In the class of 2011, Memphis (Tenn.) Central was home to one of the more unique, late-rising prospects in the country in eventual Tennessee signee Cameron Clear. College coaches are back on the Central campus once again and have found another unique player in junior Frank Herron but with three schools already offering his star is on the rise early.
Following the 2010 season, few knew about Herron. The season had been Herron’s first on the football field after spending most of his early athletic days on the basketball court. However at 6-5, 245 pounds, Herron quickly began to realize that his future may lie on the gridiron.
Over the summer, Herron camped at Ole Miss and Mississippi State and even ran a 4.7 40 at Ole Miss’ camp. But in just his second year in pads, Herron really caught college coaches’ attention with his play as a junior.
“Tennessee was at the [Memphis University School] game and after that game they called in and made the offer,” said Central assistant Brian Williams. “I’ve got a relationship with one of the coaches at Mississippi State and once they saw film they offered. Everybody is saying he definitely has the upside. You can tell he’s a young player but you just can’t pass up that talent.”
Mississippi State was the first school to offer Herron and Tennessee followed shortly thereafter. Recently, USF added its name to the mix as well. Already with a visit to Starkville under his belt, Herron was excited to land that first offer from Dan Mullen’s staff.
“It’s a beautiful campus (at Mississippi State),” Herron said. “I love the atmosphere. It’s wild. I would love to be a part of it. I like it and I’d like to play at that level because it’s the best conference in the United States.”
Herron had planned to camp at Tennessee over the summer as well but was unable to make the trip after breaking his hand. However the offer from the Vols intrigued him, especially with the presence of his former teammate on campus.
“I was excited to get offered by them because one of our teammates Cam Clear just signed there so I would be excited to play with him again,” he said.
USF also sparked some interest for Herron due to its history of sending players on to the NFL.
“I know they’ve got the best defensive line in the Big East and they send a lot of people to the league,” he said of USF. “They’ve always got a lot of good defensive linemen.”
As a junior, Herron piled up 47 tackles, seven sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, seven tackles for loss and one defensive touchdown. Herron also listed Oregon as a school that is showing increased interest as he hopes to add more offers to his list. Two schools that he is hopeful will show some interest are Alabama and LSU. Fittingly, the big defensive end will be in Tuscaloosa this weekend for their de facto national championship game.
Before he makes it down to Tuscaloosa, Herron has some work to do. His season ended last Friday on the football field but already he is hard at work on the basketball court where he averaged around 12 points per game as a sophomore. Though he will be a big part of Central’s basketball program this winter, Herron has quickly become a football force.
“When I started getting the attention that I’m getting and all the recognition from these schools, I fell in love with football,” he said.