Corbin Page is in position to excel at the college level. The only question might be: Where exactly is that position?
Page, a returning All-State defensive lineman at Spring Valley, has accepted a scholarship offer from West Virginia University, most likely as a tight end, but actually plays that position only about half the time he’s on offense for the Timberwolves.
That’s because, at 6-foot-6 and a lithe 248 pounds, he’s such a matchup problem for defenses that he’s often split out wide to take advantage of his athletic ability. Confused? Well, join the crowd of Spring Valley opponents.
Page is massive enough to outmuscle linebackers over the middle of the field, and athletic enough to beat many players in the secondary when he’s guarded one-on-one outside the hash marks.
Timberwolves coach Brad Dingess savors the thought of moving Page around his team’s offensive formations to take advantage of his talents.
“We feel like if we can split him out when teams try to guard him one on one a lot of times, he’s good enough to beat you,” Dingess said. “He does a great job of using his body. It’s like boxing out in basketball almost, positioning up out there.
“But then if you take two guys out of the [tackle] box to [cover] him, that makes it easier to run the ball. That opens up a lot of situations because he’s an excellent blocker, too, so it just kind of depends on the game plan that week.”
Page doesn’t catch a ton of passes because, after all, the Timberwolves in recent years have been built on running the ball behind a massive offensive line. But when Page is utilized in that phase, he’s decidedly dangerous.
As a sophomore, he caught 19 passes for 456 yards, averaging a healthy 24 yards per catch, with 11 of those 19 receptions going for touchdowns. The Wolves managed to play just five games in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, with Page grabbing 10 balls for 145 yards and one TD.
Dingess, however, said Page can have an impact on the game without catching a single pass, such as when the Timberwolves went to Martinsburg last season and won 22-20, snapping the Bulldogs’ state-record 57-game winning streak.
“Really, it’s what we feel like gives us the best chance to win a football game,” Dingess said. “In the Martinsburg game last year, he didn’t catch a pass, but I thought that may have been the best game he’s played in his high school career blocking-wise and playing defense.
“Sometimes, it’s just about getting him the ball. We played Bridgeport and he had three big catches against them. The great thing about Corbin is that he’s a good all-around football player. He’s not just a good receiver or not just a good blocker. He can do both well.”
Page has adapted quite well to his hybrid duties with the Wolves’ offense.
“We do a little bit of everything,” Page said, “so I spread out a lot, like when it’s a run/pass [formation] and all that. But when I need to go down [in the trenches], I go down and block.
“I think it helps me out a lot because it shows I can do a little bit of everything — from blocking to catching to route running, the whole nine yards.”
Some might think Page’s skill set would go to waste in Morgantown, where WVU went from 2000-17 without a tight end catching more than 25 passes in a single season. However, the Mountaineers have revived the targeting of tight ends in the passing game in recent years, starting with Trevon Wesco in 2018. WVU coach Neal Brown currently has five scholarship tight ends on his roster, the most for the program in more than 20 years.
That’s why Page selected WVU from an impressive list of suitors that included Oregon, Virginia Tech, Indiana, Cincinnati, Louisville, Marshall and Central Michigan.
“I think they’re restarting and building a new offense totally,” Page said of his conversations with WVU assistant coaches Travis Trickett (tight ends) and Matt Moore (offensive line). “The coaches up there are starting something new, so it’s about time that West Virginia explodes as a team.”
Page could also wind up as an offensive tackle or defensive end at WVU, and Dingess said Page would change positions in a heartbeat due to his unselfish nature.
“He’s come up to me,” Dingess said, “and told me, ‘Coach, if you need me to play tackle, I’ll play tackle.’ He just wants to win football games and be a good teammate.”
Page isn’t sure if he’ll play his senior season of basketball with the Timberwolves this winter or not. He averaged a team-high 20.6 points as a junior and 13.4 as a sophomore.
“I’m thinking about it,” Page said. “I can graduate early, so I haven’t made my decision yet if I’m going to play basketball or not.”