New to the Wisconsin Badgers football team this year is Nick Herbig, an Outside linebacker from Honolulu, Hi. Hailing from St. Louis School, Herbig stands at 6-2, 215 pounds. He was also the Defensive Player of the Year in Hawaii in 2019.
Herbig, a 4-star recruit out of high school, tallied Division I offers from UCLA, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Oklahoma before the Badgers offered him. Three days after he was offered by Wisconsin, he committed to the Badgers.
Herbig’s pedigree is present not just in his physical size, but also can be seen in his family. His older brother, Nate, is an NFL offensive lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles. The elder Herbig went to Stanford University and earned all-Pac-12 honors two years in a row. When UW classes were halted for the coronavirus pandemic, Nate took the opportunity to train with his older brother.
"Me and Nate trained every day. He was really hard on me and he pushed me to my limits,” the younger Herbig told uwbadgers.com. “He was definitely my biggest coach and mentor growing up. He showed me the ropes."
Though it has yet to be seen whether his skills and talents will carry over to the collegiate level which has more complex and defined offensives compared to high school, coaches and players alike have raved about Herbig.
“Nick is talented. I think what sticks out is that he loves playing the game of football,” said Head Coach Paul Chryst. “He loves being coached. He wants to be coached and become the best he can be. He goes a hundred miles-per-hour and puts it out there. He wants to be a contributor to a good defense and a good team.”
Chryst is not the only coach who likes what he is seeing from Herbig. Outside Linebacker Coach Bobby April also had high praise for the Hawaii native.
"He is a violent, ferocious football player," raved April. "Who will do anything to be successful."
Herbig’s pedigree and mindset is undoubtedly impressive, but he recognizes that he still has areas to improve in.
“I’m kind of undersized for my position, so I need to know my assignment,” said Herbig. “I feel physically ready. I played with great teammates at Saint Louis – it was just like here. Everyone is pushing each other to get better. So, you have to make sure you’re coming to work every day, you’re coming locked in.”
Herbig’s drive and motivation to get better is exactly what the badger defense needs from young players. The transition from high school to college can be extremely difficult for some players; Luckily Herbig has some great mentors on the team to look for advice, inspiration, and drive.
“Izayah [Green-May] has helped me out too. He’s always there for me. If I have a question, I go to him and we definitely push each other every day,” said Herbig. “We’re always trying to get better. If I’m having a bad day, he tries to bring me up and bring the energy.”
Herbig is the only true freshman to appear on the Badgers’ two-deep depth chart, where he sits behind Green-May at the outside linebacker spot. Given the hype surrounding him, expect Herbig to get significant snaps if the Badgers manage to pull away from the Illini Friday night.