The long recruiting process is about to come to an end for highly-touted Brookville defensive tackle Korren Kirven. The 6-foot-4, 272-pound Kirven will announce his college decision Wednesday at 8 a.m.
Kirven, the No. 7 recruit in Virginia according to Rivals, recently narrowed his list of choices down to Virginia Tech, Alabama, Tennessee and Maryland. He made his official visit to Tech over the weekend.
I spoke to him today about the visit, about the recruiting process and where he might be leaning.
Did you see anything on your visit to Tech that made you feel any better or worse about the Hokies?
Everything was straightforward and to the point. They’ve been recruiting me for a couple of years now. I’m not going to say some of the stuff gets old, but they’ve expressed their need for me and stuff. They’ve just been telling me what they’ve been telling me. A couple of things that stood out a little bit were – they were talking about the depth chart. I was coming in and thinking that they had a lot of people because I know they recruited a lot of defensive tackles, and they’ve got a lot of them already committed and they played a couple of freshmen at defensive tackle this past year, so I was a little skeptical about that. But they said they had to move them out there from end position and stuff and had to throw some people out there. I’m not scared of competition or anything like that, but that’s definitely a factor in my decision. A couple of those guys they recruited, I know I can beat out easily.
Has Tech talked to you about playing end?
No just tackle.
Have any of these schools mentioned playing end to you?
Definitely. Tennessee a little bit of end and a little bit of tackle, but mostly Alabama I would be a defensive end.
What are the Tech coaches telling you?
They’re not making any promises. If a school makes promises to me, I know it’s not true. I try to look through that B.S. and try to see what’s real. Tech, they hit you with the little things, like proximity to home and stuff, being close to home and being able to have your parents come see you, and how big it could be for the state and how big it could be for you being at an in-state school, staying in-state, being one of those type of guys. He said if you stay in state you’d basically be a celebrity for making that decision. Just those types of things, the whole in-state thing, how big of an impact I could make there. I would say they’re title contenders, but these next couple of years with Logan and stuff, they’re definitely going to have a chance to do something. They’ve just got to win out. They’re saying I can help out with that a lot. They’re basically saying I’m a need. Coach [Bryan] Stinespring said that at some of the other places I’m a big recruit to get, but to them I’m a critical recruit to get, so that was a big thing to say.
Have you talked to Logan Thomas and Zack McCray about being in the program?
Yeah, Zack was actually my host. Logan was down here [in Lynchburg] this past weekend, but I talked to him a little bit. Zack was my host. Having players up there is good and everything. It’s good to have players up there that know what they’re talking about, and you know they’re able to keep it real with you and tell you the truth, tell you how it is and stuff like that.
How much does your family play into this decision?
They’re just letting me make the decision. They just feel whatever place I feel most comfortable and makes me happy, they’ll be happy for me.
Do they want you to stay close to home?
My dad just cares about where I can get my best opportunity and stuff. My mom is kind of big on proximity, but that’s every mom.
You want to study architecture or graphic design. Do all these schools provide those majors?
Yes sir, every program pretty much has architecture or graphic design. Virginia Tech is like a top five institution for architecture and stuff, so that’s definitely a good thing. Tennessee, their degrees always carry over a lot. Maryland, you know they always have connections in that Maryland, D.C., Baltimore area. It’s one of the biggest schools media wise, college towns anyway. Alabama does too. They don’t actually have architecture as a major. They have it as a minor and graphic design as a major. They have a lot of Alabama alumni all over the country, so that’s definitely a good thing.
When you do a pros and cons list, what’s the biggest pro for each of these schools?
The coaching staff for all four of them are pretty solid. I like all the coaches of each program. Sometimes you wish you could just like pick and choose the coaches and put them all in one thing, but you can’t do that. Whatever decision you make, you’re going to be hurting someone’s feelings, and stuff like that, but at the end of the day it’s going to have to come down to you, and you’re the one that’s going to be there for four years.
Have you already made a decision? Do you know in your heart what you’re going to do?
I wouldn’t say I know in my heart yet, but I’m kind of 50-50.
What’s your process going to be these next couple of days as far as the decision goes?
I’ve done a pros and cons sheet already. Me and coach [Jeff] Woody hammered things out a little bit, so I have an idea, but I’m just trying to make sure that that’s right and stuff like that.
Is it going to be hard to make this decision?
