Western Kentucky was a production machine when it came to their passing game. Their main form of aerial assault came in the form of wide receiver Malachi Corley. The number one target of Austin Reed was used early and often during game plans. Defenses knew that approach, but they still couldn’t stop him.
Corley was used in the slot primarily by Western Kentucky. As mentioned, he was the number one target of Shrine Game quarterback Austin Reed, but he seemingly bailed him out repeatedly.
When you watch Corley, you see he gives his all every play; who doesn’t love that? What pops out on film is how he is a threat to break a play open wherever he gets the ball. He was an explosive player in a wild offense and a great watch; here are our takeaways.
- School: Western Kentucky
- Year: Redshirt Junior (Fourth Year)
- Position: Wide Receiver
- Hometown (High School): Campbellsville, KY (Campbellsville HS)
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 200
Corley was a 2-star recruit, according to his 247 Sports recruiting profile. He had offers from Eastern Kentucky, Western Illinois, and Duke from high school. Schools offered him predominantly as a cornerback, but Western Kentucky offered him to be a receiver.
Once he transitioned to full-time wide receiver, Corley saw immediate results. After seeing hardly any work as a true freshman, Corley earned a starting role in his second year on campus. He jumped out with an impressive 691 receiving yards on 73 receptions while finding the endzone seven times. During his college career, he would be targeted 366 times, catching 259 of them for 3,016 yards.
What is most impressive of all the numbers Corley has is his drop percentage. With that many targets, 366, he had just 13 drops he was responsible for. That type of consistency is the stuff that makes coaching staffs and quarterbacks fall in love with you as well as trust you. That trust specifically cannot be understated. Look out if Corley can earn that in the NFL like he did in college with Austin Reed.
When asked to line up across from a guy covering him in man, Corley does very well. Even when the corner tries to press down on him, he finds a way to work free and separate from the defender to make a play for his quarterback. That separation he achieves allows him to pick up so many yards against the defense.
When Corley finds himself working downfield or adjusting to a poor throw behind the line of scrimmage, he tracks the ball exceptionally well. He adjusts to the poor throws, as I mentioned, and that trait will repeatedly bail out a quarterback. It adds to that trust and consistency.
Corley has speed and elusiveness, which is on a level that his competition had a hard time handling. The NFL may cause some issues at first, but once he gets the ball in his hands, Corley should be able to work defenders and let what is natural take over to gain yards. The ability to pick up yards like he does doesn’t need to be limited to just receiving work. It is easy to see a team plugging him into special teams’ work as a returner.
Trait Needing Development
System He Was In
The Western Kentucky air raid system will allow a receiver to produce. It also allows a receiver to get much work in, but it may not be quality work. How well Corley takes to the NFL will rely on his landing spot. Some coaches have shown to be able to coach receivers properly as they transition from the college offense. He will need that as it immediately makes the difference between sitting and producing.
Corley was one of the more fun watches out of all the wide receivers in this class. He has a ton of targets and lots of production. Because of that, he has worked through many of the more minor issues receivers face in the NFL. Corley was used primarily in the slot in college but has the traits to go outside if needed. If a team used him in the slot, he could be a 10 to 12 target guy immediately and produce with his long speed and physical style.