Jake Herres: The go-to guy for VMI

jake herres vmi
VMI wide receiver Jake Herres. Photo by Randall K Wolf/courtesy VMI Athletics.

It would be hard to improve upon the 1,000+-yard season that VMI wideout Jake Herres had in 2019, but he did.

In VMI’s historic spring 2021 season, Herres, a 6’4” rising senior, upped his catches per game (8.0, from 6.0 in 2019) and yards per game (122.3, from 90.9 in 2019).

And that was with opposing defensive coordinators knowing that Herres was already a focal point of the VMI offense.

It’s hard to key on Herres in offensive coordinator Bill Cosh’s four- and five-receiver sets, because if you do focus on him, that means one-on-one coverage for his supporting cast.

“And we’ve got a great supporting cast for him,” coach Scott Wachenheim said. “Leroy Thomas, he’s having a great camp, and Mike Jackson, Chance Knox really came back bigger and stronger for his sophomore year. And then we’ve got depth – Dre Cooper, and then the young freshman, Caleb Washington has really stepped up his game, as well as Julio DaSilva.

“We’re deep at wide receiver, as deep as we’ve ever been, so I think our threats at other places will help Jake work on one-on-one stuff and get open, but can’t say enough for what a tremendous competitor he is. He leads by example. He works hard every day in practice,” Wachenheim said.

Sophomore QB Seth Morgan went to Herres early and often when he stepped in Week 5 as the starter for VMI. Herres averaged 11.8 catches and 125.5 yards per game with Morgan under center as VMI made its run toward the program’s first-ever playoff berth in the spring.

“I mean, he’s just a dominant force. In man coverage, I’ll take him against any matchup. And, you know, he’s just such a competitive person as a whole. If we run 60 plays on offense, he wants the ball 60 times, that’s just the type of player he is,” Morgan said.

“There’s going to be weeks when the defense gameplan is double-teaming, and he loves that, because he knows somebody else is going to be open,” Morgan said. “He knows his role, and he knows the responsibility that he has with our offense, and knowing that he’s going to be the guy down the stretch that we’re going to. And you know, he just, he loves football. And when you have a guy like that, who just loves to go out there and play, it’s great as a quarterback knowing that, you know, if I’m in a jam, I can go to him, and he’s going to take care of me.”

Herres is ready for what opposing Ds throw at him.

“The approach is just keep doing me,” Herres said. “I’m sure Coach Cosh has some things that even with double-teams and stuff like that, I can still get my targets, but I’m not worried about that at all. Honestly at this point, if I’m just if I can be a decoy and take another defender out of that picture, and the other guys work one-on-one, I have full confidence in the rest of them to do a better job. Chance Knox, Leroy Thomas, Michael Jackson, all of them, they can win their one-on-one matchups, and if they can all win one-on-one matchups, they can’t put two on me, so I think that makes it better for everybody.”

Story by Chris Graham

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