It’s not hard. This whole process, it’s just been long. When you first start to do all this, when you first start getting the offers and stuff, everything is fun. You’re just enjoying the process and everything’s great. As it prolongs, you just kind of get tired of it. You get writers calling you constantly. The attention from the coaches and stuff like that, and through making the process longer, you kind of weed out schools anyway, like who commits to them and what coaches leave and what coaches come and stuff like that, so you can kind of see by waiting until signing day. I wouldn’t say I’m tired of it, but I’m kind of glad that it’s going to be over with on Wednesday.
Is it hard to say no to Nick Saban?
Virginia Tech was the first school to offer a scholarship. Tennessee was probably my third, and Alabama was probably fourth or something like that. It’s a big thing for schools like that to offer you first off anyway. You start to learn a little bit about the program and stuff like that. All of the schools that I’ve mentioned are great schools academically and in football. Alabama is a great school. A lot of kids feel pressured and stuff like that, but I’m not feeling pressured at all.
What did you like about your visit to Alabama a couple of weeks ago? And what do they offer that’s most intriguing?
Bama, I feel like, I feel like they’re altogether a solid school. They have everything together. It doesn’t have many negatives to the school. They have some little stuff, but nothing major. And the way they can develop their players and stuff and get them ready for the next level, it’s great to see that.
How about Tennessee?
Their development of players, you know they’re known for great defensive linemen. Also, the coaching staff. The coaching staff is a real good coaching staff and stuff. I just feel comfortable down there.
You have a real close relationship with Sal Sunseri at Tennessee, right?
He was definitely one of my favorite recruiting coaches.
What did you see at Maryland?
That was my first visit to Maryland when I took my official up there. It was a real good visit, a great visit actually. A lot of the coaches, they’re just cool, down to earth people. Coach [Andre] Powell, he’s my recruiting coordinator. He knows what he’s talking about. I didn’t know the NFL productability there is real high. They’re ranked in the top 10, and I didn’t even know that. Developing players isn’t a problem for them. Every school has their pros and cons. I’ve only been up there once, so just seeing it, that was my first time. When I went up there, the students weren’t back yet, so I didn’t get to see a lot of the social life and see a lot of that type of thing. It’s a great school. You’ve got the D.C., Maryland, Virginia area, that’s a big thing with the media and getting exposed to a lot, internships and the job opportunities up there are real good. You’ve always got to keep that in mind. You can’t just be looking at it from a four-to-five year standpoint. In the NFL, the average career is two to three years, so you’ve got to look at it down the line too.
And what about Virginia Tech?
Virginia Tech, man, I love that school. Virginia Tech has been with me since the beginning. All the coaches are loyal and great coaches. Coach Stinespring and coach Wiles and coach Beamer. All the coaches are great coaches and they keep it real with you. I’ve been up there numerous times. I feel comfortable up there. They have a lot to offer. They’re always putting players in the pros and stuff. I haven’t seen many defensive linemen in the pros from Tech, but if I go there, I think that’ll definitely change.Tech is an all-around great school. They’re top five in what I want to major in. Also, the football program is top 15 every year. I wouldn’t say they run the ACC, but they basically do.
When are you going to be able to put weight on your broken right leg?
It’s not going to affect you for the fall?
How did you hurt it?
It happened running the ball at Cave Spring [in the state semifinals]. I was actually a fullback. Third and four, coach Woody called the play Detroit. That’s basically a fullback dive. I got the ball, went through the line and got the first down. It was about a 10-yard run. People just started piling on my back. I don’t know if somebody came and hit my leg or what happened, or if was just all the people on my back, but it basically happened. It wasn’t anything major. I didn’t tear any ligaments or anything. It was just a broken fibula and dislocated ankle. I had surgery and stuff and they put the little plate and screws in there and everything straightened out. All the doctors and all the trainers and stuff are saying how good it’s looking and I’m ahead of the curve and stuff like that, so it’s recovering pretty quick.
How would you classify this whole recruiting process?
Most definitely it’s been fun. It gets kind of hectic at times, but you’ve got to look past all that, because this only happens once in a lifetime. You’ve just got to have fun with the whole thing and everything will balance itself out.
What did you do on the visit to Virginia Tech?
You always meet with the coaches and tour the campus and stuff and see the academic stuff. You go out to eat to different places. That was a good thing.
Where did you go?
It’s called the Cookout. That place is so good. That place was the bomb.
What flavor milkshake did you get at Cookout?
When I was up there I got three milkshakes man. I got strawberry cheesecake with Oreo in it. I got the Oreo with peaches in it. I got the pineapple. I might have gotten one more, for real. And I tried the blueberry cheesecake.