Brenham CB Eric Hemphill forcing schools to take notice
While the 2020 college football season has officially come to an end, the world of football recruiting continues on in overdrive.
Today, we head over to what is known as “The Birthplace of Texas,” out in Washington County. Just south of College Station and in-between the talent hotbed of Houston and Austin, one finds the city of Brenham where cornerback Eric Hemphill is a star for the Brenham Cubs.
The 2022 football star stands at 5-foot-11 and weighs in at 187 pounds.
As a sophomore, Hemphill was named first team All-District and District Newcomer of the Year for District 13-5A. He led his district in interceptions and was second in kickoff return average, en route to returning two for touchdowns.
He continued to excel this season and following his junior year, Hemphill earned unanimous All-District honors.
A dual-sport star who also runs track for Brenham, Hemphill is currently ranked by 247Sports as the No. 39 cornerback in the nation and the No. 61 overall player in the state of Texas. He currently holds offers from Illinois State, Kansas and Memphis.
Even though his high school football season has come to a close, the off season may even be more intense for Hemphill. In addition to running track, he is back developing his gridiron grit as a member of one of Texas’ elite 7-on-7 clubs, the Fast 7v7 where he is coached by Ro Simon.
The Houston-based Simon, founder and director of Fast 7v7, is known for training some of the nation’s top football prospects including Alabama star Jaylen Waddle. In fact, when Jimbo Fisher was hired by A&M, one of the first two visits he made was to see Simon.
Mike Roach of 247Sports watched Hemphill earlier this month at the Pylon 7v7 competition and was impressed with Hemphill’s performance.
“Hemphill was one of the more solid nickel defenders I saw today. He plays with great technique and quickness and he shows strong reaction skills in coverage. Quick enough to cover slots but fast enough to play deep, Hemphill was one of the most versatile defenders on the day.”
Mike Roach, 247 Sports, on Eric Hemphill
Brenham’s Eric Hemphill is one of the most versatile defenders I’ve seen. Can play inside or outside with quickness and is rarely out of position. pic.twitter.com/6wGdGtjQ45
— Mike Roach (@MikeRoach247) January 10, 2021
In a time where the recruiting norms have been disrupted, if you want to stay in the game you have to find a way to keep on trucking and that is exactly what Hemphill is doing each day.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Brenham head coach Eliot Allen and with Eric Hemphill.
Brenham High School Head Coach Eliot Allen
The Rebel Walk: Can you tell our readers about your football background?
Coach Eliot Allen: This was my third season as head coach in Brenham. Prior to that, I spent 16 years as the head coach at Houston Stratford High School where I was lucky enough to coach two first-round draft picks. I have also been fortunate to have made the Texas High School playoffs for 15 straight years as a head coach.
The Rebel Walk: What has been the biggest change you have had to adapt to as a coach and a team to still thrive and remain motivated during this pandemic?
Coach Eliot Allen: Coaching through COVID has probably been the most challenging thing I have done since I started coaching. We spend so much time trying to follow protocols with our players and coaches. The scary part is you are one positive test away from losing players or coaches. Everything is very unpredictable and mostly out of your control.
The Rebel Walk: What has been the most valuable takeaway you have had coaching during this time?
Coach Eliot Allen: I think we all sometimes take for granted that we get to play and coach this game. Knowing that we almost didn’t get to play this season makes all of us truly appreciate the opportunity to compete on the football field.
The Rebel Walk: What is your football philosophy? In a few words describe your program motto?
Coach Eliot Allen: We want to be sure that we play the game with great fundamentals. We always strive to “play the next play.”
The Rebel Walk: When did you know Eric Hemphill could play ball at the collegiate level?
Coach Eliot Allen: Watching Eric play as a freshman in high school, it was evident that he had a lot of talent. I liked the way he carried himself and he was clearly very fast. I also think Eric possesses great confidence and always wants to be locked up on the opponent’s best receiver.
2022 Brenham DB Eric Hemphill is a major sleeper prospect
Film backs up the eye test, he’s balled out the last two seasons.
— Tim Verghese (@TimVerghese) January 3, 2021
The Rebel Walk: What does Eric do to set himself apart?
