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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Friday, August 11, 2006

By Sammy Batten

Offensive Analysis  •  Defensive Analysis  •  Profiles

QB's & Receivers  •  O-Linemen & RB's  •  Profiles

Living up to expectations no problem for Herlocker

Charlotte prep star adding new chapters to family's athletic history


Ben Herlocker has been following in big footsteps since birth, but that hasn’t stopped him from covering plenty of ground in his 18 years.

Herlocker was born to high school basketball stars, Tom and Beth Herlocker, who are still regarded as two of the best athletes in the history of Charlotte Catholic High School.

Older brother Joel was a standout wide receiver for Charlotte Catholic’s 2004 state championship football team and is currently a student at N.C. State.

But the biggest shoes Ben Herlocker has had to fill occurred last year when he stepped in at fullback for Charlotte Catholic to replace Nick Starcevic. Herlocker had been a starter at defensive end and Starcevic’s backup at fullback prior to last season.

Starcevic had run for 1,994 yards and scored 30 touchdowns in propelling Charlotte Catholic to the state 2-AA title as a senior in 2004. He capped his prep career by earning MVP honors in the 14-7 state title win over Western Alamance, rushing for 93 yards and scoring the winning touchdown with one minute to play.

The performance helped earn Starcevic a scholarship to play at North Carolina where he’ll be the starting fullback this season.

“You don’t really replace someone like Nick,’’ Herlocker said. “There was some pressure. I knew people would be watching to see how I did replacing him. I just tried to come in, work hard and do the best I could to help our team win.’’

Herlocker didn’t disappoint. He rushed for 1,775 yards and scored 32 touchdowns in Coach Jim Oddo’s Wing-T offense at Charlotte Catholic as a junior. More importantly, he duplicated Starcevic’s MVP performance in the state championship game as Charlotte Catholic completed another 16-0 season with a title.

For East Carolina, that was more than enough to earn Herlocker a scholarship offer. The 6-foot, 205-pounder accepted the invitation in late July to become the fifth member of the Pirates recruiting Class of 2007.

ECU was the first school to offer Herlocker, although other such as Wake Forest and Vanderbilt were also giving him serious looks, according to Oddo.

“I always tell kids to be careful because recruiting is like going to a school dance,’’ Oddo said. “Every girl may give you one dance and you still end up going home by yourself. A lot of schools may look at you, but they (ECU) stepped up with an offer. I think Ben was appreciative to get an offer, and when he went down there to visit he really liked it.

“They’ve got themselves a really good football player, and he’s getting better all the time.’’

Oddo said Herlocker plays the fullback position in manner unlike that of Starcevic.

“He’s definitely different,’’ Oddo said. “He has a lot more speed (4.5 in 40-yard dash). Starcevic was bigger. He was about 230 pounds in high school. Ben was just 185 last year and is now about 205 because he’s been working out so hard.

“But both were very explosive backs. Ben’s just much quicker. He could play tailback. He averaged nine yards per carry last year and most of his carries were on third-and-one and short-yardage type situations. But he was still able to get the first downs and average over nine yards per carry. That’s a pretty strong statement when you think about it.’’

Herlocker considers himself a cross between a tailback and a fullback. He’s developed his speed by running track and has been timed at 11.4 seconds in the 100-meter dash.

“I’m able to break tackles, then once I do that I can get out in the open,’’ Herlocker said. “It’s hard for defensive backs to take me down because of my size. I’m also able to use my speed to move around them.’’

Signing a fullback was one of East Carolina’s priorities in recruiting this year. The first two fullbacks on the Pirates depth chart entering 2006 are both seniors in Patrick Dosh and Kort Shankweiler. The only other scholarship fullback on the roster is freshman Kevin Gidrey.

Herlocker believes he’ll get an immediate opportunity to make an impact when he reaches Greenville in 2007.

“They have two seniors (at fullback) and it seems to me like I would be right in the mix once I get there,’’ Herlocker said. “Hopefully, I would get a chance to play a great deal my freshman year.’’

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02/23/2007 02:37:44 PM


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