Hitting the Books

Coming from a family that stresses the important of a good education, Belleville East defensive end Warren Herring's early enrollment at Wisconsin in January is simple: get a jump start on his studies and his career for the Badgers.

MADISON - From the time he was a youngster, Warren Herring was always taught academics before athletics with no ‘ifs, ands or buts.' So when his parents' motto kept echoing in his head after he made his first verbal commitment, Herring knew that he needed to make sure he found the best place to better his education.

"My parents always had me keep my nose in my books, because they always knew it would pay off one day," said Herring. "Academics are the biggest thing for me."

So it was no surprise that Herring wanted to enroll early after he found about the academics the University of Wisconsin had to offer, thus getting a head start on his education. Herring officially became the first member of Wisconsin's 2010 recruiting class when he enrolled in January and watched as 23 other players signed a national letter of intent to join the team in the summer, a recruiting class that ranked 33rd by Scout.com.

"It's very important for me because it gets me ready physically and mentally for the upcoming season," Herring said. "When I got in here, I wanted to be able to work, practice and have them motivate me. Plus, I can get my degree faster and get a lot smarter on the field."

Heavily recruited by Stanford, Kansas and Kansas State on the defensive side of the ball, Herring, an all-conference and all-area selection in 2008 for Belleville East High School, gave his commitment to the Wildcats based on the solid relationship he developed with the coaching staff. It also helped that Kansas State was his first offer, but the more he thought about, the more the 6-foot-4, 250-pound athlete wanted to fully research his options.

"Kansas State has a great school and I don't doubt that they have a good academic program," Herring said. "But me and my parents did some research on the computer, you can't always rely on the computer, but we trusted the graduation rates and that the academics (at UW) were better for us."

Added UW coach Bret Bielema: "The thing I appreciate about Warren, he actually put in the time, did his research, came back and made a good decision."

One of the options he looked closer at was the University of Wisconsin, a school he also had a scholarship offer from courtesy of defensive coordinator Dave Doeren. Wanting to major in biology, Herring's Internet research showed him the high rankings of the UW's academic programs, a huge bonus to the success he has seen on television of the school's football team.

"Coach Doeren called (me and my family) whenever he was able to, emailed us, contacted him to tell him how things were going and wanted to set us up for some visits," Herring said. "We got a chance to view the coach and it was the greatest thing. I loved the campus, loved the people and definitely loved the coaches."

Meeting with professors during an unofficial visit to Madison in the summer, Herring was sold on the opportunity to enroll this January, participate in spring ball and get a first-class education while getting a head start on his football career.

"He's got good size and good speed," Belleville East coach Tim Funk said. "He's just a football player. Any time you take an athlete like that and put size and strength on him, you're going to make your defense more athletic."

Ranked by Scout as the No. 41 tight end in the country, Herring caught 32 passes for 428 yards and five touchdowns and made 168 tackles and recorded 23 sacks. He'll get his chance to first make an impression on the defensive side of the ball.

"I've talked to Coach Partridge a number of times and he explained to me how it was going to go," Herring said. "He's a great coach working with the defensive linemen and working with him and me getting better shows me he knows what he's doing."

"I am one of those guys that is going to do anything to help the team," he added. "If I can do it, I'll do it the best I can to help the coaches and the players."

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