Mike Herrick played quarterback for Valencia football from 2003 to 2005 and still holds records for passing yards in a season (4,069) and passing yards in a career (11,022). He played for Ole Miss in, then transferred to NAU to finish his college career. Afterwards, he briefly played for the New Yorker Lions of the German Football League.
Herrick recently sat down with The Signal to discuss what he’s learned from his football career.
Q: Did you keep up with Valencia football’s playoff run?
A: I’m still pretty close to Coach Muir, so we keep in touch … I try to go back as much as I can. I probably catch like two or three games a year if work allows it. I was there for the loss at the CIF championship game, but I still keep in touch.
Q: How is prep football different from you played?
A: It’s probably a little bit more advanced as far as scheme wise watching it. I watch it now and see things that weren’t done that we did when I was in college and when I played overseas and so it’s just a little more advanced in terms of the minds of the coaches.
Its changed in the sense that now it’s a year round sport, too. For me, everybody that played usually played another sport.
Now you’ve got seven on seven going on now and February and March and in the spring and summer. It’s crazy how much it is. I personally think it’s good for kids to play different sports because I learned skills in other sports that helped me become a better football player than I wouldn’t have done if I just played football.
Q: What’s the most important thing you learned from your college experience with football?
A: For me, personally, going to Ole Miss and not really playing there, from being California’s leading passer to being well known in the valley I grew up in, and when you get to college, everybody was that in their town. Everybody was the best player on their team. Everybody was the best player in their valley or wherever they come from. It starts all over again. In that regards, it was humbling. You had to continually work.
Q: How does German football and the experience over there compare to American football?
A: I would compare it to, how like rugby is over here. And the football over there is like how college football here talent wise. The rules are you had to have two American on the field at a time. Most of the players are international players. They’re learning the sport and it’s not very developed. So there’s not a whole lot of coaching to go learn the sport and get better and improve themselves.
Q: Did you have any tryouts with any NFL teams after that?
A: I think at some point in one of the games I realized that this was probably it. I had dreamt ever since I was a kid to be an NFL quarterback. I didn’t really play football until I was a little bit older, but I just wanted to be a professional athlete. I loved sports, my dad is a coach and so sports was a big part of our lives. My brother played college baseball, I played baseball growing up. It just sports is a big deal to me personally and to my family. And it still is.
I don’t remember exactly what game it was, but there as a point where I was standing there and I was like, this is it, football has taken me this far and this is probably as far as its going to take me and now I’ve got to start a new chapter of my life and figure out what that was going to be.
Q: What comes to your mind when you think of Valencia football?
A: I’m close with players like Alex Bishop and Steven Manfro and some of these guys that I never even played with. I shouldn’t be close with them, but somehow our connection to the Valencia football program, we’re close to each other and we know each other and we only see each other at games and at Shane’s camp.
So Coach Muir, Coach Stiman and Shane (Vereen’s summer youth) camp ultimately has done a really good job of making it a family atmosphere. Once a Viking, always a Viking. You can always come back and you’re always going to be welcome.