2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: James Herring, S, Harvard
- Name: James Herring
- Position: Safety
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 192 lbs
- School: Harvard University
- Level: Division I FCS – Ivy League
- Twitter: jamesherring33
- Instagram: jamesherring33
Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
I’m part of a few clubs but football takes up a lot of time
What do your teammates say is your best quality?
Reliability – I view myself as someone consistent and my teammates always count on me. Always a vocal leader as well.
What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
Being the strong safety I have a lot of communication responsibilities – I see myself as an “anchor” on the back end. We run a 3-4 often and it’s pretty zone based. Pressure in man coverage. I’m more of an 8-9 yard player over a 13-yard player, closer to the box in a more traditional strong safety format.
Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Reed Klubnik, WR, Yale – he always gave us trouble and something we had to gameplan for
Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
Spencer Rolland, OL, graduated last year. He was 220 and looked like a tight end for a while. He transformed his body and worked real hard in the weight room. Now a grad transfer at UNC.
What makes you different from others at your position?
The best ability is availability – I have never had many serious injuries so you know what you’re getting with me.
Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
Sophomore year we had a fifth-year senior ahead of me on the depth chart, and was in a competition of sorts going into the season. Splitting reps for the first few weeks but he eventually took the job. It hurt me because I felt like I earned the spot and I was being underappreciated. I learned not to be selfish and just wanted to contribute. Found a great role on special teams.
If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
I ran track in high school, also did powerlifting. Saw them as supplements to football. I would prefer to do track again.
What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
Academics have always been incredibly important to me – I worked very hard in high school to end up somewhere like Harvard.
Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
My interception against Yale was a real flashy play that helped our team out greatly.
Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
Favorite athlete: Deion Sanders
Favorite team: Dallas Cowboys
My dad played college football at Stanford in the 1990s.
What gets you “pumped up” before a game?
Really loud music. I do breathing exercises as well so it’s a mix. I’ve always been a big visualization guy – I just do some stretches before I put the pads on and get wild
What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I really enjoy fly fishing and anything outdoors. Archery as well.
Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I grew up in Dallas, Texas. Football is incredibly large where I’m from. I went to Highland Park High School where Matthew Stafford came out of. I was always inspired by looking at the championship banners from the bleachers at the school – we had a lot of them. I have also played several variations of the sport through my youth.
What do you want NFL teams to know about you?
I describe my type of play as someone who does not make mental errors – I am fast, physical, and rarely miss tackles.
I really came into my “role” in my junior year of high school – I covered Jaelon Reagor and also went up against Eno Benjamin. We went on to win state for the first time since Stafford was there. We made it to the state championship a second time and won – I had a game-saving tackle at the one-yard line. Freshman I took a lot of time to develop and was a special teams standout my sophomore year. In 2021 I furthered my career on defense after COVID took me out of football for a while (and the rest of the Ivy League). Had a 5OT heartbreaking loss against Princeton, fueling my fire for the senior season.
First offer out of my junior season was SMU. Randomly got an offer from Harvard, they invited me to a camp and ultimately ended up doing a bit of a Northeast tour. Our defensive coordinator is one of the best in the country for FCS.