Cory Haslam signs to play at Cornell University
Cory Haslam is all about problem solving.
To help himself in that endeavor the Trumbull High football standout will attend Cornell University, where he will study applied economics and management and will line up at defensive tackle for head coach David Archer’s Big Red.
“Attending an Ivy League school has always been a dream of mine,” Haslam said after meeting with family and friends to celebrate his decision to play for Cornell. “I want to do something in business, maybe be a financial advisor.
“My mom and dad always encouraged me to do my best in class. Without school you can’t go anywhere. There are a lot of kids good at sports who let grades fall behind and they aren’t going where they could have gone.”
Haslam, at 6-foot-2 and 260 pounds, has the size to compete in the Ivy League and the sticktuitiveness to handle the academics.
“When I was a sophomore I had a lot of role models here at Trumbull, guys like Zach Thompson Phil Riordan,” Haslam said. “Freshman year everyone is the same size as you, but after that everyone is two years older. They brought us in to work on footwork, telling us this is what you’re going to have to know, this is what you need to do to play at this level.
“On Scout O (offense) or Scout D (defense) they would go their hardest. They didn’t take it easy because we had to get used to playing bigger and stronger kids. It is a big jump.”
Haslam earned a starting role as a sophomore. In the summer before his junior year, he attended camps at Cornell, Yale and Harvard. There was work to be done beforehand.
“There is the bench press test where they want to see how many reps you can do at 225 (pounds),” he said. “I prepared myself here at school through our agility training. Over the summer we’d do 40s, at least eight of them. I’d do shuttles, the 5-10-5 runs to prepare for combines, where you have to be at your best because those numbers count.”
Haslam’s 40 was around 4.9, 5.0; the amount of reps for the 225 was 18 or 19; the shuttle was 4.5, 4.6.
“Coaches mostly were looking at the older juniors and seniors,” he said. “But it was a good chance to measure up against the older kids and maybe they would see something.”
Cornell came calling.
“You send them tape and that gets things started,” Haslam said. “Coach (Roy) Istvan and Coach (Travis) Burkett were great with me. They are going to send me a package with workouts I can do to build muscle, burn fat. Playing the line is mostly about lateral movement, quickness, getting off the ball.”
A problem Haslam had to face at an early age was finding a place to play football.
“I started here in Trumbull in second grade playing Pop Warner,” he said. “Pop Warner had a weight limit, so in seventh grade I had to find another place to play. I joined the AYF (American Youth Football) program in Monroe.”
Entering Trumbull High, Haslam played basketball and baseball as a freshman.
“I enjoyed playing all sports, but when it came down to it I knew football was really what I wanted to do,” he said. “After freshman year I was comparing my size, a sophomore to players that were seniors. They were much bigger and I had to do something about it — my arms were tiny, legs not defined.
“ I started going to the gym with my father. He was showing me stuff that he did in high school (Norwalk High). We started weight lifting. We played exact positions in high school, left guard and right defensive tackle.”
His older brother Jake played football at Trumbull and his sister Lauren plays volleyball and basketball.
“My mom has done everything for me,” Haslam said. “For school she was always on top of everything making sure I had SAT tutors if I needed one, asking teachers, monitoring me. No matter what game it was, especially sophomore, junior year, she would pick me up after games drive me home and encourage me.”