The Josh Heupel era officially began over two months ago and the new staff has been working to establish their recruiting base since. Well, on Wednesday that has finally paid off. Tennessee has landed their first commitment of the 2022 class, as 3-star linebacker Elijah Herring has committed to the Vols.
“First, giving honor to God, who is the head of my life. I’d like to thank my Riverdale HS coaches and teammates: this wouldn’t be possible without them. I want to thank my mentors in the community who help me on & off the field. Most of all, I want to give a huge THANK YOU to my parents for their endless love, support & guidance. I genuinely appreciate every University & Coach that recruited me, but I’ve decided to end this process & become a VFL!”
I spoke with Ryan Callahan of GoVols 247, on what Tennessee is getting out of Herring.
“I’m pretty high on Elijah Herring. I think this is a nice pickup for Tennessee. He has a nice combination of size and speed that could allow him to fit in a few different spots in the front seven on defense, so I think he’ll give the Vols some versatility, depending on how he develops physically. I think he might project best as a bigger inside linebacker, and he has good enough speed to be effective in a role like that.”
Callahan added, “And it’s obviously good for Tennessee to land an in-state guy to get things started for the 2022 class. As an added bonus, Herring happens to play on the same 7-on-7 team with some of the Vols’ top in-state targets, so he might help them a little bit with some of those guys, too. But I think he’s a good player and a nice pickup on his own because of what he can do on the field”.
Herring chose Tennessee over Michigan and scholarship offers from several other Power-5 programs, including Mississippi State, Kentucky and Virginia Tech.
This is big for the Vols in many ways, as also becomes the first in-state commit. Tennessee is in desperate need of linebackers and new coach Brian Jean-Mary played a huge part in his recruitment.
For the staff, this now can become a foundation piece to recruit on, as getting the first one in the boat was the main concern. Now it will be interesting to see how much traction the Tennessee coaching staff can get in the state and beyond.
This is a good first step for the Heupel era, in the recruiting department, now it’s time to build upon the April commit.