Duggan Impresses with Strong Stats and Speed

Duggan Impresses with Strong Stats and Speed

Blue Ridge High School junior Corey Duggan looks to remind people of Tennessee's Eric Berry.

Corey Duggan will probably never be the biggest guy on a football field. Even as he approaches his senior season at Blue Ridge High School in South Carolina, it's likely there will be plenty of linemen, wide receivers, quarterbacks and running backs that will be able to out reach the 5'10” junior free safety. His 180 pound frame won't help him stand out either, even if he does manage to put on the 22 pounds he set for himself as a goal this off season. In college the difference could be even more pronounced.

Still, if guys like 5'9” Tyrann Mathieu and 6'0” Eric Berry have taught football fans anything, it's that size may not matter much in the defensive backfield, so long as you have the requisite athleticism to make plays. It seems Duggan has plenty of that.

With a 4.41 40 time, the talented free safety possesses the kind of rare speed that Division I college coaches love to see out of top recruits. It's been enough to earn Duggan substantial interest from Georgia Tech, UCLA, Auburn and Clemson, along with the Terps, who told his coach earlier in the fall that they were very impressed by Corey. Still, his athleticism isn't the only thing that has impressed coaches from the ACC, Pac-12 and SEC. His statistics have been stellar as well.

Corey has been on the Varsity since his freshman year, and this past season put up some great numbers over a 10 game season that saw the team go 8-2 with a loss in the first round of the playoffs. Corey managed to put rack up 121 tackles in those 10 games, while intercepting two passes and forcing 4 fumbles. They're the kind of numbers that not only make him a solid collegiate recruit, but also make him excited for what Blue Ridge can do in his senior season.

“A lot of our young guys got good PT on both sides of the ball this year,” says Duggan about the experience many gained at Blue Ridge this fall. “I'm definitely looking forward to next season.” Until then, Corey will be trying to further impress college scouts at various combines. Right now he's lined up for one combine in Virginia as early as January, and he's attempting to make the high profile Nike Combine in 2012. After missing out on camps and combines in the spring and summer of 2011, he's hungry for the opportunity. “I tore my hamstring last spring,” Corey says of one of the harder injuries in sports to rehabilitate. “It was tough to battle through, but I got back for the season and now I'm looking forward to improving on my game.”

Duggan could do well in the ACC playing for Maryland. The Terps struggled mightily on defense this season and Corey could give them the kind of speed out of the backfield rarely seen in the ACC. He's already thinking like a college defensive back. Two areas he wants to improve in are breaking on passes better while also getting used to identifying receiver routes. It's that kind of mentality that could separate Duggan in his college future.

Eric Berry was one of the most talked about defensive backs in college football when he played at Tennessee. A physical ball hawk, he's definitely the kind of player Duggan wants to emulate. If Duggan can continue to pull it off, his play as an ACC defensive back with SEC speed could go a long way towards helping the Terrapins back to football prominence. For Maryland fans and coaches, there's nothing bigger than that.

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