Former local QB Matt Corral answers all questions at the NFL Combine – Press Enterprise

INDIANAPOLIS — Matt Corral wanted to share his side of the story because he knows teams have questions. But those kinds of questions were actually about football.

There are many uncertainties about one of the best quarterback prospects in the upcoming NFL draft, but questions about Corral’s reputation off the field are not at the forefront.

The gossip story that followed Corral from Oaks Christian High to Long Beach Poly to Mississippi was, after all, an afterthought. Reporters from the NFL Scouting Combine didn’t seem to care that Corral had a highly publicized fight with Wayne Gretzky’s son when he was a junior at Oaks Christian.

It appears that the Ole Miss quarterback is no longer struggling with maturity. But NFL teams have questions about Corral playing under center, which he rarely did in college on Lane Kiffin’s RPO-heavy offense.

There are also concerns about Corral’s ability to read defenses and his lack of size – he was listed as 6ft 1 and 212lbs on his combine measurements.

“Just for them to see me explain the football game and get my story,” Corral said of his interviews with NFL teams this week. “It all has to do with who I am. There are little snippets of them as I explain the game and side comments they would do and see how I would react. I think that gives them a good idea of ​​what kind of guy I am.”

Leadership, along with Athletics, are Corral’s obvious strengths. He won the trust and respect of his Mississippi teammates and led them to a big bowl game as a redshirt junior.

Corral also changed his outsider’s perception, choosing to play Baylor in the Sugar Bowl rather than playing it safe and getting a head start on his draft preparations. However, his loyalty to teammates didn’t work – Corral was carried off the field after suffering a serious sprained ankle in the first quarter.

“The teams asked if I regretted it,” Corral said. “Absolutely not, without these guys I wouldn’t be in this position. I never thought about quitting until teammates came up to me and asked if I was going to play or not. It was never a thought in my head. I would play anyway. … I was proud to be their leader.”

Corral said he started running and throwing about three weeks ago with no pain. He declined to compete in the combine workouts but plans to throw his pro tag.

Two months of nursing an injury made it worth Corral playing one last game with his Mississippi teammates. It’s gotten worse in recent years. He’s open about the depression he struggled with in high school and college, and doesn’t mind talking about mental health.

Things turned around for Corral when he stopped dodging the questions. He’s been honest with himself, and now he’s doing the same with NFL teams, even when they don’t ask about his maturity. Teams are wondering, so why forgo it?

“I know what makes me different, of course, is my leadership,” Corral said after being asked why he should be the No. 1 quarterback picked in the draft. “My physical ability, my arm talent. I have the understanding of Xs and Os and protections, I think that’s what makes me different. What really sets me apart is my ability to lead a team. I really understand how it feels to be vulnerable around people who don’t necessarily want to be vulnerable. I was one of those people who didn’t want to talk about emotions.

“That’s how I was. I never talked about crying. If I were to cry, I would say, ‘Stop crying.’ I grew up with two older brothers. There are a lot of players on my team who weren’t necessarily comfortable talking about their problems, and seeing that I was more vulnerable made them feel more comfortable. Having that understanding of what I want to make of it, what they want to make of it and that we’re on the same page I think is a big thing.”

Corral reminded reporters of his six interceptions against Arkansas in 2020. He was nervous when teams left eight players under cover, but Corral said he took part in the combine to prove to teams he’s just as good mentally as he is physically.

The Ventura native is an intriguing quarterback thanks to his mobility and arm strength, and has shown improvements in ball accuracy and protection. He went from 14 interceptions in 2020 to five last season. Corral recorded 3,349 passing yards with 20 touchdowns and 633 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns last season.


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