#Fulla5 w/ Auburn great Will Herring (@wherring54)

So, who better for my first ever #Fulla5 interview (5 questions) than 8 year NFL veteran and former Auburn standout Will Herring? I couldn’t think of anyone. He’s just a super guy. Throw in the fact that, like me, he’s an Opelika boy, and he was the perfect choice.

Will H and me

He played 8 years in the NFL and I played 8 days at Opelika Junior High, so we’re basically the same guy.

Will recently went to work as a mortgage banker with Ameris Bank and is also one of the owners of The AU Club. He’s also very active in the community with organizations such as Youth For Christ. He is one busy guy.

He lives in Auburn with his wife Ashley and their three beautiful children.

At Auburn, he earned letters each year from 2003-2006 while playing safety before moving to outside linebacker his senior season. Upon his departure from The Plains, he held the school’s career record with 49 consecutive starts. He was selected in the 5th round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He went on to play for the Saints and Rams, too. But his life is so much more than football.

1) How does banking compare to football? What’s more rewarding, sacking a quarterback or approving someone for their first home loan?

I can honestly say I didn’t grow up thinking I wanted to be a mortgage banker after playing in the NFL. However, both can be very fulfilling. Making a big hit to spark the defense is pretty cool, but it’s also pretty gratifying helping someone buy the home of their dreams.  It’s easy to let what you do define who you are. While playing football was a lot of fun, I tried to keep it in perspective. Faith, family, and friends last a lifetime. I always knew my football career would end.

Will Seahawks

* http://amerisbankmortgage.com/banker/WillHerring

2) The family keeps growing. Now you have little Isaiah. To you, how are baby boys different from baby girls? How has the faith that you and Ashley share impacted your decision to adopt?

I always heard boys were way more of a handful than girls. Well, besides Isaiah being twice the size of his sisters at 11 months, he’s pretty laid back. He will hit you with a mean head butt though if you’re not careful. Years ago, The Lord put it on Ashley’s heart to adopt. He has blessed up beyond our dreams with 3 beautiful children, two of which are through adoption.

Will Herring family

3) Is Auburn the uncrowned 2004 National Champions? What’s your fondest memory from your times on “The Plains” and why? (USC was stripped of their BCS title due to infractions involving Reggie Bush.)

I think we’re ok with just being 2004 SEC Champs. Sure, we all wish we’d have gotten a shot, but it is what it is. 13-0. No regrets. I think my favorite memory was beating Tennessee up in Knoxville pretty handedly. That was the game where we realized that this was a special team.

*By the way, if you haven’t heard Will’s 2013 pre-game Iron Bowl speech, watch this. It’ll give you chill bumps. @WarBlogle added it to the highlights following the game, which was one of the most exciting finishes in the history of college football. #KickSix

4) What are your fondest memories from growing up in Opelika?

Going to eat breakfast at Tyler’s with my dad and brother after freezing all morning in a deer stand.

*I love that he keeps it so simple. Family. That’s what it’s all about.

5) So what’s new at the AU Club?

The AU Club has got a lot of great things going on. We’ve hired Robert Hines as our new chef for Clubhouse Restaurant and he’s been incredible! The restaurant is open to the public. We’re slowing chipping away at a few minor renovations in the restaurant to enhance the dining experience.

  • The list of improvements include:
  • wine lockers for members
  • replacing carpet with hardwood flooring
  • addition of historic Auburn artwork throughout
  • replacing current countertop with concrete counter top

Now that the weather has warmed up, golf is in full swing and summer is just around the corner!

*AUGolfClub.com

Be sure to follow Will (wherring54) and AU Golf Club on Twitter.

Thanks for your time, Will. War Eagle, Go Dawgs, and God Bless!

Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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The #IronBowl is Upon Us (#Auburn #Alabama)

*Note: This is from last year but much of it rings true this year, too, except instead of Alabama being #2 and Auburn being 3-8 on the season, we’re looking at #1 vs #4. War Eagle!

I was just six months old when the underdog Auburn Tigers defeated the #2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the famous “Punt Bama Punt” game of 1972, yet I remember it as if was yesterday. Ok, perhaps that is a little far-fetched but I do remember most of the games between the Tigers and the Tide known simply as the “Iron Bowl.”

I’m an Auburn man, albeit by way of Auburn University at Montgomery; however, my money went to and my grades came from Samford Hall on the main campus. So, like I said, I’m an Auburn man.

Trying to take a little Auburn home with me from the Auburn Arena.

Trying to take a little Auburn home with me from the Auburn Arena.

The fact that I’m an Auburn man and fan defies all logic. My mom, dad, and brother were all Alabama fans. After the “Punt Bama Punt” game, the Tide went on to whip the Tigers for the next nine consecutive years, winning a few national championships along the way. The streak was snapped in 1982 when a young man named “Bo” went over the top to solidify a 23-22 win for Auburn.

"Bo Over the Top" from the '82 Iron Bowl (photo courtesy of yarbroughandassociates.com)

“Bo Over the Top” from the ’82 Iron Bowl (photo courtesy of yarbroughandassociates.com)

My loyalty and love for Auburn can only be explained as an act of God. I am always thankful for God’s grace.

Thanks to the nine game winning streak, Alabama leads the series 41-34-1. Since 1981, Bear Bryant’s penultimate season in coaching and Pat Dye’s inaugural season as head coach on the Plains, Auburn has a 17-14 lead in the series. Auburn’s six game winning streak from 2002-2007 certainly padded that record. In other words, the series is like a couple of Siamese Twins in a nudist colony; it is close and can be streaky.

To say that some people take the rivalry seriously is the understatement of a lifetime. Many years ago, while working at Kroger, I jokingly told a customer that I could not take his check. After a quick back and forth, I told him it was due to the check’s Crimson Tide logo. I can’t say in this column what he said to me but it was enough to make a sailor cringe and a Kroger cashier’s stutter increase dramatically. I sometimes wonder if the name on that check was Harvey Updyke.

During my three deployments to Iraq, Auburn went undefeated on two different occasions. More importantly, they were 3-0 versus their in state rivals. I’ve actually had friends and family inquire about the possibility of me deploying for a short period of time each year around Thanksgiving. Sure, they claim they are just kidding but there is a grain of truth to just about everything; in this case, perhaps a few grains.

Rolling Iraq with my pal Richard after Auburn's 28-27 win in 2010.

Rolling Iraq with my pal Richard after Auburn’s 28-27 win in 2010.

Much like 1972, no one is giving Auburn a chance against the #2 ranked Tide in the 2012 “Iron Bowl.” Will Auburn win the game? Well, I’m no betting man, but I can certainly hope for the best. One has to look no further than Buster Douglas, King David, or the Karate Kid for examples of those who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to do the impossible.

To a certain extent, we’re all underdogs but we all have the innate ability to reach down deep to overcome just about any challenge thrown our way. On November 24, Auburn will have to reach down deeper than the Grand Canyon to have a shot at Bama but crazier things have happened, and that, as they say, is why they play the game.

(In case you missed it, Alabama won 49-0. Yikes!)

I love football as much as the next guy but when the final whistle blows, I hope we all remember that it’s just a game. Be that as it may, someone please let me know what happens. I’m trying to board the next flight to Afghanistan.

I’m ALL IN.

War Eagle!

Jody Fuller is a comic, a speaker, writer, and a soldier. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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