Perry High School's football season hasn't quite gone as hoped. The Pumas are currently 2-7 with one more game Friday night against Hamilton High School from Chandler, Arizona.
"The season as a team isn't the best we've had, but on a personal level I've improved a lot," said Perry High School offensive lineman Chandon Herring. "A lot of that has come from me moving up a level. Coming from a smaller school to a bigger school, the competition is greater and the talent level is higher. Everything is more competitive, and so if you don't work hard you won't play."
The big 6-foot-8-inch offensive tackle who transferred to Perry High School two years ago has taken on a bigger role this year.
"Last year was my first year moving up to this level and I only played offense," said Herring. "I was kind of getting experience with how the program went and everything like that. This year I'm a team captain and I play both offense and defense as far as playing time. As far as physical shape, I've gotten in a lot better shape this year because of that. It's been a lot of fun but it's tiring.
"On our defense we run a 3-3-5, so I'm at nose guard. Playing nose guard is harder than most people think but it's fun. This season I've had around three or four sacks. They brought up a couple of kids that will be playing next year, so I've had to split time with them because they've been giving me a breather here and there."
While Herring plays on both sides of the ball now, at college he’ll just play on the offensive line. He’s at about the same size he was when he first committed to BYU.
"Well, I haven't grown much and I'm still stuck in between 6’7” and 6’8”," Herring said with a chuckle. "I kind of get away with telling people that I'm 6’8” because nobody can say, 'No you're not,' because nobody's that tall. I've been trying to gain weight and keep it up, but it actually does fluctuate. I'm still around 260 pounds."
Maybe Herring will be called to serve a mission on a Polynesian island where he'll be fed quite well. That could be a way for him to gain weight at a rapid pace.
"Yeah, then I would be like 6’8” and around 400 pounds," said Herring while laughing. "I hope that doesn't happen because I don't want to be 400 pounds! Then I couldn't run as fast as I can now. I think when I get to BYU I'll be in a good weight and strength program that will help me put on good weight. I'm excited to play at BYU."
Meanwhile, BYU has a coach or two paying a visit to Gilbert, Arizona to watch Herring go to work on Friday.
"I haven't really seen them that much but I know Friday against Hamilton a couple of them will be there," said Herring. "I know Coach Tujague will be here to see my game, so I'm excited about that. We play Hamilton and I'll be going both ways in the game, so I hope I don't disappoint Coach Tujague. I want to make sure I play really well and show him that I'm worthy of that BYU offer."
As far as BYU goes, the Cougars are 6-2 with Wisconsin next up on the schedule after a bye week this week. Herring has kept tabs on his future program when he is able, and has watched as many games as he can with a family friend.
"BYU's season has been phenomenal!" Herring said. "It's a phenomenal program and I'm excited to be a part of that program in the future. The coaches there have done a great job developing the offense as quickly as possible, they've done a great job.
"I watch BYU on TV with one of my family friends when I'm able to. I'm heading up to a game on the 16th for Idaho State. I haven't been able to catch many games because I've been right in the middle of the season, so I couldn't go. I'm excited to head up there this month though for the Idaho State game."
Once Herring's senior season is over, he'll be able to fly up to Provo to catch the last home game of the season. It's an experience he's been waiting for.
"I'm just giddy that I get to go down on the field for warm ups before the game and see the stadium from ground level," Herring said. "I'm also pretty excited to go into the locker room before and after the game to kind of get a feel of what it's like to be a BYU Cougar and a part of that family."
Meanwhile, since committing to BYU, Herring has received quite a few letters from college programs expressing interest.
"I get a lot of letters weekly from Washington State, U of A and Kansas State," Herring said. "It's weekly that they come and I get them from my coaches from my school. I get the mail through them at the school. It's a nice compliment."
No amount of letters from any college program would deter Herring from his commitment to BYU. The Perry High School star offensive lineman has kept his word to not exercise any interest in other college program since committing.
"When I got my offer from BYU I was talking to one of the coaches, and he was saying that their part of the deal of me committing was for me to cut off all communication to all other colleges," Herring said. "I've pretty much done that. BYU is where I wanted to go and I got that offer, so I'm going to keep my word and do what's been asked of me."
Even if Alabama head coach Nick Saban called, Herring wouldn't show much interest. He would, however, take the call, be polite, and then let him know that he's going to BYU.
"Well, I wouldn't be rude about it," said Herring with a laugh. "I would talk to him and be more like, 'You know Coach, thank you for your time, but I'm going to go to BYU.' That's pretty much it."