VETTEL: Herring Helped Himself On Pro Day

Five years ago Suwannee High School in Live Oak must have had the best secondary of any high school in the state of Florida. Kelly Jennings, Jarvis Herring and Kyler Hall not only earned All-State recognition but all three signed scholarships with the "Big Three" in Florida. Herring became a Gator; Jennings a Hurricane and Hall a Seminole. Now, five years later, all three are readying for the NFL draft.

Jennings is a slam dunk. The speedy corner is projected by some to be a first rounder on draft day and certainly will be gone by the mid-point of the second round. But Herring and Hall are in different situations. Both lack the size and raw speed the NFL loves to see although both had productive collegiate careers. They each carry a low NFL draft grade putting them around #25 among the safeties this year. Thus their workouts take on added importance and significance.

Herring Improved Last Week

Jarvis Herring rehabilitated his resume a bit on the Gators' testing day when he ran in the mid 4.6 range for the forty after posting a devastating 4.97 at the combine in Indianapolis. Herring ran up there despite a strained hamstring and is hoping his willingness to tough it out will register with NFL scouts and personnel folks in the later rounds.

In Gainesville, Herring was able to run in front of a huge contingent of family and friends from Live Oak including is cousin, former Gator standout Andra Davis, now the middle linebacker of the Cleveland Browns. Herring talks about his relationship with his cousin, the Live Oak trio and what he hoped his workout would accomplish with your truly and another media guy (MG).

MG: How much more comfortable were you working out here in Gainesville?

JH: Compared to Indy, a lot more. Indy was kind of a different routine and your body gets worn out a lot faster. Coach Mickey (Marotti) helped us out by the order of things and they way he spaced things out so I could help myself out a lot more.

LV: Didn't you have a hamstring problem at the combine?

JH: Yeah. But it was like the way I always survived in college. I never had the speed and all the other gifts or whatever so I always had to be the tougher one. So I had to tough it out.

LV: How do you feel about these workouts? You played a lot of football over the last four years and they have tons of film of you as a player. Yet so much of your future is put on how you do in the shuttle run, something I haven't seen in a football game in years.

JH: It's crazy, but I guess the coaches feel they invest so much money in a player they have to investigate everything possible that could have anything to do with football. I understand where they're coming from and I have my views also but you gotta do it.

MG: How concerned were you about important thing improving that forty time you ran at Indy?

JH: That was my main focus. I knew I could do better. So that was the main thing I've been working on the whole time because that was always my biggest question. I had to come back and get my mind right. When I get around my own, like Vernell (Brown), Dee (Webb) and (Jeremy) Mincey and the rest of the players, and then I guess half of Live Oak came and it made me feel a lot better.

LV: How much has cousin Andra helped you through this whole thing?

JH: That's my main man. He made so many mistakes coming out of college. We talk once or twice a week and he's always reminding me of the things he'd done by being stupid and buying so much stuff. He tells me not to be around the wrong people and get my rest. He keeps me on my toes by calling me at night and making sure I'm not out late and things like that.

LV: Do you talk with Kelly and Kyler about their preparations and hoping all three of you get drafted?

JH: That's always our conversation. Kelly, he was at Indy with me and he's just a "tester." He's good at all those things and he just blew everything up and I hear he went down to Miami and did better. Kyler, he's always in the same boat as me. They always question his speed even though they know he's a good football player. He's gonna do his thing Thursday (3/16) and me, Kelly and Matt (Jackson) will be up in Tallahassee to watch him.

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Jarvis Herring didn't look like he would be big time contributor at first when he arrived in Gainesville. After a medical redshirt season in 2001 he totaled 49 tackles and no interceptions the next two seasons. But in the last two years, Herring was a stalwart, registering 118 tackles and intercepting six passes. He wrapped up his Gator career in style earning SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors in his final game in The Swamp against FSU.

He's not all that big. He's not all that strong. He's not all that fast.

But he sure can play.

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