In his senior year at Briar Woods, Cory Colder piled up more than 1,300 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns to help lead the Falcons to their third straight Virginia AA Division 4 championship. But as the 2012-13 school year drew to a close, Colder held just a single offer, from Bucknell.
At 5-foot-8, Colder was considered to be too diminutive to hold his own against Football Bowl Subdivision defenses, despite a strong downhill running style that helped him rush for 2,815 yards and 42 touchdowns in his two years as the Falcons’ starting tailback.
So Colder opted to head north, to Great Barrington, Mass. and East Coast Prep — a postgraduate school that offers student-athletes one semester to secure the scholarship they so covet.
Colder made the most of his time there, rushing for more than 600 yards and scoring eight touchdowns to bolster his stock, and several college coaches took notice. After receiving interest from James Madison, Temple and Delaware, Colder orally committed to East Tennessee State, which is preparing to re-launch its football program in the Football Championship Subdivision.
“Coach [Carl] Torbush was 100 percent honest and never questioned my size and liked what he saw on film,” Colder said. “They are starting something new and grabbed my attention because I want to be a part of it starting back up.”
The Buccaneers program was discontinued in 2003, but last January the students voted to pass a tuition increase to bring football back to the Johnson City, Tenn. campus. Colder is a part of the school’s first new signing class. He, along with the other class of 2014 recruits, will redshirt in the fall and the program will begin its play in 2015.
Colder’s time at East Coast Prep wasn’t anything like his prep career in Ashburn. The football players were only allowed to use their cell phones on game day, and Colder watched 10 of his teammates head home before season’s end. But on the rare occasions he talked to his parents, they told him to stick it out.
In games, he faced off against junior varsity teams from Army, Wagner, Bryant and Pennsylvania among others.
“Being a prep school, they thought they would bully us every week,” Colder said. “It prepared me because I had to go in every week and not take plays off. The game was a lot faster there.”
With a 3.2 GPA upon his graduation Colder, was cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse and therefore didn’t take classes at East Coast Prep. He spent his time tutoring his teammates and lifting at every free moment. He’s added 13 pounds to his frame to increase his weight to 213.
Colder will enroll at East Tennessee State in the fall and is currently taking online classes at home Ashburn.
“It’s exciting to both be on the same page with a school,” Colder said. “With what I have gone through with the recruiting process, it wasn’t easy finding a school and it’s been humbling.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 40
The number of points Theodore Roosevelt’s Abdur-Rahmaan Kelly scored for the Rough Riders at the DCIAA city championship meet with individual wins in the 500, 800, 1600 and 3200.
–O’Connell guard Melo Trible and Bullis forward Lynee’ Belton were both selected to the 2014 McDonald’s All-American Game.
–While Kelly won four individual titles, the Wilson boys and Dunbar girls won team titles at this year’s DCIAA indoor track championships.
–With student-athletes increasingly concentrating on a single sport in high school, meet Georgetown Prep’s Michael Sprague, who stars as a wrestler and a diver — in the same season.
–McLean girls’ basketball knocked off Conference 6 foe and sixth-ranked South Lakes by four points to hand the Seahawks their first area loss of the season.
–Briar Woods wrestler Michael Hulcher bit off more than he could chew at the Viking Duals. Check out the latest individual and team wrestling rankings.
–Parity has become a theme in the ‘wide open’ Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League.
PHOTOS OF THE DAY:
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
No. 2 St. John’s gets a shot at redemption as it travels to No. 1 Paul VI Thursday
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Boys’ Basketball: No. 2 St. John’s (16-1) at Paul VI (17-3), 7:30 p.m.
The last time these WCAC teams met Dec. 12 the Panthers routed the Cadets in their own gym. St. John’s will look to avenge that loss in a very tough road test. The winner will remain tied with O’Connell atop the WCAC.