It’s no secret that ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit is an admirer of Dabo Swinney and the program he’s turned into a perennial national title contender.
But Herbstreit’s twin sons are quite fond of Swinney and the Tigers, too. So much so, in fact, that they wanted to join the team.
Last Wednesday, on National Signing Day, Swinney and Clemson officially welcomed Jake and Tye Herbstreit into the program as preferred walk-ons.
“To me, that’s pretty cool,” Swinney said of having the Herbstreit brothers on board. “That’s a great compliment that Kirk signed off on his kids to come to Clemson.”
Jake is a 6-foot, 175-pound defensive back, while Tye is a 6-foot, 170-pound wide receiver. The twins played prep football at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tenn.
Swinney has gotten to know their dad over the years, of course, as the longtime ESPN College GameDay personality and color commentator for ABC’s primetime college football games has been around Swinney’s program a lot.
From having talked with Kirk, Swinney knew that Jake and Tye wanted to be a part of a big-time college football team.
“He let me know early that they wanted to go to a big school and walk-on,” Swinney said. “They were going to have some smaller offers, but they really wanted to go to a bigger school and kind of get that experience. I knew that early, and so we got them in camp, and I had an opportunity to spend time with them.”
Swinney admitted that it was unique to recruit Jake and Tye, simply because of who their father is. At the same time, though, Clemson’s head coach said he didn’t handle their recruitment any differently than other prospects.
Swinney needed to see that the two were good enough to join the program as preferred walk-ons, and he saw just that when they participated in a full three-day session of the Swinney Camp last June.
“We really didn’t go about it any different than we would anybody else,” Swinney said. “The biggest thing for them is, first of all, they had to be good enough to be a preferred walk-on for us. We have tryouts and we have all these different avenues that guys can get on the team, but when we bring in preferred guys, there’s a whole process that goes into that.”
Jake and Tye grew up as diehard fans of Ohio State, where their father was a four-year letter winner as a quarterback for the Buckeyes from 1989-93.
However, the Herbstreit brothers will be spending the next several years at a different blue-blood program, and Swinney is happy to have them on board.
“When you grow up like they’ve grown up – just like my kids growing up – they’ve been around a lot,” Swinney said. “They’ve seen it all, they’ve heard it all. They’ve been around every coach, every player… They get it. They have a little different perspective. So do his kids because they’ve been on every college campus, they’ve been around coaches, they’ve been around locker rooms, they’ve been around it…
“So, it’s neat that they wanted to be a part of what we have here. I think that’s a great compliment to the locker room.”
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