CONYERS - Corey Shields, one of Salem's standout football players, recently made a verbal commitment to play football for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, a Division I program in Bowling Green, Ky.
Shields said Western Kentucky has many great things to offer and that's been the difference so far during the recruiting process.
"They (Western Kentucky) have a lot of great recruiters. They recruited me real well," he said. "They've got a lot of new facilities, and now they're making the jump from DI-AA to DI and the Sun Belt Conference."
Shields did a little bit of everything for the Seminoles this season, playing defense, offense and special teams.
Shields said he feels that's one reason why Western Kentucky is interested in him.
"I think they were interested in me because of my athleticism, my ability to play on both sides of the ball and my frame," Shields said. "They're bringing me in as an athlete. They said I could play receiver, strong safety or free safety."
Shields said his goal between now and graduation is to get bigger, stronger and faster.
"I'm lifting weights right now, and I'll be running track in the spring to keep my speed up," he said. "Right now, my goals are just to graduate and put on a little weight."
And although Shields hasn't officially signed with a school yet, he said Western Kentucky is certainly where he's leaning at this point in time.
"I'm still open to some other schools, but right now, Western Kentucky is in the lead. They've got a lot of great programs and a very good business administration program," he said. "I also know that they're building a new $52-million stadium down there, a new athletics facility and dormitories. Me and the head coach, we clicked real well, and the school is only five hours away, which is a lot closer than some of the other schools that are recruiting me.
"I'm, also looking at schools like Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi State, Louisville and UAB (University of Alabama-Birmingham)."
Shields said hard work and dedication have been the secret to his success, but he's also very thankful of the help he's had a long the way.
"I've had a lot of help from my coaches and friends. It's all about hard work and commitment to sports and the game," he said. "The love of the game has kept me on track."
Brandon Evans can be reached at email@example.com.