Written by Chris Pendleton and Dinah Rogers
BUENA VISTA, Va.— Sometimes it's hard to juggle academics and athletics, but Lucas Herndon makes it look easy.
A senior from Mechanicsville, Va., Herndon has spent the past four years at Southern Virginia University excelling both on the football field and in the classroom.
Despite his large stature—at 6-0 and 250 pounds he plays nose guard for Southern Virginia’s football team—Herndon is every bit the southern gentleman addressing those around him as “sir” and “ma’am."
When it came time to attend college, Herndon followed in his older brother’s footsteps and chose Southern Virginia—a small private liberal arts college two hours from home that embraces the values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I wanted to attend college and play football, but I also wanted to be around people who shared my values,” said Herndon, who is a devout Southern Baptist. “I wanted to dedicate myself on the field and in the classroom.”
Herndon has done just that.
As a three-year starter, Herndon was a force on Southern Virginia’s front line last season finishing second on the team in total tackles (62), while earning 2011 NAIA All-Independent Second Team honors. Entering his senior campaign, Herndon already ranks second all-time in Southern Virginia football history in quarterback sacks (7.0), fourth all-time in tackles for loss (17.5) and fifth all-time in assisted tackles (55). Prior to this season, USA College Sports, Inc., named Herndon to the 2012 USCAA Pre-season All-American team.
Not just a football player, however, Herndon takes his academics very seriously and became one of the first four football players in university history to earn USCAA national academic honors last spring. A business major, Herndon hopes to enter a career in business communications following graduation and has thoroughly enjoyed every class he's taken from Professor of Business E. Susan Kellog.
“I really admire Dr. Kellog’s ability to teach from more than just the text,” said Herndon. “I love when she teaches from life experiences and I’ve tried to implement that same style with my teammates.”
Coming from a very supportive family—his parents have only missed one of their sons games at Southern Virginia over the past seven years—Herndon is a strong believer in the role that positive encouragement can have on others and has enjoyed imparting his wisdom about football and life to younger players and students.
For Herndon, football at Southern Virginia has been more than just improving as a player, but also as a person. His secret:
“You will succeed in the classroom and on the field if you work hard and keep a positive attitude."