All-American EDGE Caleb Herring after his latest UGA visit: ‘I really like them a lot’
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This entry is about the latest with prized Tennessee pass rusher Caleb Herring of Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro.
“Slender Man” is probably still smiling after his recent trip to Athens.
That’s the nickname for elite All-American EDGE Caleb Herring out of Tennessee. When a prospect is pushing to that 6-foot-6 mark and weighs right at 210 pounds, that is to be expected.
Herring may be slender, but he’s talented enough to be rated as the nation’s No. 6 EDGE and the No. 73 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite.
It would be inaccurate to say Herring took a big visit to UGA last Thursday and is now starting to think hard about the ‘Dawgs.
“I remember growing up as a kid and I grew up in Georgia,” he said. “I really wasn’t a fan. But now, I am saying that everything with going to visit there and getting to speak to their players. I don’t really know how to put this really into words but I like them. I like them a lot.”
Herring has been thinking about Georgia since he was offered on March 12. The national champions have also been thinking a lot about him.
Especially new OLBs coach Chidera Uzo-Diribe.
“Coach Diribe was like ‘You are honestly everything I am looking for’ when we were just talking and stuff,” Caleb Herring said. “He said ‘I can see my children growing up around you.’ Just being that role model for them. He just wants his family to be around me.”
That’s something we don’t hear every day from a big-time recruit with the UGA staff. That’s likely due to Herring’s personality. He is a joyful young man. Those that know him well will also call him “Smiley.”
“That’s because I tend to smile a lot,” he said.
He broke out a princely pair of red and black Jordans for the UGA visit. He said it was only the second time he had them on.
“A lot of the players and the recruits were saying nice shoes,” he said. “The coaches were calling them out. Some of the coaches were kidding they were trying to steal my shoes.”
It looked like they just came out of the box.
Herring is prioritizing a family feel with his eventual college fit. He wants to feel comfortable around the right staff so they can help him get better by coaching him hard, but then snapping back to good vibes afterward.
“They can rip me and stuff but that’s just to get me better,” he said. “They can let it be for like a purpose hoping they see a lot of room for improvement in me.”
He said Georgia hasn’t stopped talking to him since they offered him.
“I knew that I was going to be entertained and interested,” Caleb Herring said of the visit. “But like seeing the facility and stuff, it was like amazing. It was like basically a hotel.”
As of right now, he puts Georgia’s facilities up there as the best he’s ever seen.
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The family stuff to know about Caleb Herring
Herring is an interesting geographic mix. He lives in Tennessee but said “97 percent” of his family is in Georgia. He lived in Georgia for 12 years and lived briefly in California and Ohio before moving to The Volunteer State.
He also has a small group of family in New York. Most of his Georgia folks live in Newman. There is a wide range of college football fans among those folks. Alabama. Georgia. LSU.
He grew up an Alabama fan.
His older brother, Elijah, was a 3-star LB signee for Tennessee in the 2022 class. He’s been highly prioritized by the Vols as the No. 1 player in Tennessee for this cycle. It still feels like Elijah just left.
“Sometimes it is still hard to believe he is already in college,” he said.
Will he follow Elijah to Knoxville?
“I answer that question a whole lot,” Caleb Herring said. “Before coaches offer me, they ask if I am going to do my own thing. Or willing to travel out of my home state. But I tell people that if I were to choose UT, it wouldn’t be because of him. He’s not pushing me to go to UT. He didn’t tell me he was going to UT. He’s telling me to do what is best for me. Whatever is the most comfortable. He says ‘If that is UT, go there’ but it is just like any other school. He said if you are really comfortable with them, then choose them.”
He has a cousin, Lichon Terrell, that just wrapped up his college career at Western Kentucky. Terrell was a 3-star DL out of Callaway High School in Georgia in 2018.
There are about 8-10 schools that are talking to him every day. He’s still waiting on big offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Florida and LSU offers.
LSU has started to reach out. Michigan State and Tennessee have also prioritized him so far. Herring plans to enroll early. He’s not certain about a recruiting timeline.
“I honestly don’t know when,” he said. “But whenever I am comfortable with a school, that’s when I will commit.”
How does Caleb Herring feel about Georgia?
“Slender Man” pumped his fist and let out a scream after the UGA offer.
“It meant a lot,” he said. “I’ve always known I was a great player but just to be recognized by the No. 1 school in the nation. That’s a blessing.”
