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Season Review: Christopher Herndon IV

The ‘Canes most versatile player had a nice 2016 season

NCAA Football:Miami at Florida Atlantic Robert Duyos-USA TODAY Sports

Christopher Herndon IV, #23 for the Miami Hurricanes, was a player I left the spring game very excited about for the 2016 season. When given the opportunity he did not disappoint. Herndon IV is a 6’4 253 pound junior “Tight End” (let’s face it, an H-Back) from Georgia. Herndon is a true H-back in that he can block inline, block from the backfield or wing, and can catch the football.

Herndon came to Miami as a 3* recruit and probably should’ve taken a redshirt as a freshman in 2014. In 2015 he came into his own towards the end of the season playing in 13 games and starting 3. In the spring game in 2016, I saw flashes of the type of player I love to utilize as an Offensive Coordinator. A guy that you don’t have to take off the field but can play him anywhere keeping defensive coordinators guessing formations and tendencies. In the aforementioned spring game, Herndon IV caught 6 balls for 76 yards and 2 touchdowns really excelling on stick routes which are difficult to feel and run.

Herndon IV finished 2016 with 28 catches for 334 yards and 2 TDs. He had big games receiving against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech but served as an all-around asset in pass pro and run blocking. When Miami finally adjusted to 6-7 man protections, they could keep Herndon IV on the field with Njoku and have size mixed in with athleticism.

My evaluation on the season is that Christopher played great, the offense and QB just couldn’t find enough ways to get that versatile of a player involved. It seemed as though Brad Kaaya would ignore the sure-thing at times and go for the long ball in a Jacory Harris type of move. Herndon IV would be wide open short to middle and instead we would see another deep incompletion forced to a double-covered Richards or Coley.

H-Backs can be used in many ways and #23 proved he could excel at them all. Below, Herndon IV is lined up in the wing and has a solid kick out block on the Defensive End in split zone. I expected much more split zone and Herndon IV at the wing and fullback positions than we saw or at least saw well executed in 2016.

From the spring game, Herndon IV executes a nice flat route off play-action, something we didn’t see a whole lot of from Miami this season. 21 personnel was rare, but especially under center with old school UGA Richt play calling.

The next play is Herndon IV in the slot. He executes a beautiful wheel route against the Hokies as one of the lone bright spots in the game.

Below, Herndon IV also found himself in the RPO game lined up as a Tight End, although Kaaya couldn’t figure out the read making it a moot point. He’s clearly open as the flat defender gets a clean pick set on the slant/arrow to the top of your screen.

I expect big things from Herndon IV in 2017 especially with Njoku and Coley gone and Miami’s young Quarterback needing to find a security target. I think Herndon IV can be that player like Jason Witten for Dallas, Gary Barnidge in his time at Louisville and Cleveland, or even Coleman Bell to bring back an old school ‘Cane Tight End.