Corey Peters – (Atlanta Falcons DT)
Before he became a dominant force on the defensive line of the perennially successful Atlanta Falcons, Corey Peters put in years of hard work. Born to athletic and supportive parents in the city of Pittsburgh in 1988, Corey was taught the values of honesty and dedication at a young age.
Corey attended Central High School in Louisville, where he shattered records and was showered with honors and praise. He was truly a man among boys on the high school gridiron, and opposing offensive lines often reorganized their entire blocking approach in an attempt to keep Corey out of their backfield. The Central High defensive coaches soon realized that Corey could also run down wide many wide receivers and clog the passing lanes and began to utilize his plethora of skills, mixing in blitzes with zone coverage schemes. Their plans worked to perfection, and after a monster senior year in which he racked up 91 tackles and a stunning 15 sacks while adding three interceptions, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, Corey was coveted by a number of universities with well-known football programs.
He chose to stay near his family and friends, enrolling at the University of Kentucky in the spring of 2006. Corey had yet to grow into his impressive 6’3″, 295-pound frame that he uses to toss around professional offensive linemen these days, but his natural talent and eagerness to learn was clear to everyone that worked with him. Corey played in 11 of Kentucky’s 13 games in his freshman year, highlighted by a dominating performance against UL-Monroe that included eight solo tackles.
Corey’s progression to professional continued in his sophomore year, and the coaches named him the Most Improved Defense Player at the conclusion of the season. Corey shifted his college career into third gear in his junior year, racking up four quarterback sacks and 10 total tackles for a loss. Putting in an equal effort in the classroom led to Corey being selected to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in both 2007 and 2008. Corey gladly returned for his senior year, fulfilling a commitment to his parents, his university and himself. He was a force to be reckoned with all season long, garnering 11 tackles for a loss, 5 sacks and a handful of pass breakups to go along with 52 tackles.
Surprisingly, Corey didn’t get as much attention from scouts as many of the defensive linemen from other SEC programs known for churning out first-rounders did leading up to the 2010 NFL Draft, but a few teams had their sights set on adding his talents to their defensive line. The Atlanta Falcons were elated to see that Corey was still available when it came time to make their 3rd round selection, and they pounced on the opportunity. Within a few months they inked him to a 4-year contract, ensuring that he will be a Falcon until at least 2014.
Much like every other opportunity he was presented with in life, Corey quickly took advantage of the situation, coming into mini-camp in excellent shape and ready to soak up the many benefits of professional coaching. After starting all 16 games in his rookie year and totaling 25 solo tackles and one sack, Corey continued to build his skills and increase his physical strength in the off season. The result was a solid second season that included 26 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble and one interception. If present trends continue, Corey will soon be one of the most dominant defensive lineman in the league. He enjoys visiting elementary schools and Children’s Hospitals in his downtime.