Donnie Corley has had one heck of a month.
After lifting Detroit’s Martin Luther King high to a Michigan Division II state title by catching a game-clinching Hail Mary, he was feted as the state’s player of the year by multiple outlets. Soon thereafter, he was swept up by U.S. Army All-American Bowl officials and whisked off to New York as one of six finalists for the 2015 U.S. Army Player of the Year award.
For Corley, the media attention that has followed the biggest catch of his career (to date) will only pick up from here.
“Life changed a little bit,” Corley told USA TODAY High School Sports during a break in his New York tour on Tuesday. “I’ve been on NFL Network, ESPN. Coaches call even more now. It’s changed my life in a very positive, good way.
“I was going to commit today, but since we’re in New York, I can’t. I want to do it at the school. I haven’t rescheduled it yet. I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5, and I’m supposed to be going to either Ohio State or Notre Dame this weekend. I’m still talking that over with my parents. I’ll visit the other one next weekend.”
Part of that additional media attention includes a higher level of scrutiny every time he is in the public eye. That includes everything to do with recruiting, including his daily choice of attire. When Corley showed up for a Michigan Player of the Year award ceremony at King High wearing an Ohio State sweatshirt, some jumped to the conclusion that the Buckeyes must be leaders to land the wideout.
Not so, says the senior.
“That was all just a coincidence,” he said. “When I woke up that day I forgot that I was going to be up for the award until I got to school. It was just a hoody that I threw on, not a giveaway.”
As for true tip-offs about his future, Corley did confirm the aforementioned itinerary for the coming two weeks, with trips to Ohio State and Notre Dame in the offing. He also told USA TODAY High School Sports that he and four-star teammate Lavert Hill, a cornerback, will announce their college decision on the same day. According to Corley, they might even be pledging to the same school.
“We will be committing on the same day, me and Lavert Hill,” he said. “It’s a possibility that we could be committing to the same school. That’s all I’ll say.”
That’s news that will excite fans of all five of Corley’s finalist schools: Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State and Tennessee. For what it’s worth, Hill’s list of likely schools includes Michigan, Michigan State and Tennessee, along with Penn State and Wisconsin (though he does also hold a scholarship offer from Ohio State as well).
For now, Corley just wants to keep enjoying and appreciating the good times as they come, all while taking recruiting in stride. He will finish his high school football career at the Army Bowl on Jan. 9 in San Antonio.
“This has been a very nice experience,” he said. “We’ve seen a lot of stuff and had a lot of fun. I love it. I’ve never been to New York before, so seeing so many different things and sightseeing, that’s been fun.
“Being able to experience San Antonio with the other players and see what they’re thinking about all the different schools, that will be good. And also sightseeing, I’ve never been to Texas before, either.”