Hometown: Chattanooga, TN | Height: 6004 | Weight: 188 | Forty: 4.48E | Year: 2018
A physical cover corner who plays with aggressiveness, tenacity and is highly instinctive. Not afraid to get his nose dirty, exceptionally willing to help out against the run. Described as durable, dependable and tough, per head coach Derek Mason, who also stated that his football IQ is “through the roof” (also a multiple All-SEC Academic honoree). He knows his responsibilities and understands schemes and concepts, a big emphasis has been placed on these areas in his film study assignments. He possesses tremendous makeup speed and is known to be the fastest player on the team—will make the occasional hit that lodges the ball loose and makes receivers think twice about going over the middle. He is currently working on improving his high point instincts and prides himself on having short term memory. He has been put out on an island on a weekly basis over the past four years in the SEC, three of which as a starter. A senior team leader who was voted team captain and has embraced the leadership role, coaches note that he had a very positive impact on the underclassmen. Blessed with great length at nearly 6’1, he sees his playing weight at the next level between 190-193 pounds. He missed the Florida game in 2017 due to undisclosed injury, the lone game he missed during his Commodores career. A triple threat corner—able to play man, zone and a contributor against the run, to go along with great size, look for him to be a fast-riser leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft.
2017 (Sr): Herndon played well in his third year as key starter in the Commodore defensive secondary… Played in 11 of 12 games, missing only the Florida contest, earning starts in all 11 appearances… Played both cornerback and nickel back for Commodores… Topped the secondary with 11 defensed passes… Added 29 total tackles, 21 unassisted stops and a forced fumble during the season.
2016 (Jr): As a second-year starter, Herndon played a vital role in Vanderbilt’s defensive secondary… Herndon started every game for the Commodores at cornerback, extending his streak of consecutive starts to 25 games… He finished the year with 61 tackles, including 30 unassisted stops, topped the Commodores with two interceptions, ranked second with eight defensed passes, and returned one fumble recovery 27 yards.
2015 (So): Herndon enjoyed a breakout season at cornerback during his second year on campus… Started all 12 regular season games at cornerback opposite two-year starter Torren McGaster… Finished the year tied for third on defense with 35 solo tackles and ranked fifth with 42 total tackles.
2014 (Fr): Herndon was among four true freshmen to see action in the Commodore defensive secondary during the season… Participated in all 12 games as reserve defensive back and special teams contributor… Concluded season with seven solo tackles and nine total tackles… Posted two tackles against Temple, South Carolina and Old Dominion… Also had stops vs. UMass, Georgia and Florida… Averaged 26 yards on three kick returns.
High School: Three-year starter… Two-way starter as senior, helping Hurricanes to 10-3 record and 5A state playoffs… In 2013, posted 46 total tackles and an interception as CB and 30 catches for 417 yards as WR… Also averaged 47.2 yards and produced two TDs as kick returner… Named to Chattanooga Times-Free Press’ “Best of Preps Team” and sportswriters’ first-team All-State squad… Participated in Tennessee East-West All-Star Game… As a junior, posted 63 tackles and four picks, helping school to a 11-2 record… Lettered in basketball and track & field.
Personal: Willie Herndon III… Working toward a major in Sociology… Born March 5, 1996 in Detroit… Son of Sabrina and Willie Herndon Jr… Has a younger sister, Sierra… Both parents work at Unum, an insurance company headquartered in Chattanooga… First football player from high school to sign a Southeastern Conference scholarship.