Michigan cornerback commit Troy Woolfolk may have gotten the majority of the press for Coach Jim Creech’s Dulles High team over the past few years, but there was another youngster up front wreaking every bit as much havoc. Playing out of position at defensive end for the benefit of the team, Michigan commitment Brandon Herron made his presence felt on a weekly basis. His blazing speed made him a formidable pass rush rusher from the edge, and it is that trait that caused Creech to believe that his young pupil can make an impact at linebacker at the next level.
“Brandon was hearing from Nebraska, Texas Tech, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, LSU, and a number of others,” said Creech. “The thing that really got people going on Brandon last year was a highlight tape that we had as a defensive end. Coach (Fred) Jackson asked about Brandon last May when he was here for Troy. He’s kind of an undersized kid at just over 200-pounds, but he also has tremendous speed. Brandon, at the Nike combine at the end of May, ran a 4.5 on grass. I refer to Brandon as a “Fair Freak.” It’s kind of like the games at a county fair…there’s not a drill that you can do that he won’t stand out. It’s doesn’t matter if it’s jumping, running, if its agility, if it’s strength… he shines. He’s tremendously strong. He’s a 350-pound bench presser. He’s got unbelievably long arms. I think he has an 82-inch reach. He’s got long legs and he’s got a great motor. The thing with Brandon is we started him at defensive end, then we moved him linebacker because we felt like maybe that was going to be the position for him in college. Then we ended up moving him back to defensive end simply for our sakes. We really couldn’t focus so much on what his college position was going to be. This late in his high school career it wasn’t something that there was a lot time for us to teach or for him to learn. We just needed him to get out there, play football, and feel comfortable doing it.”
According Coach Creech, Herron’s position switches may be why some programs came on a little later in the process for this talented athlete.
“The thing with Brandon that’s similar to Troy is the question they ask…where is he going to play,” Creech explained. “With Troy it’s, ‘is he going to be a corner or is he going to be a safety?’ Time will only tell. With Brandon it was the same thing. People come in and ask, ‘coach, where do you think we should play him…or where do you think he is going to play?’ I found this out about college coaches… they don’t like guessing. They want to look at a kid and say that’s a tight end, or that’s a tackle, or that’s a defensive lineman, or that’s a running back. They don’t want to say, ‘well let me see, he could be a defensive end if he grows, or he could be a linebacker one of these days.’ They’re so afraid that they’re going to miss. I think if you get a kid and he’s got a good motor, he shows up on tape, and he can run…then he can fit in to ANY program. You can never have too many guys on your football team that can run. He has a tremendous work ethic.”
“In four seasons for me, Brandon played free safety, he played some running back, we had him at defensive end, and we had him at linebacker,” Creech continued. “You take a guy like that and you think this guy has so much ability and talent… he has so many gifts, where do you play him? The same thing with Troy. Wherever you put him, Brandon always is going to be able to run and he’s got a large frame. Depending on how much weight he can put on, you can play him almost anywhere. He is 6-2.5 and about 205. He was 215 when he came in. He’s very lean and very muscular. He’s also a track athlete. He runs the 200 meters, he’s on the mile relay, and he is on the 4x200. The thing that Michigan or any college has over us is they have the time to redshirt and teach him. The other thing with both he and Troy is that both of them come from good solid Christian homes. Both Brandon and Troy are better people than they are athletes.”
At this point, there seems to be little question about Herron’s future as a linebacker in the Maize & Blue. The only issue seemingly up for debate is which backer position he will eventually settle in at.
“They haven’t said specifically which linebacker position he’ll be playing, but they talked about inside,” said Creech. “I think they’ve also talked about him being able to come off the edge and go after the quarterback, but also be able to drop back in pass coverage. When you have the speed he does, you can do both of those things. I can’t talk enough about this kid’s speed. One play that comes to mind happened last year when we were playing Fort Bend Marshall. They had 16 or 17 kids sign football scholarships. They have tremendous tremendous athletes. Brandon was playing the right side defensive end and they ran a sprint-out. James Thomas was the quarterback. He is now playing at UTEP. He’s a tremendous athlete. It’s a play-action pass and he takes off running around the right end. Brandon just runs him down like a cheetah after an antelope. It was just amazing to watch that kind of speed…and to run an athlete down…not somebody that couldn’t run. That was amazing to me. That kind of speed will find its way onto the field somewhere.”