"I had the Seahawks about number 17 or 18 on my list of teams that I thought were interested in me," Herring tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "About 20 teams had contacted me and they were one of them, but they had just called to verify my phone number.
"There were probably about 10 teams I talked to more than just one time," Herring notes. "I never really saw it coming, but I am glad to be a Seahawk."
Herring, who watched the draft with his family and friends at his parents' home in Opelika, says that he received a call from the Seahawks that he was going to be their fifth round pick giving him a heads up before it was announced in New York City. "We just started going nuts and then right after they took me a guy called and put me on the phone with (head coach) Mike Holmgren," Herring says.
Herring, who was a star quarterback in high school, moved to defense at Auburn where he started for four seasons after redshirting as a freshman. The first three seasons he started Herring played free safety.
As a senior he moved closer to the line of scrimmage and led the team in tackles (72) as a strongside linebacker. Herring, who worked out for scouts at Auburn's NFL Pro Day as both a linebacker and defensive back, says the Seahawks told him they plan to play him at outside linebacker.
The defensive standout leaves Auburn with the school record for consecutive games started with 49. As a redshirt freshman he was sixth on the team in tackles. He was second as a sophomore and led the Tigers in tackles his junior and senior years.
"I am been so blessed since the time I came out of high school and landed with a great program like Auburn," he says. "It was a dream come true to play for my childhood favorite. I was blessed to be able to play for a group of coaches who are second to none in the country. I couldn't ask for anything more. Now having a chance to play at the next level is a dream come true."
Herring, a strong student academically, is known as a smart player on the field.
Herring moved from free safety to linebacker as a senior at the suggestion of Auburn's defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp, who reasoned that Herring could cause more problems for the defense being closer to the line of scrimmage.
"I think it worked out for the best," Herring says of the position change. "It was something I wasn't sure about going into last year, but Muschamp suggested it to me and in order to do what the team needed I think it worked out."
Herring notes there was an adjustment period from safety to linebacker, but says he made progress during the season. "I felt like a different player toward the end of the season just from my instincts and getting comfortable at the new position," he points out.
Herring will travel to Seattle on Thursday and begin a three-day mini-camp on Friday that will run through Sunday.
The Auburn senior says going into the draft he figured the Jacksonville Jaguars were the most likely team to draft him based on discussions with that team. If it wasn't Jacksonville who drafted him, Herring says he figured it would be the Cincinnati Bengals, the Indianapolis Colts and then the Carolina Panthers.
Herring was the third Tiger selected in the 2007 draft behind guard Ben Grubbs, a first round pick of the Baltimore Ravens, and tailback Kenny Irons, who was chosen by the Bengals in the second round. He was the 24th player picked in the fifth round and the 161st taken the draft.
Courtney Taylor had his best numbers this past fall as a senior.
Auburn wide receiver Courtney Taylor was taken by Seattle later in the sixth round with pick 197 while another Tiger, David Irons, went to Atlanta in the sixth round with the 194th pick.
Taylor, a fifth-year senior, was also a standout high school quarterback like Herring. He moved to wide receiver and redshirted in 2002 and became a major contributor the next four seasons.
Taylor finished fourth in AU history with 2,098 receiving yards and his 153 receptions are the most by an Auburn player. Last season he caught 54 passes for 704 yards despite being injured in preseason and playing much of his senior year at less than full speed.
Irons began his collegiate career at Butler County Community College in Kansas. He had to overcome two major knee surgeries, including one in 2004, his first season at Auburn.
The cornerback bounced back from the knee problem to become a two-year starter. He finished with 90 tackles in his 24 starts at Auburn. He intercepted two passes and deflected 23 others. Irons, a second team All-SEC pick in 2005, developed a reputation as a physical coverage corner who did not back down from any challenge.