Darreon Herring, one of the top outside linebackers in the state, graduated from Stephenson a semester early and will enroll at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., on Jan. 9.
Herring, 18, who was offered a full athletic scholarship to play for the Commodores, said he is excited to start college early.
“I’ll get an early feel of living on my own and playing college football. I’m looking forward to starting school and starting a new life.”
Plus, Herring joked, his parents are ready to get him out of the house. He graduated with a 3.3 GPA because he started going to summer school after ninth grade to get ahead.
Ranked 23rd overall in Georgia and 28th on ESPNU Top 100 outside linebackers, Herring finished his senior season with 109 total tackles, five sacks, four caused fumbles and three fumbles recovered.
Of course colleges were falling all over him.
He received athletic scholarship offers from 17 schools, including the University of Arkansas, Clemson University, the University of Miami and Stanford University.
He said he picked Vanderbilt, which has had only four winning seasons since 1959, because of its new coaching staff and the possibility of leaving a legacy.
“I want to build something that they never had – back-to-back winning seasons.”
But athletics was not his only reason. Herring, who plans to major in pre-law or premed, said he also chose Vanderbilt for its academics.
With his early start, Herring will have an advantage over other freshmen starting school next fall. “It gives me time to learn the plays and get stronger,” he said. “I’ll also get a chance to play spring football.”