INDIANAPOLIS – Amarlo Herrera knows to play early in his NFL career, the reps are going to come doing the dirty work.
After four years of being Georgia's indispensable inside linebacker, Herrera is realistic when looking at his rookie season.
Now, in an inside linebacker's room with three proven starters, and after being chosen in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Herrea's early life in the NFL is likely going to come on special teams, an area Georgia could not afford to risk on.
"We really tried to keep him off (special teams)," Georgia linebackers and special teams coach Mike Ekeler said on CBS Radio in Indianapolis last week.
"(Herrera) played on a couple of different special team units early on but as the season went on we tried, from a defensive purpose, we took him off (special teams). He did not come off the field for us, not one play on defense. He played in every situation."
Herrera's value to the Bulldogs came from four years as a starting linebacker, piling up 334 tackles in 43 career starts.
Starting as a true freshman in 2011, the 6-1 and 244-pound Herrera proved too valuable for Georgia not to play him immediately.
Ekeler didn't arrive to Georgia until Herrera's senior season but the assistant coach quickly saw why he was walking into a linebackers room led by a then three-year starter.
"No. 1, (Herrera) loves the game," Ekeler said. "He loves to play. He loves practice. He loves to compete.
"He was first team All-SEC, led the conference in tackles. He had one heck of a year (2014). The thing about Amarlo is he's extremely intelligent and he's one of those guys that made every call, every check. He's got a really, really high football IQ."
Making calls and checks at the next level began over the weekend for Herrera.
During the Colts three-day rookie mini-camp, Herrera was in the middle of it all.
Herrera now begins integrating himself with veteran linebackers D'Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman this week.
The first year in the NFL for Herrera might not include the same amount of playing time as his first in college, but Ekeler is sure the Colts will not be disappointed in the player, and person, they took at pick No. 207.
"He's extremely high character, great teammate and all he wants to do is win," Ekeler said of Herrera. "He just wants to do whatever it takes to win. I consider him a big-time character guy.
"I'm confident the Colts are getting a good player."