Tre Herndon had no problems waiting as long as necessary for a potential Southeastern Conference football offer. Once he got it, it took very little time for him to jump on the opportunity.
The 6-foot, 175-pound East Hamilton defensive back committed to Vanderbilt this weekend. He finished with 63 tackles, four interceptions and 11 pass break-ups in 2012, helping the Hurricanes to a 11-2 record and the Class 4A state quarterfinals.
He chose the Commodores over offers from Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, Appalachian State and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He was ranked a three-star prospect by 247sports.com and a two-star by Rivals.com.
He has had two solid performances at recent Vanderbilt camps and showed impressive closing speed from his cornerback position. After his first camp, he was asked to work on some things and come back. Shortly after his second visit, he received the news he had waited so patiently for.
"When I got that offer, I knew I couldn't let such a great opportunity pass," he said. "There was no need to wait on other schools to offer, because Vanderbilt is a great school in a great conference and I'll have an opportunity to get a great degree."
Now, he said, he can focus his energy on a successful senior season, one in which the Hurricanes are expected to make noise moving up to Class 5A. And he hopes his college decision is only the beginning for the Hurricanes program.
"It's a big weight off of my shoulders," he said. "It's big for East Hamilton and for this football team. We've worked hard and trained for this opportunity since middle school, and hopefully some more guys are about to get offers.
"It's definitely an honor to be the first [East Hamilton] SEC signee, but I'm only the first. I won't be the last."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.