While Corley has already turned down major league baseball, for the time being, to pursue collegiate life, his time at MSU will be spent earning a degree in Landscape Contracting.
"Away from playing baseball I would love to be doing this one day," said Corley as he watched the MSU grounds crew prepare Dudy Noble Field. "Getting to be outside, working in the sun. I just love being able to work on the field."
Before making the trek from Louisville, Ky. to Starkville, Corley impressed major league scouts with his outstanding high school career. The true five-tool athlete finished his career with a .433 batting average, 35 homeruns, 180 RBI, 22-2 pitching record, .081 ERA and four Kentucky Player of the Year honors.
During the final season of his outstanding prep career, Corley dominated the Kentucky High School ranks at the plate and from the mound. He compiled a 9-1 record and a sparkling 1.17 ERA with 85 strikeouts in his 58 2/3 innings of mound work. At the plate, Corley blasted a career best nine home runs, batted at a .394 clip and drove in 38 runs. Corley also was 9-of-9 in stolen base attempts.
Corley's prep career earned him a draft selection as the Colorado Rockies selected him in the 16th round of last year's draft, but he knew coming to MSU would only help his career.
"After they (Colorado) drafted me, my dad had to keep my head on straight," Corley explained. "It is definitely an honor to get drafted, and they were offering me pretty good money. But, I knew if I came here Coach Polk would make me a better player."
Having a legend like Ron Polk recruiting you is a big plus, but the atmosphere at MSU also helped to bring Corley to Starkville.
"Coming here is a big plus because the weather is so good and this is such a baseball atmosphere where Kentucky is a basketball state," Corley said. "And when you come here on an official visit and see the stadium it is hard to pass up. This place (Dudy Noble) is like playing in a major league stadium."
Just as his two position abilities impressed major league scouts, Corley has impressed everyone involved with MSU baseball. While he has yet to hit his first home run, he is leading the team in doubles (10), has started all 32 games including five pitching starts and is batting .307.
While many players focus on one position in college, Corley likes the opportunity to serve his team in dual roles.
"I really like pitching and playing the field. It is hard to focus on hitting when I am pitching, but I have always played both," Corley said. "I think I kind of surprised everyone in the fall on the mound, but I like the way I am getting my feet wet pitching."
Despite possible becoming one of the few Bulldogs to come from a position onto the mound, Corley's biggest concerns are fighting off the other players gunning for his position.
"I try to stay focused on this year, but we brought in a bunch of really great players in last year's class," Corley said. "I know that I have to go out and perform everyday in practice and in games, because there is someone behind you pushing you. Nobody's spot for next year is guaranteed, so you have to keep working to get better."
Grant Alford is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. He is a student at Mississippi State University. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.