Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Riverdale High School linebacker Elijah Herring is one of the state's top players, and he has seen his recruitment heat up of late. The talented prospect from the mid-state talks about this, his timeline, and more with SI All-American.
"Everything is going good," Herring said about his recruitment. "I have been talking with a lot of coaches.
Herring released a top four consisting of Coastal Carolina, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt on Christmas, but new schools have entered the conversation of late.
"Michigan, Mississippi State, Army West Point, Coastal Carolina and Tennessee," Herring said of the programs in communication the most.
"I like they are tough," Herring said about Mike Leach's program. "Mississippi State produces nothing but gritty and fight-y players, and they get after it on the field. They see me as most likely as a middle linebacker."
"With Army, there is a lot of discipline, and I want to be disciplined," Herring said. "The big thing they have told me is to just beat Navy and to fight for everything."
With up-and-coming Coastal Carolina, there is also a regional fit.
"They have been telling me that you should always have fun with it," Herring said. "You should always enjoy the moment and play hard with your teammates and work together to be something be great. The place is very relaxed there and very comfortable."
Style and precedent dominate the conversation with the program in Ann Arbor.
"The thing I like the most is all of their linebackers," Herring said about Michigan. "I looked up some of the guys they have in the league and just the way they can play and switch guys around in their defense, and I like that a lot. They have said they see me rushing the passer, dropping in coverage, pretty much anything."
The in-state program has picked up communication as time has progressed.
"I talk to them just about every day," he said on hearing from the entire coaching staff at Tennessee. "They are saying it is a family environment, and they are trying to get Tennessee back to where it used to be; that great brand of powerhouse football. It makes me feel very important like I am one of the top guys that they want in their program. They see me fitting in the same as Michigan, in the middle, rushing the passer or covering."
Herring is using the spring track-and-field circuit to help improve areas of his football game. He performs in multiple events, but his favorite is the 110-meter hurdles.
"It helps with my hips a lot," he said. "So I can move fluidly around the football field, I can make dips if I need to and get around the defender, flip him, and it just helps with my speed and explosiveness for getting off the ball and getting where I need to be."
Even with track season in full swing, Herring is working on a decision.
"I would say sometime in May. I have thought about late or early May," the mid-state standout said.
Herring laid out what he is hoping to find in a school with decision day around the corner.
"I want to see the support and that everybody supports each other and cares about everything that is going on," he said. "Somewhere easy on my parents where they don't have to travel a long way. Somewhere I can be comfortable and don't have to stress about it.
"That it really has what I am looking for, and that there is successful graduates and a place that I can really excel at."
In addition to track and his own recruitment, Herring also helps his younger brother navigate the process. Caleb Herring is a national recruit in the 2023 class, projected to rush the passer at this time. Aiding the younger recruit is something big brother enjoys doing while navigating his own process.
"It is pretty cool," Herring said. "If something happens with me, I can show him about it and show him how to do different things. It gives me a chance to lead by example."
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