Former Mary Persons star Malik Herring joined a deep position group after enrolling at Georgia this summer.
Early on, Herring impressed the coaching staff with his ability to rush the passer as a defensive end. But like a lot of true freshmen, head coach Kirby Smart said Herring's production in practice has slowed some. It can be a grind at times for a freshman acclimating to the college game, which is something Herring is experiencing.
“I thought early on Malik showed up and Malik showed a lot of promise,” Smart said. “But he’s one of those freshmen that’s hit a little bit of a wall. We’ve challenged him and we’re going to continue to challenge him to show up. He’s got ability, now. He’s going to be a good player. But the last couple of days he’s been a bit over powered. He’s got to practice harder and play a little better.”
As a senior at Mary Persons, Herring led his team to the GHSA Class 4A semifinals while recording 89 tackles, 19 sacks and two forced fumbles.
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Herring is playing with a position group that returned every contributor from last season. But with how Georgia likes to rotate its defensive line, Herring potentially still could see some playing time as a true freshman.
If he does, he will have to move past that proverbial freshman wall. Smart said it is on the coaching staff to help Herring, and the other freshmen, in this area.
“We’ve got to lead them through it because some of those kids, they don’t know how to push through it,” Smart said “They’ve never been consecutive practices, this intense, in their life. So we’ve got to call them in. We’ve got to meet with them. But we’ve got to encourage them. We’ve got to be positive with them.”