Some players have to take a
different road to the NFL and 6-3 290 OL/DT Thomas Herron fits that mold.
Herron is from North Carolina and went to Appalachian State which is in
Boone, North Carolina began his college career on the defensive side of the
ball, playing defensive tackle and special teams until the latter portion of his
junior year where he was moved to the offensive side of the ball. In 2001 he was
listed as the #2 defensive tackle and center in and recorded seven tackles for
the season, while also seeing some playing time on offensive.
wanted to go to a small school that had a winning tradition and a place that I
would have a chance to get playing time," said Herron.
2002 the coaching staff made Herron their full-time center and it was a
productive move for the team since they averaged 26 points and 348 total yards
per game, while averaging 4.2 yards per carry on the ground. Appalachian
State's coaching staff believed that if Herron would have been their starting
center for more then one year that he would been one of the Mountaineers best
ever and certainly an all-conference type performer.
started at defensive tackle and then the coaching staff believe that with my
athletic ability that could handle the center spot because of my great quickness
and getting off the ball," Herron said.
his Pro Day Herron but up some very impressive numbers in which he ran a
4.96/4.97 40, 1.78 in his 10-yard time, 26 reps of 225 pounds, 4.60 short
shuttle, 7.32 3-cone, 32" vertical and 9'3" broad jump. Those numbers
put him within the top prospects at his position in terms of combine-type drill
results. Even with a solid
performance at his Pro Day and interest from scouts and position coaches
equally, Herron didn't get drafted or get signed as a free-agent coming out of
college with an NFL team.
Herron made the decision to keep playing football and keep striving for the
ultimate goal of playing in the NFL. So
when no NFL teams came calling he decided to play in the AF2 with the Memphis
Xplorers. Herron jump right from
his college season and Pro Day to the AF2 season without any break and signed
with the Xplorers on May 8th, 2003.
biggest asset is my versatility and my ability to play both sides of the
football," said Herron. "I also have always had very good overall athletic
ability. My favorite players to watch in the NFL are great athletes; I'm a
huge Donovan McNabb fan and a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan as well.
I just like how athletes determine the outcome of the game with their
athletic ability. When you have a
great athlete you have to game play for."
came from playing a college football season, working out for NFL scouts to
making an impact with the Xplorers and played center and defensive line. Herron
was a dominating center, and was also very productive on defense in 12 games
played he had 15 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 pass
break-up, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recover and 1 safety.
was a great experience because it helped me learn the arena system and learn a
new form of the game," said Herron. "I
very up tempo type of play that was very exciting and you had to be an athlete
to play so it was a lot of fun."
is still looking to make it to the NFL but he is talking it one step at a time
and whatever come his way he sees it as an opportunity to show coaches and
scouts that he can play at the highest level.
Herron has worked out for some Arena Football Teams and would love to
make the jump from AF2 to the AFL if not the NFL.
"We will just have to see what happens but I still plan to achieve my goal whatever road that I have to travel," said Herron.