Curry staying at Marshall
HUNTINGTON — Donning a Marshall letter jacket and flashing a smile that’s becoming nearly as signature as his sacks, Vinny Curry walked into the media room at the Cam Henderson Center around 4:30 p.m. Monday.
He gave a nod to the entire Marshall coaching staff that lined along the far wall, shuffled his way to a table that sat underneath a burning light, then delivered what he called the toughest decision of his life.
“The NFL’s been a dream of mine for years,” Curry said. “Since I’ve been playing football, I’ve been analyzing the game, been a student of the game. Just really awaiting my opportunity to be in the league.
“But I have unfinished business here at Marshall so I will be returning for my senior year, trying to help my team win a championship.”
Curry, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive end and reigning Conference USA first-team member, said the requested evaluation he received from the NFL was positive.
“That’s a dream come true,” he said. “A lot of players can’t say they put their evaluation into the NFL and it came back draftable.”
But by coming back, Curry gets to improve his stock, which was set fairly high last year after a 12-sack, 94-tackle season, and earn a college degree, which has happened to just one other person in his family.
“Being the second person in my family to graduate from college is really important to us,” said Curry, referring to his aunt who is now a doctor. “That’s one thing I want to bring home too — that piece of paper because that’s one thing that somebody can never take away from me.”
When he announced he would be back with the Herd in 2011, a couple of cheers rang out and a round of applause was provided by the Marshall coaches in attendance.
Curry told head coach Doc Holliday of his intention to stay last Friday.
“It was a great day for me, I know that,” Holliday said. “We were excited.
“He’s been my No. 1 recruit for the last three or four weeks. We’re not going to go out and sign a player like Vinny Curry. But I’m just proud of Vinny, of the way he handled the situation. In the past there’s been a lot of kids that take bad advice. There are great agents out there, but you get some agents that go out there and tell kids things that aren’t true. He didn’t listen to that. He listened to the right people. He did his homework. He did his paper work. He got his information back and he and his aunt were able to make a great decision.”
According to NFLDraftScout.com, Curry is rated as the No. 7 defensive end and the No. 999 overall prospect for the class of 2012.
In other words, it could have been tough for him to get his name called early in this April’s draft.
“We talked,” said defensive coordinator Chris Rippon who dealt with high-profile players during his 12-year stint at Syracuse, “and I told him I saw Donovan McNabb and Dwight Freeney. They came back and were higher picks. And they got their degree.”
Freeney came back to the Orange and registered a school-record 17.5 sacks in 2001, catapulting him to becoming the 11th pick in the ‘02 Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.
Curry can now expect to get Freeney-like attention from opponents next season. Big No. 99 will surely see a bevy of double-teams, something he got a glimpse of late last season.
“Bring it,” said Curry, who figures to be a shoe-in for preseason C-USA Defensive Player of the Year now that UCF’s Bruce Miller is gone.”Double-teams, triple-teams, quadruple teams. Because if you do that to me that’s going to leave one of the other soldiers open.
“I’m not looking to get all those stats. I’m looking to get a championship. I’m a team player all the way. I’m far from selfish.”
Curry also noted that the uncertain NFL labor situation did not factor into his decision. Neither did the risk of injury.
“I thought about it, but I know the NFL has a great insurance policy,” he said. “But once I decided to come back to school, I’m not even looking at that type of stuff. I’m not looking for the most negative thing to happen.
“I just keep my eye on the prize.”