1997 revisited: Corey Gunnerson

In 1997, the Everett Seagulls won more football games than they had in nearly 30 years. One of the big reasons for their success, both figuratively and literally, was senior middle linebacker and fullback Corey Gunnerson.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Gunnerson was named The Herald’s 1997 Defensive Player of the Year. He led the Seagulls to an 8-2 record and a second-place finish in the Wesco 3A North. He recorded 20 tackles for loss, including six sacks. On offense, he ran for 1,302 yards and 18 touchdowns, and caught 12 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns.

Gunnerson went on to play football at Western Washington University, where he was recruited to play defense, but got a bit of a surprise before he ever attended a practice.

“I’d been recruited as a middle linebacker the whole time, and back in the day you’d get mailed a playbook and it was a defensive-line playbook,” Gunnerson said. “At no point did they mention to me that I wasn’t going to be a linebacker.

“I had always been a middle linebacker from when I started playing until then, but once I started kind of seeing the schemes that they were running and whatnot, it was definitely a better fit for me. It ended up working out good in the long run.”

Gunnerson red-shirted in 1998 and played for the Vikings from 1999-2002. In 2001, he recorded 26 tackles, including 13 for lost yardage. He followed that with 43 tackles, including 7½ for loss and 2½ sacks as a senior.

When Gunnerson enrolled in college he intended to be a high-school history teacher, but he was detoured to a different path just as he was to a different position on the football field.

“I took one accounting class and got hooked,” he said.

Gunnerson, who once again resides in Everett, graduated from Western with his accounting degree and currently works as a property tax auditor for the state of Washington.

Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at alommers@heraldnet.com.

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