Miami Hurricanes tight end Christopher Herndon IV spent the first part of his productive, but quiet UM career in the shadow of fellow tight end David Njoku, the flashy athlete with freakish talent and the ability to flip into the end zone or hurdle opponents while sprinting toward it. But Herndon, a strong blocker with steady hands, was contributing plenty himself.
Herndon can now prove himself in the NFL after being drafted seventh in the fourth round Saturday — 107th overall — by the New York Jets.
In 2016, while Njoku was preparing to become a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, Herndon, from Norcross, Georgia, garnered 334 yards and two touchdowns on 28 catches. This past season, the dependable Herndon was UM’s second-leading receiver (behind fellow NFL-bound Hurricane Braxton Berrios) with 477 yards and four touchdowns on 40 catches — despite missing the final two games after sustaining a season-ending injury and undergoing surgery for a medial collateral ligament injury to his left knee.
Former UM tight end legend Jeremy Shockey projected that Herndon, no doubt an understated, quiet person off the field, would be a great tight end, but indicated he just needed to play a bit more ferociously. "He's the next great tight end that the U has produced,'' Shockey told the Miami Herald during fall camp. "Chris has all the tools. He needs a little dog in him.''
UM offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said that he didn't really care about "super rah-rah guys.''
"That stuff lasts for a certain amount of time. We want guys that the team responds to when they speak.''
UM coach Mark Richt told WQAM recently that Herndon was "going to be a great pro.''
"He's a very good run-blocker,'' Richt said. "He's the best pass-protecting tight end I've ever been around. There are some things that fans don't really see, but coaches do. So he can play a true on-the-line tight end. A lot of tight ends are just glorified receivers, but he can play that and he can play a true fullback position if need be. And he can still split out.''