiana, and Illinois.

I really wasn't even planning on going to Mississippi State. It was kind of ironic how it happened. Jim Tompkins came to talk to me at school one day and I just looked at him as another recruiter, but I always talked to them to see what the school had to offer. I ended up talking to him and he convinced me to come down on a visit, but the reason, I haven't told nobody this yet, the reason why I actually considered visiting Mississippi State, was because of Jim Tompkins, and I remember a line he had told me. He said, "Man, Corey we have good academics, we got Sylvester Croom coming down and he's a great guy, and Corey, I am just telling you straight up, we've got the prettiest girls in the world."

And I looked at Jim and he had to be like 60 years old. He said, "I am a happily married man, but we've got some of the prettiest girls," and I am looking like he can't have nothing in common, but for somebody to want me that much, and would open up and let me know how much they wanted me to take a visit. But I ended up liking it, all because of Coach Croom's pitch, I guess you could say.

Well, was Coach Tompkins right?

Yeah, he was. At least of the three or four girls I did see. I really didn't get a chance to see much, because I came in on the ninth (of January), and that is when everybody was coming back to school, so I was in that mix, that rush, that flurry, of people coming back to school, and didn't get a chance to see too much of the regular life.

What is the one thing you would like for people to associate with when they hear your name? (Gridiron Dawg)

I would have to say the best looking guy on the east side of the Mississippi River. What do you think? You know I 'm just messing with you. I don't know. I will have to let them determine that themselves. Just give me a chance to make a name first, before they start associating anything.

Who's the best player you have played with or against through high school? (Gridiron Dawg)

It was a lot. Most of them ironically were my teammates. We have a few that all went to middle school together. We had like a powerhouse and we all went undefeated, but when it came time for high school we all split up, but out of that football team, every one of us except one has signed a D-I scholarship. So pretty much all of those guys. Woot and Red, you all know them as Demarcus Johnson and De'Mon Glanton. Actually Woot was our quarterback in middle school. He never played running back. He played quarterback and I was the receiver. Me and Corey Thompson, who signed with Duke, from Douglas High School. We were the receivers and Demarcus was the quarterback.

Do you hunt or fish? What is your favorite? (mstatefanatic)

Yeah, I hunt every day. I hunt for money trying to do odd jobs. I hunt for grades trying to do this hard work in school and try to stay focused. I hunt for scholarships to play football. I go hunting every day. Fishing, I did when I was back in Florida, but the last couple of years, I really haven't had time to do much of anything. It has been difficult but things are starting to get a lot better. Hopefully I will have time to hunt and fish down in Mississippi. Maybe somebody will take me.

Do you have a nickname?

Man, I have been called everything. Everything in the book. You name it. Anything to downplay me, I mean they call me Pocahontas because I am light skinned with long hair. Oh my God, they slaughter me. Anything that is going to embarrass me. Oh, man, they will do it to me.

What is your favorite food?

I am greedy. I like everything, I mean ice cream and I am a pasta type guy. I like Italian food. I like marinara sauce and baked chicken and noodles. You're getting me hungry now. You can't go wrong with steak. You can never go wrong with steak.

Your life wasn't the easiest growing up. Talk a little about that.

Well, I have only been telling this story lately, because a lot of people have been asking, but I really don't look at it as a big deal, because I am pretty sure everybody has their problems. Who am I to complain or to make my road seem harder than anyone else's. My mother had me when she was in prison. She was incarcerated. After that I grew up in Orlando, and I went from family to family, and I don't want to get into any details, because you said you were taping it and I don't want to get too graphic or anything.

I mean some terrible things went down and I made some decisions I shouldn't have made and so did my family, but I did wrong only as a product of my environment. I did what I saw, and what I saw wasn't good, but after a while things, I guess, got a little better, but I was always smart for some reason. I don't know. I always knew the difference between right and wrong, it was just sometimes I was put into a position where I couldn't do right. But I always new the difference and when I was able to leave and come to Atlanta by myself, I just tried to make that difference change for me and I have just been doing well. It's no better, but I am in a comfortable position and when you feel comfortable and you feel at home you can do well, so I am just trying to get comfortable and do well.

My father, I just found out this story in November. He passed away before my birth. He was in a car accident and he died before my birth. I just found out where I was born a couple of weeks ago when I was trying to fill out the Mississippi State application. I was born in Marion County, Florida, wherever that is. I think that is about it without getting too detailed and taking up five hours of your time.

You mentioned earlier to me how being faced with controversy in your life and turning things around paralleled the MSU football team. Talk about that.

I am not used to nothing being handed to me. Going into a situation where I improve is nothing but the norm for me. I mean have had adversity on my own football team for the last four years. I mean we have had five head coaches in four years, so going into an unstable position is nothing for me. I understand what they are going through. I mean going into Mississippi, I actually come in with some experience in dealing with a new head coach, and the adversity that is going on now. I can adapt well and I understand what is going on and I understand what needs to be done and the attitude that needs to be brought forth to succeed and go undefeated and we ended up succeeding and going undefeated in the regular season.

Do you have any encouraging words for the Bulldog fans about the years to come?

No encouraging words. I have nothing to say. All I have is encouraging actions. We are at a point where no words need to be said anymore. It's time to start putting your money on the table and going for it all now. We are in a situation where words are not going to help anymore. They needed words two, three years ago, Now it is just time for action.

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