No. 5 Austin Herink
College interest: Offers by Youngstown State and Virginia Military Institute; interest from Cincinnati, Duke, Middle Tennessee State, Furman and Stanford
Austin Herink has made himself as marketable as he possibly could for any and all college programs. He had a breakout junior season in his first year as a starting quarterback, and entered this season even lighter to make himself more nimble in the pocket.
Now, he just has to wait for the right offer to come calling.
Herink, ranked as a two-star prospect by Rivals, is the No. 5 prospect in the Times Free Press Baker's Dozen for 2013. After playing behind current University of Pittsburgh redshirt freshman Chad Voytik his first two seasons, Herink took over as the starter and completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,288 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. The Raiders went 5-5 and were the first team left out of the Class 5A playoffs in 2012 -- something that has stuck in the quarterback's mind since then.
"I think missing out on the playoffs really energized the program," he said. "It really motivated us to leave no doubt this time around when we were having our 6 a.m. workouts and training together."
He lost 18 pounds in the offseason and plans to play at 210 this year, in an attempt to be able to help the Raiders out in terms of his mobility in the pocket, as well as the threat of zone-read option plays. In addition, it could help out the lefty in terms of his recruiting -- a process he admitted has been "frustrating."
Herink currently has offers from Football Championship Subdivision schools VMI and Youngstown State. He has received a lot of interest from a lot of programs, and that interest could pick up with another good season. It's already picked up some after he ran a 4.75 at a camp at Memphis over the summer.
Not that Herink is worried about any of that now.
"I realized after my junior season that I'm not guaranteed anything after this year," he said. "I'm really just excited about the last ride. College football is like a job, so I'm going to enjoy this year.
"I feel like I'm a Division I quarterback, but I'm going to wait until the season is over before I make any final decisions about my future."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.