He doesn't have a Greek God-esque name, nor does he have a catchy Urban Dictionary catch-phrase named after him. He doesn't get headlines playing at Linebacker U, and he won't be heir to a famous linebacker's number 55 at that famous West Coast school.
He’s not even the most talked about linebacker on his team. Nope, in fact, even his name, German for 'full of heart', doesn't send chills down any running back's spine. Until they meet him up close and personal for the first time.
While Rey Maualuga and James Laurinaitis are collecting Butkus Award bandwagoners faster than the Buckeyes can say “AP freefall”, Boston College’s Mark Herzlich is quietly amassing some eye-popping stats that should cause NFL scouts to stack up those frequent flier miles and free peanut bags after a few Saturday trips to Beantown.
School's not out on the Naguski, Butkus, or Lott Trophies—not just yet—not if this talented linebacker has something to say about it.
Not convinced? Let’s let some of the stats do the talking. During his sophomore season in 2007, Herzlich had 97 tackles (second most on team), 1.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for a loss, four passes broken up, and one interception. Herzlich, on the Butkus and Lott watch lists, opened 2008 with eight tackles and an interception.
He followed that performance with a dominating effort against Georgia Tech, where he had 13 tackles, one for a loss, plus a forced fumble. A man on a mission from the opening kickoff—Herzlich’s name was a broken record over the loudspeaker.
What is the most impressive thing about Herzlich is his ability to stay with the play, every play. He's wherever the ball is. He's the guy who makes the tackle play after play. He’s there before the play even unfolds.
Quietly, deadly, like a sniper in a duck shooting gallery. He doesn't need flashy tattoos or a controversial sound-byte to get attention. He lets his game do the talkin’. Every lineman knows where he is, every ball carrier knows he's the guy who will make him pay for those precious yards.
Yeah, he's the kid you want to bring home to mom, but also want standing at the front door when your daughter is late coming home from a date.
While the ACC may not be impressing the pollsters at the current time, the talent is no doubt still present. In 2008 alone, the ACC had 33 players drafted by the NFL.
Herzlich, whose biggest strength is that he can easily adapt to either the Sam, Mike or Will position—something that impresses all NFL scouts—currently leads the ACC in tackles per game with 10.5.
Mark Herzlich is just another reason why Boston College will be put on the map again.
Sure, Doug Flutie's nephew plays for the team. The legendary names of the Screaming Eagles will forever be immortalized by Doug Flutie and newest NFL flame-thrower, Matt Ryan. But Herzlich is bound to be even a bigger legend if his success continues. After all, while offense wins games, defense wins championships.
Mark Herzlich, BC’s best kept secret—full of heart and one tough SLB.