No. 2 Tre Herndon
Weight: 175 pounds
College interest: Committed to Vanderbilt
Tre Herndon takes his video-game playing serious. He plays NCAA College Football 2014 on the XBox religiously, and like most before, has created his own character to go through the high school ranks in hopes of being recruited by big-name colleges.
That, though, is where his real life is much better than his virtual one.
"I play wide receiver on offense and cornerback on defense, but I can only get recruited as a receiver on the game because I can't make any plays on defense," he said recently. Herndon also admitted that he plays against others on XBox Live and writes the opponent's audibles down because he "hates losing online."
As a wide receiver and cornerback on the East Hamilton football team, he hasn't had the same recruiting struggles that he suffered on the video game. He committed to Vanderbilt a month ago as a defensive back, and that earned him a No. 2 ranking in the Times Free Press Baker's Dozen for top prospects entering the 2013 season.
He showed he could make plays on offense in 2012, with nine catches for 167 yards and a touchdown, including a four-catch, 121-yard performance in a 31-28 loss to Ooltewah early in the season. Yet the defensive side is where he'll be making plays after this season, where he had 63 tackles, four interceptions and 11 pass breakups.
His contributions were enough to help the Hurricanes to an 11-2 mark and advance to the Class 4A state quarterfinals, where they fell nine yards short of a state-semifinal bid. Herndon was ranked a three-star prospect by 247sports.com and a two-star prospect by Rivals.
"It's just a huge blessing to get all of the recruiting out of the way," he said. "I don't have to worry about getting pulled out of class by college coaches anymore. I'm glad to get the process over with so I can focus on this year and not look ahead."
"I'm still happy about [the decision]. I've created a good relationship with the Vanderbilt staff."
He said he hasn't spoke too much with his teammates about their looming decisions, as no less than four other players are expected to play collegiately.
"We've talked about it a little bit, but I really haven't got in their business," Herndon said. "They really haven't asked about how my process was."
He also averaged 6.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals as a guard on the East Hamilton basketball team, but he knows where his future lies.
"Football is my No. 1 sports. I like basketball because it helps me work on my footwork and stay in shape, but at the end of the day, I'm just having fun out there," he said.
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.