Kirk Herbstreit will have a rooting interest in the Clemson Tigers next season. The former Ohio State quarterback turned lead play-by-play announcer for ESPN’s college football broadcasts has said his twin sons plan to walk on to play for Dabo Swinney at Clemson in the fall.
Herbstreit’s sons will be preferred walk ons, which means they will be guaranteed a spot on the roster at the start of camp, rather than having to go through tryouts to make the team. The two 18-year-olds played high school football at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. Tye is a wide receiver and Jake is a quarterback.
In December, Herbstreit talked on ESPN’s College Gameday about why his sons will be attending Clemson. He gave the credit to the Tigers head coach, Swinney.
“They’re going there as preferred walk-ons and a big part of that has to do with the culture. As a dad and as a broadcaster, I’ve been lucky enough to get behind the scenes at Clemson the last few years,” Herbstreit said on ESPN, according to 24/7 Sports. “I’ve been blown away by the culture that Dabo has created. It’s not just Dabo. It’s the entire staff — the secretaries, the trainers, the team doctors, the SID. It’s different when you go to Clemson and you need to go there to really see it and understand it.”
Herbstreit added, “And that’s a credit to him and his leadership. Another mark of a great coach to me, whether you’re the start quarterback or just a guy trying to make the team, you’re treated the same. I think it goes back to his own experience at Alabama as a player. He runs his program through the eyes of that player who was at Alabama.”
Another one of Herbstreit’s sons, Zak, will be a junior at Montgomery Bell Academy next season. Despite being busy on weekends with his broadcasting gig, Herbstreit has made an effort to be at as many of his sons games as possible. And he hopes to continue to do so next year.
“I’ll have [son] Zak playing [at MBA] as a junior, and Jake and Tye going over to Clemson,” Herbstreit told Fox Nashville. “”We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it. These are all really good problems to have. My goal is to be there for anything I can be.”
Herbstreit and his wife, Allison Herbstreit, have four sons altogether. His other son, Chase, is a sixth grader and plays quarterback.
“My favorite time of the week is Friday night watching my guys out there on the field,” Herbstreit told the news station. “I just had to be there, and you only get one chance as a parent to be there for big moments in your kids’ lives.”
According to the Greenville News, Tye Herbstreit is a 5-11, 160-pound wide receiver. His brother, Jake Herbstreit, is a 6-foot, 175-pound defensive back.
Jake Herbstreit and Tye Herbstreit told The Tennessean they appreciate the effor their father makes to be at their games.
“Oh I know (he’s busy),” Jake said. “It doesn’t matter. He has a lot of dedication. He’ll come say, ‘Congrats,’ then he has to run. Every game he can get to, he does.”
Tye told the newspaper, “It’s awesome. It’s really cool to have my dad there. He has to go through so much to make that happen. It’s hard to fathom what he has to go through to get there.”
Zak Herbstreit told The Tennessean the family grew up together playing football. “I love playing catch with him. He’s actually the quarterback I use for game situations. I’m out in the backyard running wheel routes. He’s still got an arm.”