Riverdale High School linebacker Elijah Herring has one year of high school football left, so there was no rush for him to choose which college he wanted to play for anytime soon.
However, he seemingly made up his mind that he wanted to play for the University of Tennessee nearly a year and a half ago, when he first stepped on campus.
“It was probably the first game I went to when they went against Georgia and I was in Neyland Stadium,” Herring told 247Sports. “I was like, ‘Yeah, this place is nice.’ I just liked the energy that all the fans gave off. I was like, ‘Yeah, I can see myself playing here one day.’”
Herring was a catalyst for a Warrior defense that allowed just 15.1 points per game last year. He ranked fourth on the team in tackles (51) with 10 tackles for loss and a blocked punt, and he led Riverdale with three sacks.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker is the first commit for Josh Heupel’s class of 2022, picking the Vols over offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech.
He’s the 29th-ranked player in the state of Tennessee and the No. 47 outside linebacker in the country.
After Heupel took over the Vols program in January, he and his staff stayed in contact with Herring. UT ramped up its pursuit of Herring recently, making a hard push for him over the last few weeks.
During a Zoom call with the coaching staff last week, Herring said he felt a part of the Vol family and was instantly sold on his role on the defense and the program’s future.
“It just — to be honest — felt comfortable,” he continued. “I’m very comfortable here, and it’s a place that I feel I can live after football.”
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