SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit played four years for Ohio State from 1989-1992 and was the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback in 1992.
His father played football for the Buckeyes and coached with Woody Hayes, and he met his wife who was a cheerleader for Ohio State.
Now Herbstreit’s twin sons, Tye and Jake, don the orange and white and will face the No. 2 Buckeyes when third-ranked Clemson marches into the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday evening.
The Herbstreit family is divided at the moment with half the family pulling for the hometown Buckeyes and the other half choosing blood over water to pull for Clemson. Kirk gets the unique opportunity of doing color commentary for the Fiesta Bowl as his sons take on his alma mater.
According to Tye and Jake, their little brothers Chase (13) and Zach (17) gave them plenty of smack talk and motivation over the holiday break.
“Chase is a diehard Buckeye fan and he was talking it up this week,” Jake, a freashman cornerback told The Clemson Insider on Thursday morning. “We want to let the field talk. Ohio State is really good so we just want to do our best out there and are thankful for the opportunity to be in this playoff.”
Chase has been giving Jake and Tye grief for Clemson’s schedule and regurgitating information from the national media. Their other brother, Zak Herbstreit, is a junior in high school and plays linebacker for Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. The twins hope to see their brother join them at Clemson in a couple years but admitted he also gave them grief ahead of Saturday’s game.
“He is a big Ohio State fan, but he has been watching all year and I know he is excited for us,” Tye told TCI. “But me and Jake talk back and forth with him to try and get him to come here in the future.”
Kirk has the easiest road to neutrality as a broadcaster and both twins know how professional he is, but they know somewhere deep down he is conflicted and pulling for his children to succeed.
“My dad is a little bit of everywhere and can’t really have a side in this one but I think he is cheering for us deep down,” Tye said. “He has deep Ohio State roots and I know he’ll be conflicted but I can’t wait to see my family on Saturday after the game.”
The twins pulled for Ohio State growing up and still wish the Buckeyes well when they aren’t the opponent. The opportunity to play against their childhood team is exciting for both Jake and Tye.
“I didn’t think we would play Ohio State but obviously coming from last year this team knew the path and got there,” Jake said. “It is exciting to be there and it’s crazy and almost surreal to be playing Ohio State.”
Jake and Tye chose Clemson over Ohio State to join the team as preferred walk-ons last year and have enjoyed their short time as Tigers. Their dad is on board and glad to have his sons playing for Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
“We were diehard Ohio State fans, too, but when we went to the summer camp two years ago and they offered me a preferred walk-on spot it really opened my eyes to what Clemson was,” Tye said. “I saw the facilities and my dad is really high on Coach Swinney, he’s been a huge mentor for me and Jake and we’ve learned so many life experiences in a short time.”
Clemson kicks off against the Buckeyes at 8 p.m ET in the Fiesta Bowl. The winner moves on to the CFP National Championship Game in New Orleans to face the winner of LSU and Oklahoma from the Peach Bowl.
Clemson is back in the College Football Playoffs once again. Get the latest official Clemson CFP gear right here!