Nebraska high on California-Corner

You don't have to ask Courtney Viney what it takes to be a great cornerback at the prep level. He knows. He knows even more than you might think. While many prep players are relying on talent and speed to get them by, Viney already has a clue as to just where success originates. He's got the skill and the speed, but he's also got the mind. It's no wonder Nebraska has offered this Fresno kid in writing.

When you are 5 foot, 9 inches tall, the receivers come to the line and they instantly take you for granted. You are too small, they can bull you and they can probably hit the slant on you all day.

Yeah, go on thinking that and Edison high school's Courtney Viney will make you pay. You see, he's got what many receivers he won't have and that's the mind-set that just because you have size, speed and even skill, it doesn't mean you are going to beat him on that day. "You have to have technique," Viney said of playing the cornerback position. "Cornerback is the hardest position on the field and having the physical tools is great, but you have to have good feet, good hands and all of that, or you are going to get beat."

That's something Viney didn't see much of last year, notching 84 tackles as a junior, grabbing four interceptions as well.

It wasn't for a lack of trying, though, and perhaps a lack of respect, because receivers nowadays are almost always bigger than him. "I hardly ever face anyone my size and I don't think anyone else smaller, but if they think that's going to get them an automatic catch on me, that's ok, because they'll learn real fast that they won't."

Viney's bravado isn't just that. It's part confidence from his success and part knowledge from the fact that such great cornerbacks like Ricky Manning Jr. have come from his very school. More than anything, though, to play this position, Viney says that you better come confident or you had better not come at all.

"You get up to that line, I don't care who it is, you have to believe you are going to win," he said. "If it's Randy Moss or whoever, this is a position that you have to know there's nobody that can beat you on any particular play."

"You lose that confidence, you'll lose that match up and before you know it, you could be sitting on the bench."

Courtney's confidence has paid off already in the department of getting noticed. He stands with offers currently from Cal, Washington State and Nebraska. That doesn't count all the letters, those coming from just about anywhere you can name. So, it's safe to say that Viney will follow many of the great names at his school, as he tries to do as they did and continue his success at the collegiate level.

Where, though?

Viney said that he's been thinking about a lot of schools, those with the offers taking early precedence. He likes Cal for their program, but also because they are very strong in Engineering, something he plans to major in while at college. Washington State is a Pac Ten school and a close proximity is probably never a bad thing. As for Nebraska, Viney actually had to learn something about them after the offer came in the mail.

"Honestly, I didn't know really anything about them," he said. "I knew that one of my coaches knew one of their coaches, who coached with the Oakland Raiders. But that was about it."

Since the offer?

"I have actually watched a couple of their games and even a friend of mine said that Nebraska just fits me, because their corners like to play like I do."

If you want a physical example of how Viney likes to play cornerback, all you have to do is imagine some of the harder hitting DBs in the league. Champ Bailey, Antoine Winfield, former All-Pro Rod Woodson – that is the mold Viney says he tries to fit each and every day.

"I like really physical corners and a really physical style of play," Courtney said. "I like being able to get right up and go after my guy and if I have a shot on him, you can bet I am the kind of player that is going to try and run straight through the guy."

"Being a cornerback is about being mentally tough, but you have to be physically tough, too. You have to be able to lay somebody out."

A couple of the Nebraska games, Viney said he even recorded, most recently when the Huskers faced off with the ‘Buffs in Boulder late this last year. Viney said of that game, he got to see for himself what he had heard about how Nebraska DBs play. "I guess I was a little surprised, because I saw them playing basically all "man," Viney said of Nebraska's coverages. "They got right up on those guys and played them really close."

"That's me, that's my game – one-on-one, that's where I am at my best, so I definitely liked seeing that."

Another thing that stands out about the Huskers is the attention he's received since the Nebraska offer arrived. Cal-Berkley was the first, but Viney said that Nebraska has definitely been the most frequent. "They are sending letters all the time," he said of Nebraska. "I get some hand-written letters, some typed, but they are all signed personally by the head coach. That definitely means something to me."

It doesn't make Nebraska a favorite, at least not right now, but Viney said that he definitely thought that the Huskers would be a team he would consider all the way to the end. The Huskers even have something else going for them, but it's something that you might not think a Fresno kid would enjoy. "I like the cold," Viney said. "Maybe because it gets so hot here, that's why, but I don't know, I just like the cold."

"I have a friend that is trying to get me to come up to Michigan, so I don't have a problem with the weather at all. I wouldn't mind it a little chilly."

There's one thing for sure and that's Viney's recruiting will be anything but chilly. With three offers already, Courtney is destined to have a ton more. He doesn't worry about that, not in the least, because he believes once you start buying into the hype, you've given up hope at getting better.

"All day, all month, all year – you can't stop trying to get bigger, faster or better," Courtney said. "If the other guy isn't resting, you can't either and the other guy never rests."

"If you want to not just compete, but be the best, you have to do more than the other guy. That's what I am doing right now. That's what I am always going to do as long as I play this game."

Viney scored an 1,100 on his SAT and has a 3.3 GPA.


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