Just a couple more points on his ACT. Just about three or four more points in two courses during the final semester of his senior year.
That is all New Manchester High School (Ga.) running back Brian Herrien needs to meet the NCAA’s sliding scale for academic qualification to receive a scholarship from UGA.
That will be just enough.
When he does, Herrien told DawgNation his first calls will be to coach Kirby Smart and running backs coach Dell McGee. He’ll know his ACT score in mid-May and his final grades at the end of that month. When he makes those, he can make scoring in Sanford Stadium a reality.
“Georgia is 100 percent where I will go to college to play ball,” said Herrien of his full scholarship offer.
What if he does not make those scores?
“I really don’t know,” Herrien said. “I really haven’t thought about it because I know I am going to make those grades.”
That’s the right outlook for a kid who’s hoping for a fourth-quarter high school GPA comeback in the classroom after seeing his grades dip while playing four sports during his freshman and sophomore year.
The Douglasville resident emerged onto the scene when he appeared at UGA’s practice on Tuesday. His relationship with the school has intensified over the last month with Nick Chubb still rehabbing and A.J. Turman’s decision to transfer.
He’s getting frequent contact from Smart and McGee on clearing his academic hurdle.
“Every time they see me or talk to me they are like, ‘make sure you get it done,’”, Herrien said. “They say ‘make sure you get those A’s’ and ‘make sure you get that ACT up.’ It is really just bear down and get those grades.”
McGee had a specific message.
“When I was out there at practice coach McGee was like ‘you see what we are working with here’ and how I could come in,” Herrien said. “I feel like if I go there I have a good chance of playing, making a difference and putting some good stuff out there on the field.”
Herrien said his transcript issues were also compounded when a school representative mistakenly input one of his grades as a “D” instead of a “B” on his grade report.
That has been fixed. He told DawgNation that he has a 2.16 grade-point average at this time. If he gets all A’s this semester, then he will qualify with a 2.5 average. He made one “B” last semester.
“I have got Math, Economics and Literature this semester,” Herrien said. “If I just get A’s in all those classes, that is basically all I have to do. I have a 98 in Math, an 88 in Econ and an 86 in Lit. All I have to do is get those ‘Bs’ up a few points then I am good.”
If he finishes out with a 4.0 GPA, the NCAA sliding scale calls for Herrien to improve his 16 on the ACT to an 18. He will take the ACT for the second time on April 9.
To ensure his marks move those few points north, Herrien said he arrives at school an hour earlier than his peers. He does all his extra work and any needed assignments, adds tutoring after school and then goes home to study.
The senior will start waking up at 5 a.m. every morning next week to study for his ACT and take practice exams online. That’s far more important than the 1,910 yards and 16 scores he totaled in 2015.
“I want this now more than anything,” he said. “This is what I have been dreaming for. I have to make this happen.”
Besides the potential scholarship offer, he also has great familiarity with the program.
Herrien, who does not have a star rating, is good friends with UGA receiver signee Tyler Simmons. His relationship with Smart and assistant Glenn Schumann goes back to their time at Alabama. Smart began recruiting him at running back last year when he started pitching SImmons. He said if his grades were right last year, he would’ve committed to Alabama.
“Kirby Smart was the reason,” he said. “He came up to my school and started talking to me last May. That’s how I started going up to Alabama. I went up there to a camp and then went to a workout in the summer. They showed me around where all the freshman go and showed me the facility. Then I went to the LSU, Middle Tennessee and Ole Miss games.”
Herrien said Alabama is starting to contact him as the possibility of qualifying has opened up. Alcorn State, Colorado State and Miami (Ohio) are also reaching out.
The 6-foot, 210-pounder said he’s been timed at 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He also said he can hold his own in a match race with Simmons. When they last squared off a year ago, Simmons won the race on grass in the 40. Herrien beat him on a track.
That’s a pretty strong indicator of Herrien’s abilities. Simmons has great speed, but Herrien can manage an even more impressive feat. He can pull off one of his father’s tricks by power cleaning 135 pounds with one hand and press it over his head.
Herrien said he did that because no one at his school thought he could do it. Smart even asked him about that at practice.
However, he’s got another weight to raise over his shoulders — those grades and that transcript. The doubters out there will only push him to raise those scores where he aims for them to go, too.
“I will do this,” he said. “I just have to.”
They didn't think I could do it …….so I did ????? pic.twitter.com/KeI5Y4ffwO
— brian herrien (@brianherrienn) March 21, 2016
Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.