With all the glitz and glamour surrounding his fellow Georgia Bulldogs—linebackers Leonard Floyd and Ramik Wilson—it’s easy to forget Amarlo Herrera. I mean, despite all he’s done since his freshman season, he still gets very little respect from the national media at-large.
But, where accolades are concerned, sometimes it’s about who looks the flashiest on a highlight reel; and while I intend no disrespect to Herrera in saying as much: his counterparts saw their names called a bit more by the talking heads and analysts than he did last season.
However, in my mind, Wilson isn’t exponentially better than Herrera. Both are indispensable parts of Georgia’s defense. And it will take the consistent, injury-free, play of both for the front seven to succeed at this year.
Even so, what does Herrera think of people looking past him?
…I felt disrespected about the way I played over all the years and just being left off the list. The list doesn’t mean anything; it is just their opinion. And me being left off, I really felt disrespected. I’m going to do what I’ve done every year, get better and better. I’m playing better every year. Specifically I’m working on better footwork, better technique, just [being] a better football player this year. I really feel I can cover. Playing blocks is probably where I can get better, I can run sideline to sideline, but sometimes on blocks I get stuck.” (Radi Nabulsi, 11Alive.com)
Look, here’s the bottom-line for me, Wilson had the freedom to make plays because he didn’t have to worry about where anyone else was playing, except him.
Herrera was responsible for not only his own play, but for getting his fellow teammates in position to make plays as well. And, when you consider 2013 was his first season as both full-time starter and go-to guy on the field, then you have a valid argument for why he’s every bit as deserving of a second look.
Now, will all the hubbub surrounding his teammates make him a bit salty? Doubtful. Herrera understands the pressure on this defense (with a new DC, DL, and LB’s coach) and he knows, watch lists or not, he’s as much under the gun as the next guy. Even more, he’s known for his leadership and “team first” mentality—in other words, don’t expect to hear about him complaining in the locker room. His only concern is winning, the rest will take care of itself.
That being said, I fully expect him to do his level best to show those who might have overlooked him the error of their ways, in the most meaningful way he knows how…on the football field.