The Illinois coaches always thought the big Floridian could be a star. Now, Corey Liuget is proving them right. Against Michigan State, he became the first Illinois defensive tackle in 14 years to have 11 tackles in a game (Paul Marshall did it against Minnesota in 1996). Liuget is eager for more.
Q: What happened to you at Michigan State?
A: I was ready to play. They were the No. 11 team in the country, so everyone was fired up and ready to go. We were just excited to play one of the best offenses and best teams, period, in the Big Ten. It was a great feeling, knowing you were going against a top team in the nation.
Q: Did you have some special for breakfast, maybe some Cap'n Crunch?
A: I had some Frosted Flakes. Tony fhe Tiger, they're great. He got me fired up.
Q: What's your typical pregame meal?
A: I eat a little cereal. Then, I have some grits, eggs, sausage, two or three pineapples, two strawberries and a half a banana. I'm drinking a little milk and Gatorade. That's breakfast. That gets me through the game.
Q: Did you get the Spartans talking?
A: I heard a couple of them. It was mainly No. 59 (D.J. Young). He was out there talking a little trash, saying "Somebody needs to stop him. We need to double him or triple him, whatever it takes, because he's making and he's causing havoc in the backfield." They were definitely talking a little trash out there.
Q: Was that your best game as a college player?
A: I feel like it was. I can have a way better game than that. I'm just building on that now. That was just the foundation. I just have to keep going.
Q: So, what do you do for an encore?
A: I'll have to figure that out in practice.
Q: You have reshaped your body. How did you go from 320 to 287?
A: I didn't eat after 7 p.m. some days. The last thing I would eat was training table and that would be it for the day. I would start my day off with a good, light breakfast, a big, heavy starch lunch and a light dinner. I would eat the same food every day. Now, I'm back to my old eating habits, but I don't eat after 8 o'clock.
Q: Are there things you can't eat?
A: It's not even food, it's just drinks. Sodas, juice and those type of things.
Q: What's the one food you couldn't live without?
A: My grandmother's sweet potato pie, Jarred Fayson's mom's chicken and my mom's oxtails. It's very good. It's a very nice dish. You cut them up into nice little chunks. You can boil them. You can stew them. Mom makes those.
Q: What do you miss most about Miami?
A: My family. Every third Sunday, we get together in the park and play with the little kids and do little, fun activities.
Q: How about non-family stuff?
A: I would have to say the beach. It's a great scene.
Q: What do you miss least about Miami?
A: The mosquitoes.
Q: Any part of you wish you had played closer to home?
A: Not at all. Not any more. There was a little decision. I started my college career here, so let's finish it out.
Q: Who comes to watch you play?
A: My mom has made it to four of the games so far. She drives. She takes road trip with some of my family members.
Q: Do you know she's there?
A: Before every game, we make a sign. She'll hold up her hands and I'll hold up my hands.
Q: Who are tougher, defensive tackles or running backs?
A: Of course, defensive tackles. We have a more nasty mentality.
Q: Who are smarter, defensive tackles or offensive linemen?
A: I'd have to say offensive linemen. I don't know their protections, but they have a lot of audibles and things they have to worry about. We just charge and go.
Q: Who does better with women, defensive tackles or quarterbacks?
A: I'm going to have to give that one to the quarterbacks. We're doing fine. We're great with women, but they have more of them. They can handle them better than us.
Q: What do you think about Vic Koenning?
A: Wow. My first spring, I thought he was crazy. I thought, "There's no way I can make it through Rantoul with this guy." I made it through it. He made me a way more tougher player than I was my freshman and sophomore year.
Q: You know, he was a star linebacker at Kansas State.
A: He always talks about it. He talks about his prime when he was in college and the NFL.
Q: Is it hard to picture?
A: Yeah. It's like him and Coach Zook playing in the leather helmets.
Q: Can you picture Keith Gilmore playing in college?
A: Nah, not right now.
Q: How much do you miss Josh Brent?
A: It was different not having the big fella this year on the side of me. His presence alone helped free me up at times. That's what (Akeem) Spence and I are doing right now, going back and forth. He's doing a good job. It's big not having Josh with me.
Q: Have you been able to watch him this year?
A: I watched him play in the preseason and I watched him during the season as well.
Q: Are you joining him in the NFL next season?
A: Right now, I'm commited to the University of Illinois and winning football games. That's what it is so far.
Q: People shouldn't assume you're leaving early.
A: Not at all. I have to finish out these last six games and see how it goes. I have to see how everything plays out with my grades, on-the-field and off-the-field things. My diploma is very important to my family. That paper is more valuable to them than anything.
Q: Are you tired of TV announcers having fun with your name?
A: I'm fine with it. I'm OK with it. My mom likes it. She likes the "Legit" thing also.
Q: What bowl game do you want to go to?
A: It doesn't matter. We're just trying to get to a bowl. We want to win as many games as we can win. Anywhere warm would be appealing.
Q: In a few questions, I'm going to ask you to tell me something people don't know about you. But first, tell me something people don't know about one of your teammates.
A: Graham Pocic is missing a front tooth. It's a secret. He has a false tooth.
Q: Who is your favorite female entertainer?
A: That's a tough one. Malaya. She's a model.
Q: A night on the town with Malaya or 12 tackles in a win against Indiana?
A: I'm going to take 12 tackles and a win against Indiana. I'm sure about that one.
Q: Tell me something people don't know about you.
A: I wrestled an alligator when I was 17. I didn't do too good. The dude came in and helped me out. The mouth was taped up. I was kind of scared at first. I'll give myself a win.