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Curry's persistence pays on, off the field

Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry is one of the pass rushers the Buffalo Bills could target if they seek to fill that need in the second round of the NFL Draft.

Curry, 6-foot-3 and 266 pounds, had 23 sacks the last two seasons for Marshall -- 11 as a senior and 12 as a junior. He was the leader this year in tackles for loss with 48 among Football Bowl Subdivision athletes.

Curry does not quite have elite size, speed and athleticism so he's not regarded as a first-round player. The Bills like Curry, who did well at the Senior Bowl. Bills blocking tight end Lee Smith played with Curry at Marshall.

Curry's perseverance off the field adds to his allure. Curry had to sit out his first year at Marshall in 2007 because he was ruled academically ineligible. Curry arguably got a raw deal from the NCAA, but he's not bitter about it.

"Coming out of high school I was a non-qualifier, so I went to Cincinnati, Ohio, Harmony Prep, for a semester and a half, played the whole football season there," Curry said. "I took some ACT classes and it helped prepare me. The first time I took the ACT, I scored a 21. The NCAA said that was too high on the first try, comparing the test to the SAT. So when I got to Marshall I still got red-flagged and was a Prop 48 there."

The national average for the ACT test is 21. Curry had scored low on his SAT the year before.

"They said some things just didn't add up," Curry said. "I got letters of recommendation from counselors, city councils, the high school; still no good."

What did that teach him?

"The dream's not over," Curry said. "It taught me a lot of discipline. I disciplined myself to prove to the NCAA that I could be a college student on a high level. I'm graduated this past December, so everything just worked out for the best. That right there just taught me an honorable lesson that school is very, very important. And from that day on I was determined to get my degree. A lot of you guys know I could have come out last year as a junior. But I wanted to get that degree just in case anything happened, my Plan B."

Curry majored in general studies, and he had two minors -- criminal justice and sociology.