Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
With 43 rushing attempts for 531 yards, five touchdowns and a rushing average of 12.3 yards a carry, Nelson Herring sits alone at the top of the Region 1-AAAAAA rushing leader list.
Herring is a speedy back with nice moves that help him leave defenders in his dust, but he is more than just another running back for the Valdosta High School Wildcats. Herring is also a genuine person and has a love of making people happy.
“I’m a nice person to be around because I like having fun and making people laugh. I don’t talk bad about people or anything like that. I just like being around others,” Herring said.
He is originally from Quitman and lived in Brooks County until the summer of his eighth-grade year.
Herring has been playing as running back for six seasons, dating back to when he took his first carry as a seventh grader at Brooks County Middle.
Born Oct. 7, 1995, Herring is 17 years old and will be a graduate of Valdosta High School as a member of the class of 2014.
Herring has been raised by his mother, Tonisha Thompson, a manager at a local Hardee’s, and his father, Nelson Herring Sr., an ex-running back for Brooks County High.
In ninth grade, Herring moved to the City of Valdosta and enrolled at Valdosta High School. Herring became a member of the football team that year and became a starter.
Herring has played running back all four years at VHS and has been a starter for each of those respective seasons.
Last season, as a junior, Herring almost eclipsed 1,000 yards, gaining 987 on the year.
This season, Herring is poised to break the 1,000-yard mark, being halfway there with five more games to play.
At VHS, Herring has a 3.0 GPA and enjoys science as his favorite subject. Herring is also on the track-and-field team for VHS.
When Herring is not at school, playing football games or at practice, he enjoys playing "Call of Duty" on his gaming system at home.
Herring is also a jokester, known for playing pranks on teammates, such as the Wildcats other starting running back, Malcolm Joseph.
When asked what his favorite prank was, Herring shared this interesting account.
“I put a roach on Malcolm’s sausage dogs that we get after practice on Tuesdays. He didn’t eat that one though; he was able to get another one, but that was a pretty funny one,” said Herring.
Herring’s favorite color is red, favorite food is dirty rice, favorite movie is “42," and favorite book is “The Help."
The Atlanta Falcons is his favorite football team, outside of his new favorite, the St. Louis Rams.
His favorite athlete is Lebron James and he also admires Tavon Austin as a football player. Austin is a receiver who played for West Virginia and currently plays for the St. Louis Rams in the NFL.
“I look at him (Austin) as a model. He was short in high school and college, and also the NFL, and I could see myself being the next him,” said Herring.
Growing up, two of the running backs Herring admired and learned from were his father, Nelson Herring Sr., and his cousin, Keith Christopher, a running back who used to be a Brooks County running back when he was in school.
In college, the running back would like to major in business and currently has three schools he would like to attend.
Georgia State, Florida State and Marshall are included on that list, with Herring currently being scouted by Marshall. Herring also expressed interest in playing football for Georgia State, if he gets that opportunity.
Overall, Nelson Herring is a beast of an athlete on the field, and a stand-up guy off of it.
“When I’m at football practice, I’m like the hype man. I try to get everybody in a groove and get us to have fun. It makes practice go by a little faster,” said the running back.
Herring will be one of many players on this Wildcat team, that will play their last Winnersville Classic 8 p.m., next Friday, Oct. 11, against the Lowndes High School Vikings at Martin Stadium.