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Georgia's Herrien nearly brings tears to Smart's eyes after TD run

UGA running back Brian Herrien carves his way up the middle against North Carolina.
UGA running back Brian Herrien carves his way up the middle against North Carolina. For The Telegraph

Georgia looks to have another standout running back in the making.

While Nick Chubb had a big performance with 222 yards and 2 touchdowns in Saturday's 33-24 win over North Carolina, freshman Brian Herrien made quite the splash as well in his collegiate debut. On his first career carry, Herrien found a hole and ran to the right corner of the end zone, diving in for a 19-yard touchdown.

And to think, Herrien's day almost didn't happen.

Entering his final semester of high school at New Manchester, Herrien needed to hit some grades to meet the NCAA's academic requirements. Having fallen behind academically early in high school, Herrien was forced to play catch-up in order to keep his Division I football hopes alive.

He got the needed scores in May and then signed with Georgia's program. The patience both Herrien and Georgia exhibited with his recruitment paid off.

"I'll tell you what, tears almost came to my eyes when that kid had that touchdown run because a lot of y'all don't know how far he came," Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. "He's sitting in his second semester, he's got to make four or five A's to even be eligible. I had a great relationship with him from Alabama. We thought he was a really good player when I was over there, and I was like, 'Just hang on, don't sign, just wait, we'll be there for you if you can make your grades.'

"And for that kid to come as far as he did, get thrust into the limelight and go out there and do what he did, it's really special, and he's got a lot of improving to do. He's got to improve on his protections, he's got to improve on his ball security, but he's two great guys to learn from, so I'm really proud of Brian."

Herrien earned the early work as Georgia did not play running backs Sony Michel and Elijah Holyfield. Michel has not been cleared to return from a broken forearm and Holyfield sustained an ankle sprain during Georgia's second preseason scrimmage.

Herrien has continued his work in the classroom as well. Following the summer semester at Georgia, Herrien received a letter from athletics director Greg McGarity stating he made the Director's Honor Roll.

Herrien finished Georgia's win over North Carolina with 7 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown. Like Chubb, Herrien showed good vision in picking the right holes and showcased some speed in the open field.

If Saturday's performance is any indication, Herrien could be a dependable running back for Georgia in games to come.

“He’s a strong guy, he’s a smart football player at such a young age,” outside linebacker Davin Bellamy said. “Great instincts. He’s coachable. I can just keep going down the list. The guy has a bright future.”

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