ATLANTA — Brian Herrien didn’t know until a few months ago whether he’d be able to play at Georgia. The first time he touched the ball, it couldn’t have gone any better.
Herrien ran for a 19-yard touchdown on his first carry as a college player. The freshman took a quick pitch from Jacob Eason and darted down the right sideline, then jumped into the right pylon, holding the ball across the goal line.
The play gave Georgia back the lead, the extra point making it a 14-7 lead over North Carolina midway through the second quarter.
Herrien was the last high school player to sign with Georgia this year. He ended up being the first to score points.
Amid concerns over whether he’d qualify academically, Herrien didn’t sign with anybody on signing day or through the spring. But Georgia, which signed his friend and former high school teammate Tyler Simmons, stayed in touch with Herrien. And when he did make the grade, Georgia offered him a scholarship, and he quickly agreed.
Herrien’s carry was a bit of a surprise considering the preseason buzz had been about another freshman tailback, Elijah Holyfield. But Holyfield had no carries in the first half, with Nick Chubb carrying the load, and Brendan Douglas the second tailback off the bench. Herrien entered after three consecutive carries by Chubb, who got Georgia into scoring position. Herrien finished it off.
That was the only carry for Herrien in the first half, but he saw extensive action in the third quarter, and looked good again: He carried it three times for 19 yards on Georgia’s second drive of the third quarter.