Tigers offer two more players from Stephenson HS

by - Senior Writer -
Raphael Kirby is a 6-2, 218-pound linebacker that has 22 offers so far.

The offers keep pouring in for players at Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) High School, and two more were added to the list this week after Clemson made official offers to Stephenson linebackers Raphael Kirby Raphael Kirby
6-2, 220
Stone Mountain, GA

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and Darreon Herring Darreon Herring
6-3, 200
Stone Mountain, GA

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Stephenson currently has 14 players that have received Division 1 offers, according to assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Corey Johnson.

“We get the info out about our players, and I think that is the biggest thing,” Johnson told TigerNet Monday afternoon. “There are a lot of players out there that can play, and we make sure that the college recruiters see all the film on our guys.”

Kirby is a 6-2, 218-pound linebacker that boasts 22 offers, and Johnson said Kirby is a physical player who can play either inside or outside. Kirby transferred to Stephenson in January after playing last fall at the famed Parkview High School.

“He runs like a running back and hits like a defensive tackle,” Johnson said. “This being his first year here, I can only tell you what I saw on the field last season. We played against him in the first game, and he literally tore us apart. You are talking about a kid with a 15 or 20-tackle game. He had a fumble recovery for a touchdown, and at the end of the day we were all talking about how this kid can play.”

Johnson said that Kirby, who also has a 36-inch vertical leap, has improved his 40-dash time to 4.5 seconds.

“He runs well,” he said. “A lot of times, you get a kid that comes around who does one of those two things – running or hitting – well. It’s not often you find one that hits as well as he runs. I think that is what a lot of college recruiters have seen in his highlights – they see a kid that can hit and can move.”

Johnson said to not be surprised if Kirby and Herron choose the same school.

“He and Herron are the best of friends, and they sit around and talk about going to the same school,” he said. “I don’t know if that is what will happen, but they do have those types of conversations. I know those guys are in the mix with being his leaders.”

Kirby told TigerNet that he and Herron winding up at the same school would be great – but isn’t a necessity.

“We have had that conversation,” Kirby said. “We are really close friends, like brothers. We might go to the same school and we might not. There is a chance that may go to the same place, but something may happen and we won't. If we each choose the school that’s right for us, and it happens to be the same school that would be great.”

Kirby said the Tigers coming in later than the other schools isn’t a deal breaker.

“My top schools are Florida, South Carolina, LSU and North Carolina,” he said. “Clemson has a shot, and you never know what can happen with recruiting. For a teenager, your mind changes every other day. They offering me this late is not that big a deal to me. They have a great shot.”

Johnson said that Herring is a taller version(6-3, 200) of his best friend.

“He is a taller, rangy kid that can run,” Johnson said. “Really, the only difference between the two is that and the fact that Raphael is heavier. Both can play inside or outside linebacker. And Darreon is very athletic – he was our long snapper last year until he got hurt. When we went to the goal line or the Power I formation, he was one of the fullbacks. He can go to fullback, to tight end, to long snapper or he can play defensive end.”

Johnson said that Herring has a motor that is always running.

“He is just a blur,” he said. “He can be one place one minute and somewhere else the next,” he said. “I am blessed this year to have tall linebackers that can run. Right now, we count on having the best defense in the state.”

Herring, who boasts a 3.4 GPA, said that academics are a priority for him in choosing a school.

“Academics will always come first for me,” he said. “They definitely have to have a good, strong educational structure and their graduation rate has to be pretty high. I am going to study either pre-law or pre-med, so they have to be a great school.”

Herring said getting the Clemson offer was highlight of the recruiting process for him, and he will be visiting Clemson this Saturday once he sets it up with his recruiters, defensive ends coach Marion Hobby.

“That’s a pretty good offer,” he said. “I am excited that they offered. I watched them on television and watched a couple of games they won last year. And they signed all of those great linebackers last year, so if I go there it would be good competition for me to go in there, and work hard, and try to beat those guys out.”

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