Coach Eliot Allen: He is always on his WR like glue. When he does get interceptions, he can create explosive returns.
The Rebel Walk: What kind of program do you think Eric would find the most success in?
Coach Eliot Allen: I think he would like to be in a program that will allow him to grow as a player and a man. I know he likes winning so that is important as well. I would think he would want the ability to play some man to man coverage.
The Rebel Walk: Texas is a such a hotspot for elite HS football talent. What do you think sets Eric apart that will get him noticed this upcoming season?
Coach Eliot Allen: I don’t think people realize just how fast Eric can run. He works extremely hard on his craft and I think you will see an even better version next year.
The Rebel Walk: What is the top advice you give to your athletes during recruitment?
Coach Eliot Allen: Stay humble and don’t chase offers. I have had many players that have gone on to play Division I football and the players who focus on getting better every day and have a desire to be great, always do much better.
The Rebel Walk: What would be the first song you are listening to while gearing up for practice and on gameday?
Coach Eliot Allen: I guess I’m always forced to listen to what the players like.
— Ryan Brauninger (@R_Brauninger) January 3, 2021
The Rebel Walk: What would be your hashtag to describe your football recruitment?
Hemphill: Trust the process.
The Rebel Walk: What has been the biggest change you have had to adapt to in your recruitment this year to remain motivated and thrive?
Hemphill: Just play ball and everything will work out for itself.
The Rebel Walk: At what sort of program do you see yourself being able to thrive most?
Hemphill: Family environment and school that lets me show what I can do.
The Rebel Walk: What are your top qualities as a player and a person that you want potential coaches and programs to know?
Hemphill: Coachable guy, works hards, nice young man.
The Rebel Walk: This year it seems that dual and multi-sport athletes are on the rise. How has being a multi-sport athlete helped your athletic ability? Do you plan to continue to pursue other sports outside of football? Will that play a role in potential recruiting choices?
Hemphill: Yes, I do I want to keep on running track at the next level. It helped me out in the past. I think it will keep on helping me in the future.
TheRebel Walk: What outside of football will be the biggest influence as you build on your recruiting offers?
The Rebel Walk: What schools are on your radar right now?
Hemphill: Memphis, Kansas, SMU, and TCU, etc.
The Rebel Walk: Who’s been your biggest influence(s) in your high school career?
Hemphill: (Coach) Rokaine (Simon), Coach Taylor, my coaching staff, and family.
The Rebel Walk: What pro or college athletes do you look up to?
Hemphill: Marshon Lattimore
The Rebel Walk: It’s evident that football is your passion and your willingness to push the limits is clear. You train and get to play with some of Texas’ top elite talent as a member of FastHouston 7V7 under Coach Ro Simon. How has that helped you elevate your game?
Hemphill: It helped me out a lot since my freshman year, made me a way better player and man. You just see players you’re not going to see in high school.
The Rebel Walk: What skills do you think you could bring to an SEC defense or secondary that would make you stand out?
Hemphill: My speed and my technique. I feel like I have one of the best techniques in my class.
The Rebel Walk: What is your top advice you would give to fellow athletes during recruitment?
Hemphill: Just work.
The Rebel Walk: What are some of the things you enjoy doing when you’re not playing football?
Hemphill: Watching TV, reading and working out.
The Rebel Walk: What is your go-to get hype song you listen to during football season?
Hemphill: Anything J Cole or Lil Uzi. They are my favorites so I am always listening to them.
What could Eric bring to the Sip?
Hemphill’s blazing speed and his versatility as a defender are key to what he will bring to a team. He has some of the most solid technique at his position we have seen in a while.
If you don’t know Eric Hemphill right now, trust me it will only be a matter of time before the SEC and other Power 5 schools will have this kid on their radar to play on Saturdays in the fall.
Lee Ann is the Director of Recruiting for The Rebel Walk. She is a veteran SEC sports journalist and NFL content writer. She is also the Sr. Editor for MESPORTS digital. Herring-Olvedo is a Brown University graduate who loves good cigars, good games, and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order.