ACC All Access: Corey Fuller is finding his niche among his football-playing brothers at Virginia Tech

As one of four brothers that have played or will play football at Virginia Tech, sibling rivalry is a natural part of Corey Fuller's life, but he'll argue with anybody who contends he's not the fastest of the foursome.

He's even put his words to the ultimate, most fundamental tests of all – foot races.


When Corey was home in Baltimore recently with his brothers Vincent, Kyle and Kendall, they all decided to find out once and for all who was the fastest.

With their mother, Nina, judging with the help of a video camera, Kyle, a starting cornerback at Tech, came out on top with Corey, Vincent and Kendall finishing in order behind Kyle. The result didn't satisfy Corey.


"(Kyle) beat me by like a hair, but I still think I won it," Corey said. "We had the video. I think I won it."

The next time the brothers got together, it was rematch time at Woodlawn High, which was the high school in Baltimore where Corey and Vincent went to school. A football game was going on at the school when they decided to race again, but it didn't matter to the brothers Fuller. It was on.

Vincent sat it out, but with at least two stopwatches and a video camera documenting the event, Corey got the best of his brother Kyle in the second race.

Not bad for the most unheralded brother in the family. Of course, Corey could quickly make a name for himself in Blacksburg if he has more games like the one he had Monday night in Virginia Tech's 20-17 overtime win against Georgia Tech.


Corey, who is a senior wide receiver at Virginia Tech, had just two catches all last season in his first year of eligibility at Tech after transferring from Kansas. Against Georgia Tech, he finished with five catches for 82 yards, but none were bigger than the two he had on Virginia Tech's final drive in regulation.

With Virginia Tech trailing 17-14, he opened the drive with a 22-yard catch that moved the Hokies to their own 47-yard line with just under 40 seconds left. They only six more yards before they were looking at fourth-and-4 from Georgia Tech's 47 with 13 seconds remaining.

Corey entered the game as a second team receiver. He was only getting so much playing time late because D.J. Coles had suffered a right knee injury in the first quarter that would wind up being season-ending. Corey would make the most of his extended time on the fourth down play.

Corey lined up slot right with safety Jamal Golden playing off him at the snap. Corey ran a short 5-yard slant before Thomas hit him with a pass. Corey did the rest, taking it for a 23-yard gain to Georgia Tech's 24 with six seconds left and setting up Cody Journell's game-tying 41-yard field goal.

"Honestly, I didn't know who the ball was going to," said Corey regarding the play call leading to his 23-yard catch. "It was fourth down. I was a little surprised we were going to run a slant. It was a good first down route. I didn't think I was going to get that far down the field. The linebacker came up, I ran my route and (Thomas) threw it to me perfectly.

"We had to get the first down. I didn't know how far Cody could kick. I knew he had a great leg. I told him he was going to win the game for us. I saw a hole and I just tried to burst through it as hard and as fast as I could to squeeze out of it, and I guess I got enough out of it."

It was the football highlight to this point for a guy who has taken a backseat to his brothers on the football field.



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Vincent played at Virginia Tech from 2001-04, collecting eight interceptions in his college career before getting selected in the fourth round of the National Football League draft by the Tennessee Titans and sticking in the league for seven seasons.

Kyle has developed into an All-ACC cornerback at Tech, where he's currently a junior. He led the team with 14 1/2 tackles for loss last season, and intercepted a pass in overtime Monday against Georgia Tech.

Kendall, who is a senior at Our Lady of Good Counsel High in Olney, Md., is a Virginia Tech commitment considered by most recruiting analysts to be one of the nation's top five cornerback prospects.

"I was loving the attention," said Corey regarding the football successes of his brothers. "I was their biggest fan the whole time. They knew I had (football ability) in me. I knew I had it in me. It was just a matter of time for it to come out, so it didn't bother me at all."

Corey? He's taken the path less traveled to Tech.

At Woodlawn, he played football and basketball and ran track. Early in his high school days, basketball was his first love.

"Growing up, I considered myself a basketball player," said Fuller, who was a Nike All-American in indoor track as a senior. "That's what I wanted to do. I'm a Duke Blue Devils basketball fan. I always wanted to play for them. Then, when I got to high school, I played basketball, ran track and played football, and my father told me, 'You're not really going to have a chance at basketball, so hang it up.'"

He heeded his father's advice and opted to head to the University of Kansas for track pursuits. In his freshman season, he finished second in the outdoor season in the triple jump at both the Kansas and Drake Relays.

He placed in the top three in the triple jump in six of the eight indoor meets in which he competed in 2009. As a sophomore, he had the team's top triple jump in the outdoor season, and third-best 100-meter time (11.14 seconds).

Despite his track exploits, he longed to get back to playing football, a sport where he excelled playing quarterback at Woodlawn. He tried to play both sports at Kansas, but the track coaches didn't want him to play football because they were afraid he'd get hurt.

His longing to return to football, plus the fact Kansas was 18 hours from Baltimore, led him back to the East Coast.

"Growing up, my mother and my father were at any sporting event any of us ever had," Fuller said. "For them not to come to track meets, and I've got to call them and say, 'I did this. I did that.' I didn't really like it. I wanted them to be there to see it."

He transferred to Tech in 2010 and walked on to the football team. Prior to arriving in Blacksburg, he listened to his brother Kyle about how to prepare for the football phase of his college athletic career.

"I had the speed," Fuller said. "I know I wasn't as strong as I am now. It was just as soon as I said I was trying to return (to the East Coast), my brother called and told me things I needed to work on, and I worked on them in the summer. Then, I came and I was still a little behind, but I think I was OK. (Wide receivers) coach (Kevin) Sherman got me right."

Simply getting to Tech didn't soothe Corey's football-playing jones. He still had to get on the field, something he found challenging last season when he played just 57 offensive snaps in six games.

"When I came here, it was a little frustrating," Corey said. "Last year, I wanted to play more. I'm thinking, 'This is my junior year. I'm not really playing. How is this going to turn out for me?'"


Now, with Coles out, Corey is going to get his chance. He's going to compete with redshirt freshman Demitri Knowles for Tech's No. 3 receiver role.

Corey's speed, which he said was clocked at 4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash during winter conditioning drills (just behind Knowles' 4.26), has started to draw some attention from the right people.

"I had a scout ask me about him the other day," Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "He noticed him out there on the field. Corey was fast, but football-wise, he was not quite the receiver that he is becoming. He's developed into a threat."

Corey is back on the map as a football entity. Living in Blacksburg with Kyle, Corey is pondering his future. Vincent is also back in Blacksburg, working toward a second major, staying in shape and waiting for a call from an NFL team.

After the football season is over, Corey may consider running track in the spring. Of course, he's due to graduate in the winter, so he may have other plans. No matter what he chooses, there's no doubt he's fitting right in.

"I'm not really sure yet," said Corey of whether he'll pursue track at Tech. "I've been talking to my parents a lot about it. I'm due to graduate this fall, so if I graduate and I don't have a job offer lined up or if I don't go train, then I'll stay and work on boosting my GPA and run track. If not, I'll just graduate."


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