The Bulldogs have another recruiting asset in junior DL Zion Logue. Those two are friends and come from the same area and training group in Tennessee. Logue signed in the 2019 class but is poised for a true breakout year this fall.
Uzo-Diribe is his chief recruiter, but he’s not limited to playing outside linebacker.
“They say I am versatile and that I can play wherever,” Caleb Herring said. “Like Quay Walker.”
Herring paid attention to his potential position coach. Herring pointed out the passion he saw. Uzo-Diribe was still playing college football in 2015 at Colorado.
He still looks the part as a young coach.
“He was very energetic,” Caleb Herring said. “The way he coaches his players he doesn’t seem like is he what? Like 20-something? The way he acts, he acts older than that. But then he has the energy and swag of a 20-year-old with them.”
The reputation of the Bulldog program is helping here.
“My favorite thing about Georgia I would say is their defense,” he said. “It gets better every year and how they use their players. A lot of them are versatile. They rotate a lot of their guys in and out and players get a lot of playing time on that defense. That’s what I like about that defense.”
He’s watching the ‘Dawgs line up for high draft slots in this month’s NFL Draft, too.
“Honestly that also plays a role in my recruitment,” he said. “Seeing all those guys get invited to the combine and at their pro day. They performed at a high level. That means a lot.”
His visit last week was his second trip. He also worked out at a camp last summer in Athens. He’s seeking a program that will welcome his family and make them feel right at home, too. That’s more important to him than all the name, image and likeness (NIL) buzz.
“I guess I will like to start talking some NIL stuff,” Herring said. “I wouldn’t go crazy over it. I will still work hard if I were to get a lot of money and stuff. If I were to get there, just having a great experience on and off the field with the coaches and the players is what I am looking for.”
It was important for this recent trip to solidify Georgia’s chances at an official visit. There stands a good chance of that, but he wasn’t ready to say that for certain. He already knew that he was a priority target.
Prior to his visit, he asked Uzo-Diribe if his offer was committable.
“He was like ‘Of course’ and ‘I wouldn’t have offered if it wasn’t committable’ and he said I could come in at any time,” Herring said.
He also said something else that was interesting to hear.
“Coach Diribe said he is going to save a spot for me,” Herring said. “Just in case I wait too long.”
That’s part of a relationship that is only growing stronger.
“He’s been real and real genuine with me,” Caleb said. “He’s been keeping that relationship with me. Every since he offered me.”
Herring said that coaches measured him a half-inch shy of the 6-foot-6 mark. He weighed in right at 207 pounds last week.
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Caleb Herring: What makes “Slender Man” tick
Make it to the NFL. Be the best ever. Or at least the best ever to play his position. Those are his dreams.
He’s played mostly on defense in his career. He was a receiver and a running back as a freshman on the freshman team. He played defense the last two seasons but was inserted at tight end to block at times.
“This year I am playing tight end and slot on offense and I am still playing defense,” he said.
Look for him to play some on offense as a senior at Riverdale High in Murfreesboro. Yet he’s wired to be a defender.
“I’d say my favorite part of football is the physicality and letting my frustration out on others.”
He likes hitting people and not getting in any trouble for it.
What does he want to show coaches on tape?
“I hope they see a guy that they can help improve on,” Herring said. “I’m hoping they see a guy that can lead a team. Help lead their defense. Help lead their defense to be the best in the nation and hopefully win a championship. Just a guy they can build their team around.”
Herring is thinking of a number change for this fall. The reason why shows a little more about him.
“I might be wearing No. 31 this year,” Herring said. “It has been in my family for a good minute and my grandaddy he wore 31. I was thinking about wearing No. 4 because that means God’s creation. I might wear that but I am most likely going to wear 31 this year.”
This prospect can play everywhere. He cites comfortability on the edge, the defensive line, middle linebacker and at safety. He’d be down to play anywhere. At a recent 7-on-7 tournament in Georgia, he flashed all over the field playing middle linebacker.
He’s fast and was all over the middle of the field. Riding the seams. Checking crossers with his length. Shadowing the backs. Herring said he was clocked at a 4.55 the last time he ran the 40. That was a hand time.
That offer from Georgia came right after that showing showed up on social media. Herring was right on the hip of a lot of receivers.
“I have the most fun rushing the quarterback,” he said.
Smart made sure to point out to Herring that the coaches have been watching his film since they offered him. They watched his camp film from when he was 198 pounds last summer.
“They kept talking to me about how much better I’ve gotten and coming back out for a visit and an official and stuff,” Caleb Herring said. “I really enjoyed the conversation with him.”
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