Corey Lillard from Liberty High School in Bealeton, Virginia has quickly emerged as one of the top players in Virginia for the class of 2009. After logging 62 tackles and better than 600 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns in 2007, the rising senior now boasts eight scholarship offers, including pledges from NC State, Virginia, Duke, Arkansas, UNC, Boston College, Wake Forest and Rutgers. Lillard recently embarked on a tour of several of those schools that have offered a scholarship.
After hitting Rutgers last week, Lillard made his way to Duke this past Friday and then made a visit to NC State on Saturday. He talked about his first visit to Raleigh.
“NC State was wonderful,” said Lillard. “I mean, I had only been to Virginia and I really wanted to get out and see other schools. I took a trip and NC State, man, it’s wonderful down there. One day it’s 80 degrees and the next day it was raining. But I was on the sideline watching them practice and hitting and it was nice. I was there for some of Friday and Saturday. On Friday I visited Duke then I went to NC State, or actually to the hotel and then went to State on Saturday.”
NC State’s recruiting efforts have been headed up by defensive line coach Keith Willis. He’s formed a solid relationship with Lillard and that, combined with a tour of the Wolfpack campus and football facilities made a great first impression on the Virginia standout.
“They took me on a tour around the facilities and campus,” he said. “I talked with the coaches and stuff and it was really good. I’ve always wanted to go there (on a visit) because coach Willis, he’s a really tight dude. I really do have a good relationship with him and after going down there, I myself knew it was going to be a beautiful school but when I saw it, I was like, ‘wow,’ they really did have the best facilities I’ve seen. It was great.”
While the Wolfpack impressed Lillard, most consider Virginia to be the team to beat for his commitment. He talked about what has jumped out at him in regards to the Cav’s program.
“With Virginia, probably the best relationship I have right now is me and coach Lineburg,” he said. “We talk so much and he writes me all the time. It’s basically a good relationship and their facilities are wonderful down there. The weight room is huge and the practice fields are unbelievable. I mean, I’ve been to more games down there and the atmosphere just blows me away. The fans are amazing.”
Lillard says he isn’t quite done with his visits yet. He’ll likely be at Virginia’s spring game on April 12th and hopes to make a trip out to SEC country in the near future.
“I don’t have a trip planned but me and my coach, coach Buzzo and my parents are going to sit down and we’re going to look into flying out to Arkansas,” he said. “Me and my dad are looking into flying out there because they just offered.”
Lillard has consistently mentioned making an early commitment so he can focus solely on his senior season next fall. That’s still appears to be the case but, as of now, he hasn’t settled on a favorite just yet.
“I don’t really have any top schools right now,” he said. “It’s like, I can go visit a school today and I’m like wow, that school was great. But then I go visit another school and I’m like, wow, I like them even more. So they’re all equal for me right now. It’s an equal playing field.
“I’m still leaning towards making an early decision. That’s why I got out and made these visits.”
At 5-11, 205 pounds, Lillard was named the Cedar Run co-defensive player of the year as a junior. He has yet to be rated by Scout.com.