Coach’s Corner: An Inside Look at What Tennessee is Getting in Elijah Herring

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Earlier today, Elijah Herring announced his commitment to Tennessee, marking the first pledge in the 2022 recruiting class for the Vols. The versatile, hybrid-prospect is one of the state's top defenders and plays at of the top programs at Riverdale in Murfreesboro. VR2 on SI was able to catch up with Head Coach Will Kriesky to discuss what Herring will bring to Tennessee. 

"Elijah is a special player one because of his physique," Kriesky said about what makes Herring special. "The kid is a massive kid, and he works very hard in the weight room. Not only does he look good, but he works hard. He really strives to do that. He never really loved the recruiting process, but he loves the game of football. Whatever he can do to make himself better at the game of football, that is what he is going to do." 

"He does a good job of not being always demanding, but when things need to be done, tones need to be set, and things need to be said, he will say it," Kriesky said of how Herring leads. "He is laid back, but not in a bad way. He is just a happy-go-lucky kid. But he will make sure kids are working, doing what they are supposed to do and make sure the locker room and everything is going the way it is supposed to, but when it is time to go play ball, strap up and do the things we have to get done, he makes sure it gets handled." 

"Going from high school to the SEC is going to be a big ordeal. Elijah has done a lot better on getting faster, working on his hips, and working on his hands," he added on where Herring can look to improve his game between the high school and college level. "Some see him as an edge rusher, some see him playing in space, and some see him playing in the middle. That is the positive of Elijah; you are not just recruiting one certain type of player. You are recruiting more of a hybrid player who can play multiple positions. So for him to be really good at one of them, he just needs to figure out where he is going to play at the next level, hone in on that, and just work on it. He will do that. I don't doubt that because that is just the type of kid he is and what he does. That is just his personality. Yesterday, the coaches were meeting, and he stuck his head in and said casually, 'Hey guys, I am going to commit to Tennessee tomorrow.' That was it. That is just the type of kid he is. He just wants to play and get better at football."

Herring helped Riverdale to a deep state playoff run this fall, and he will anchor a defense that is expected to be one of the tops in the state.