Highlights of defensive tackle Corey Liuget.
Over the coming days, we'll highlight a few notable Chargers with their 2016 Media Guide profile. Up next is defensive tackle Corey Liuget.
Defensive tackle Corey Liuget is anxious to return to the field after an injury-shortened 2015 campaign.
One of the NFL's top interior linemen, Liuget signed a multi-year contract extension through 2020 in June 2015. A couple months later, teammates voted him a team captain for the first time in his career. The accolades followed a 2014 campaign in which Liuget led the defensive line in tackles, while leading the team in sacks, tackles for loss and quarterback pressures. He also tied for the team lead in forced fumbles, ranked second in quarterback hits, and scored his first touchdown during a December game in San Francisco.
In 2015, Liuget started the first eight games before he was slowed by a foot injury that hit during an early-Nov. game in Baltimore. Liuget missed a game, then returned to start three more, but on Dec. 12 the Chargers opted to place him on the "Reserve-Injured" list, giving him a head start on being ready for 2016.
The Chargers' first-round pick in 2011, Liuget was San Diego's Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. In 2013, he led the team in sacks, tackles for loss, quarterback pressures and quarterback hits. He played some of his best football down the stretch in helping the Chargers reach the playoffs for the first time since 2009. He collected six of his team-leading 10 tackles for loss in the last six games and in the Chargers' Wild Card Playoff win in Cincinnati, he led the line in tackles, while also contributing a sack, a tackle for loss, a pass defensed and a quarterback hit.
Liuget's rise on the field is impressive when considering the obstacles he faced early in his career. After being drafted in 2011, the NFL lockout wiped out what would have been Liuget's first offseason with the team. After the lockout ended and the season rolled around, injuries took a toll on the Chargers' defensive line and Liuget was pressed into immediate duty. He played in 15 games and made 13 starts. However by season's end, his weight had ballooned to more than 325 pounds, due in large part to an extended visit from his mom, Lorene, and her home cooking. Rather than continuing to pack on pounds, Liuget made a decision to travel back to Florida where he could train at his alma mater, Miami's Hialeah High School. The move paid dividends as Liuget lowered his weight to 300 pounds and it set the wheels in motion for a breakthrough 2012 season in which he led San Diego's defensive line in sacks, tackles, tackles for loss and passes defensed.
Work ethic is one trait that was drilled into Liuget at an early age. His father, DeJa, was killed while visiting Corey's grandmother in Haiti in 1993. It left Lorene to raise Corey and his four older brothers and sisters as a single parent in Miami's Liberty Square housing projects, also known as the Pork 'n' Beans public housing projects. When her kids were young, Lorene enlisted their help to make ends meet. She would boil peanuts, and make candy apples, conch fritters and sweet potato pies, which Corey and his brothers and sisters would sell. It taught all of the Liuget kids about work ethic and discipline.
Liuget had a standout prep career as a 6-2, 220-pound quarterback at Hialeah High School. He ran a 4.6-second 40-yard dash and was highly recruited by a number of colleges. Despite hailing from a close-knit family that tops 100 in number and a strong recruiting push from the big in-state schools, Liuget opted to chart his own path and enroll at the University of Illinois. After two years in Champaign, Ill., Liuget grew homesick and contemplated returning home after his sophomore season. Some tough love from his mom persuaded him to stick it out and, instead of moping over the situation, he used it as motivation. Liuget lost 25 pounds between his sophomore and junior seasons, and feeling re-invigorated, had a career year for the Fighting Illini in 2010. Liuget chose to leave school a year early and apply for the 2011 NFL Draft. The Chargers loved the toughness, tenacity and relentless approach to the game that he showed and made him their first-ever first-round pick from Illinois.
Liuget appreciates living in a city with a strong military presence as his sisters — Ideidre and Latronika — both serve in the Army.
Liuget enjoys traveling. In 2013, he vacationed in the Dominican Republic, where he learned to surf and scuba dive. In 2014, Liuget and his fiancée, Faven, visited Ethiopia, Dubai, Costa Rica and the Bahamas. And in 2015, the couple visited Egypt and Aruba, while also returning to the Dominican Republic.
Liuget has a son – Corey, Jr. – and two daughters – Eden and Eva. When Corey, Jr. was an infant, he had surgery to correct a heart defect. To show his appreciation, Liuget lends his time to support the American Heart Association at a number of community events.
One of Liuget's hobbies is fishing. He often goes deep-sea fishing with his cousins when home in Miami. Liuget has also hosted fishing trips in San Diego for children from area nonprofit agencies. One of the beneficiaries of Liuget's love of the water is F3G (Fish, Food, Feel Good), an organization that collects fish from sport fishermen and distributes it free of charge to local charities. .
In June, Liuget hosted the third-annual "2 Liuget 2 Quit Youth Football Clinic and 7-on-7 Tournament" in Miami in with the Little Haiti Optimist Club.
In 2015, Liuget was a nominee for the NFLPA's Byron "Whizzer" White Award for outstanding community service.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: First-round pick (18), April 28, 2011...agreed to contract, Aug. 4, 2011.