BATON ROUGE, La. — To graduate from college, LSU senior Frank Herron had to work his way out from rock bottom.
No, not in the way you’re thinking.
An interdisciplinary studies major, the fifth-year senior needed to pass one class this summer to become the first person in his family to graduate from college. The class? Geology. The goal? A grade of a C or better. The process? A long one.
“Geology was hard, man,” Herron said. “It was a hard class. I stuck it out. The teachers worked with me. I talked to them every day and got extra tutoring. I had to pull it through when I needed it. Coach O [Ed Orgeron] said, ‘You gotta pass.’ And he said, ‘I know you’re gonna pass.’ I kept doubting myself at times, like ‘Man,’ but when I got that C, it was like a relief.”
Herron fulfilled Ed Orgeron’s prophetic words of encouragement and passed the class. As a result, Herron will graduate from LSU on Friday morning, walking to pick up his diploma while both sides of his family proudly watch. More importantly, in Herron’s eyes, he’s setting an example for his 3-year-old daughter, Failynn.
Well, maybe example isn’t the right word. Let’s say challenge.
“She’s got to go to grad school now,” Herron said. “I’m going to be in grad school. Don’t know what classes I’m taking yet. But she’s got to finish and get her master’s degree.”
What about football?
Academics was one of Herron’s biggest hurdles in his first four years at LSU, so much so that grades kept him off the Tigers’ Citrus Bowl roster last December.
But conditioning was another problem that held back Herron. Herron admits that when he was younger, he didn’t completely buy in to LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt’s plan. He’d go straight from working out to Burger King, he’d chug sodas when he should’ve been drinking water and he’d ignore sleep guidelines, staying up far longer than he should have.
Now, going into his final season, Herron has made a change. Motivated by the finality of it all, Herron has started taking fitness more seriously than ever before, taking on extra workouts with fellow senior defensive linemen Christian LaCouture and Greg Gilmore. Because this year is it for Herron, and he wants to take advantage of it.
“Graduating, senior year. This is it,” Herron said. “You can’t come back from this. What I put on film and what I give to the guys, that’s it. How do you want to be remembered? That’s what Coach O instilled. How do you want to be remembered? I want to be remembered as a great defensive lineman.”