Georgia junior defensive end Malik Herring is one of the players Kirby Smart is counting on to step up on the football field this season.
But on Saturday, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound Herring took time to give back to his home community, taking part in a “Kids Fun Day” in Forsyth.
Kickball, face painting and water slides were all part of the good times Herring shared with family, friend and youngsters at the Monroe County Rec Department.
Macon’s WMAZ-13 was on hand to interview Herring, who explained his motivation for the event.
“I saw kids like outside on the porch just bored, and it was just like I called my mom, and was like ‘hey mom we gotta do something for the kids, they don’t have nothing to do,” Herring said in the WMAZ-13 interview. “I just wanted to have something for the kids to give back, and give them something we’d never had growing up.”
UGA defensive lineman and former @MPHSFootball player @HerringMalik came back to his hometown and held a Kids Fun Day. He just wanted kids in his neighborhood to have fun and do something in the summer. At the end you’ll see how he dominated in kickball. He didn’t go easy on them pic.twitter.com/ruzpFMNPXY
— Jonathan Perez WMAZ (@_JonathanMPerez) June 15, 2019
Herring, a 6-foot-3, 280-pounder, is one of the more pivotal pieces on a Georgia football team that’s greatest weakness is considered by many to be the defensive line.
Smart knows all about Herring’s talent and ability.
Herring was part of Smart’s first recruiting class, which this season makes up the nucleus of what’s expected to be a national championship contender.
“Malik can be a good player, (but) he’s gotta hone in and do the little things right and he’s gotta be a little more mature and serious about things to be the player we want him to be,” Smart said in the midst of spring drills. “He’s talented, though and he’s played well. He’s just gotta mature some.”
Smart, it should be noted, typically saves his public challenges for the most talented players on his team.
It’s an indication the head coach has high hopes set for Herring this season.
Herring has made 30 tackles in the 29 games he has played the past two seasons, with 1.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss.
“Everything I do, I feel like I wouldn’t have gotten here if it wasn’t for this community, they all supported me throughout it all, with my ups and downs,” Herring said. “I just want to give back and show them that I really appreciate what they have done for me.”
— Malik Herring (@HerringMalik) June 15, 2019