Eric Herman is headed to the Big Apple.
New York City is 560 miles from Herman’s hometown, Oregon, and 525 miles from Ohio University in Athens, where Herman has played on the offensive line for the past five years.
He hopes New York is his next permanent residence for, say, the next decade. The Central Catholic graduate was selected by the New York Giants in the seventh round of the NFL draft last Saturday. He was the 19th pick of the round and the 225th player selected overall. He is one of two Oregon natives (Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs) to be drafted or sign free agent contracts to the NFL.
|Ohio lineman Eric Herman #77, leads the Bobcats into battle. (Press
file photo courtesy of OU SID)
Herman, who is just over 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds, said going through the draft process last week was “an awesome experience.”
“I was home with my family, down in the basement,” he said. “It was awesome that the majority of guys I trained with got the call. I was excited I was part of that group that got picked. I was a little nervous at times, but I had faith in myself and what I did in my career. I’m excited to be a Giant and get to New York and lace up and do the best I can. Hopefully, I can make the roster and I hope I get to play. It’s a very hard road ahead of me, but I’m really excited.”
Last season Herman, a fifth-year senior, started every game at right guard for the Bobcats and earned All-Mid-American Conference second team honors for the second straight year. He finished his career by starting in 51 straight games and helped Ohio U. to its second consecutive bowl victory. Herman posted team highs in pancake blocks (128) and knockdowns (131) last season.
Eighteen offensive guards were chosen in last week’s draft, and Herman was the 17th guard chosen. The only other MAC guard picked in the draft was Kent State’s Brian Winters, who went to the New York Jets with the No. 10 pick in the third round.
Herman became the first OU offensive lineman to be selected in the NFL draft since former Bobcat Al Benton was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round in 1972.
Herman said he found out he was going to be chosen by the Giants about three minutes before his name was called on ESPN’s coverage last Saturday, around 4:30 p.m.
“I was getting nervous on Saturday, so I turned it off to clear my head and I hung out with my brother-in-law and soon to be brother-in-law,” Herman said. “I started to get calls late, from teams that were going to fight for me. This was my round, and if the cards fell right, they would pick me up. I’m glad I got to hear my name called. I wanted to be drafted and I wanted to continue in my sport. I feel like I’ve accomplished something right now.”
Herman, who said he has never been to New York City, said he spoke with Giants coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese last Saturday afternoon.
“Coach Coughlin told me they’re excited to pick me up and was surprised I was still there,” Herman said. “They said I was a good pick for them. I talked to my new offensive line coach (Pat Flaherty) a little bit. He called me back a little bit later and my family was riled up and excited. We tried to get to know each other a little better. I didn’t get time to talk to him at the (NFL) combine. It was really cool to get to know him.”
Herman has already graduated with a degree in engineering technology and management. He said he felt the Giants selected him because their offensive philosophy fits his playing style.
“I felt like that was my style of offense, like that would be one of the teams that would pick me up,” Herman said. “I didn’t think I was going to be a higher priority. They have a lot of offensive linemen. I really didn’t talk to the Giants a lot at the combine (in Indianapolis in February) or before. It was awesome to get picked up by them. It’s a great franchise and they win ballgames, and it’s fun to win.”
Herman said he will leave for New York on May 9 and train at the Giants’ facilities through the end of June.
“I feel great. I feel strong,” he said. “I have to keep on conditioning to get ready to go to (training) camp. I’m really excited. When I got drafted I said, ‘man, I could play a game right now I’m so pumped up.’ I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen, but I know I can do it.”