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Monday, February 4, 2013
ESPN 150 DE Herron sticking with LSU

By Max Olson

Frank Herron (Memphis, Tenn./Central) drove 10 hours from Memphis, Tenn., to Austin, Texas, this weekend for a surprise official visit to Texas. Once the ESPN 300 defensive end got home from his long road trip, it didn’t take long for him to reach a final decision.

Herron is staying true to his eight-month pledge to LSU and still plans to sign with the Tigers on Wednesday.

“I just got out of a meeting with him and his mom,” Memphis Central recruiting coordinator Bryan Williams said. “Frank is still committed to LSU. He’s going to be a Tiger.”

The 6-foot-4, 236-pound defensive end came away thoroughly impressed by what he saw during his trip to Texas. In the end, though, Herron felt he couldn’t turn his back on his longtime commitment at the last second.

“The visit gave him an opportunity to see something he hadn’t seen before, because he hadn’t taken any other visit,” Williams said. “He went to another great program and liked what he saw, but at the end of the day, LSU is where he wants to be and where he’s most comfortable.”

The Longhorns made a strong late push thanks to new running backs coach Larry Porter, who was head coach at Memphis in 2010 and 2011. Porter had a longtime relationship with Herron and convinced him to check out Austin while visiting him last week.

Herron left Austin on Sunday with plenty to think about, and some reports even emerged that Texas was now a serious contender to flip him from LSU.

“He was very impressed with Texas,” Williams said. “He was really surprised by what they had to offer. He’s been with LSU so long and he hadn’t had a chance to check any other places out. To see all that was eye-opening for him.”

But Williams said Texas coach Mack Brown didn’t pressure him on a commitment and even told him they wanted to make sure his mother -- who did not join Herron on the visit -- was on board.

“I appreciated that,” Williams said. “That lets me know how classy the program is.”

And, as is usually the case in recruiting, mama knows best. Williams said nobody is happier about Herron’s decision to stick with LSU than his mother.

LSU’s coaching staff was surprised by Herron’s decision to check out Texas but did not put any extra pressure on him to reaffirm his pledge.

“When you have a great product like LSU has, especially on the defensive line, I think they let him make his own decision,” Williams said. “They didn’t have to hammer the kid down or pressure him. His mom is the one that really made him make the best decision. His mom is on board.”

While Herron did tell some reporters that he was holding a press conference on Tuesday, Williams was adamant that’s not going to happen and he doesn’t expect Herron to have more second thoughts before signing day.

Herron is a critical cog of LSU’s No. 6 ranked recruiting class. The Tigers lost starting defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery to the NFL draft and have assured Herron he’ll have a chance to play early in his career.

Williams is glad Herron is staying true to his word and sticking with the program that’s been recruiting him for years and was one of his first offers. But he and the rest of the Memphis Central coaching staff do hope Texas will continue to recruit the area hard now that Porter is a Longhorn assistant.

“I want to give Coach Brown kudos for doing it the right way and respecting Frank and his mom’s wishes,” Williams said. “I’m glad they’re reaching outside of Texas. It’s my wish and prayer they come back and recruit Memphis. We’re rich with talent and have great athletes.”

With Herron out of the picture and A'Shawn Robinson’s decision to decommit on Saturday, Texas has no defensive line recruits in its 2013 class. ESPN 300 lineman Andrew Billings is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday.