When Michael Herrick saw the writing on the wall, he read it as his road map to Flagstaff, Ariz.
A California kid who signed with former coach Ed Orgeron to play football at Ole Miss, Herrick transferred to Northern Arizona when it became clear the new Ole Miss staff was going with transfer Jevan Snead as the starting quarterback.
Herrick did not have the same physical gifts as Snead, a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder from Stephenville, Texas.
That did not keep Herrick from setting the state high school passing record with more than 11,000 yards while at Valencia, Calif.
While at Northern Arizona, Herrick has added weight to his 6-1 frame to reach 195 pounds.
“He’s done a wonderful job for us,” Lumberjacks coach Jerome Souers said. “If he has any extra emotion this week he’s done a good job of hiding it. He’s a very even-keel, the kind of person you like in a quarterback.”
Herrick has been a good fit in Souers’ spread offense, which is similar to the offense he ran at Valencia. It’s been modified some, Souers says, to play to Herrick’s strengths.
Herrick ranks among the top 10 passers in the Football Champion-ship Subdivision, averaging 309.6 yards a game.
“He’s a very accurate thrower and makes great decisions,” Souers said.
Herrick was behind quarterbacks Brent Schaeffer and Seth Adams at Ole Miss before Snead appeared on the scene as a transfer from the University of Texas.
“After the coaching change, I did not feel like I was going to have the opportunity to compete for the starting job,” Herrick said. “That’s the way life goes sometimes. God did not want me to be there any more, and he chose a different place for me where he gave me the opportunity. I have not bad feelings for Ole Miss at all. They gave me the chance to play in the SEC a little bit.”
Souers said he knew of Herrick as a high school player and that a “call of interest” let him know of Herrick’s desire to talk about the possibility of playing at Northern Arizona. Souers himself was quickly interested as well.
Statistics indicate the move has been good for both parties. Now a junior, Herrick has completed 196-of-285 pass attempts this season, throwing for 2,477 yards, 18 touchdowns and only five interceptions.
Herrick’s former teammates remember him.
“He’s a nice quarterback with a pretty strong arm,” free safety Kendrick Lewis said. “He doesn’t leave any air under his arm. That’s just a minor thing I saw when I was a receiver, and he was throwing to me. He’s a good quarterback, and we’re going to have to compete really hard.”
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal