DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. — The older kids called Brian Herrien “man child” growing up.
He was that “dare” kid. Lift that rock. Throw that. Break this. Play with the older brothers? Herrien got tabbed to do all the things boys want to do.
But could he? “Man child” did.
“The older kids called me that,” Herrien said. “Because I always did stuff people didn’t believe that I could do.”
Most Georgia fans know a few Herrien stories like that by now. The one-handed snatch of 135 pounds. No offers. No star rating and a long way from being academically eligible midway through his junior year.
Then he buckled down. The 6-foot, 210-pounder cracked every book. His peers got to school at 8:20 in the morning. Herrien arrived an hour earlier than that. Then it was tutoring for up to an hour after school once football season was over.
The New Manchester High School senior (Douglasville, Ga.) started waking up at 5 a.m. to do the work that raises an ACT score to qualify on the NCAA’s sliding scale.
“I now know there’s nothing wrong with being a nerd and being smart,” said Herrien, who is now thinking of majoring in sports management, sports medicine and even broadcasting. “You should want to be a nerd and be smart. That gets you ahead in life.”
“Somebody asked me before what happens if you don’t get it done,” Herrien said. “I was like ‘Well I am going to get it done’ so I was going to make sure I get it done.”
He signed a financial aid form. UGA confirmed that Wednesday morning.
“Now the people that slept on me get to see what they really missed out on,” Herrien said.
The next plan is to move to Athens on June 1 with the rest of the 2016 class. What was the main reason he’s getting the chance? Kirby Smart never stopped believing in him. It wasn’t for just his speed and power.
Check out the video interview above after his signing ceremony on Tuesday to learn why and the answers to the following questions:
- What did he actually sign on Tuesday?
- He qualified, was offered, committed and signed within the span of days. What was that like?
- What did he and running backs coach Dell McGee talk about last Saturday?
- What did Coach Smart say about his grades at UGA?
- What type of player will the program be getting?
- What does it mean to be a late signee for this class?
- What did he do at an Alabama camp last year that Smart never forgot?
- What did his Dad teach him about football?
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. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.