Kirk Herbstreit on sons playing at Clemson: "I am tickled to death"


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Herbstreit talks to the media Wednesday night at the College Football Awards Show
Herbstreit talks to the media Wednesday night at the College Football Awards Show

ATLANTA, GA – Kirk Herbstreit is very protective over his family, especially twin sons Jake and Tye, seniors in high school who are about to embark on their own college football journey. When it came time to pick a school for the twins to play, Herbstreit knew of only a few coaches around the country he would trust with his sons.

Dabo Swinney turned out to be the guy.

Herbstreit is the lead college football analyst for ABC/ESPN and he was in Atlanta Wednesday afternoon as part of the ESPN College Football Awards Show, which is being held at the College Football Hall of Fame.

In an exclusive interview with TigerNet, Herbstreit spoke briefly about the decision to let his sons play at Clemson.

“They went to a football camp last summer at Clemson and had a great time,” Herbstreit told TigerNet. "I think they raised the eyebrows of the coaches and the coaches stayed in touch with my boys. I’ve watched them (Clemson) go from being on the outside to in that upper tier, and not just the last couple of years. It goes back to them beating LSU in the (Chick-fil-A) bowl game; from that point on, go back and look at the names of the schools they’ve beaten. And I think they’re still gaining momentum.”

Jake is a 6-0, 175-pound defensive back while Tye is a 5-11, 160-pound wide receiver at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. The twins recently made the decision to accept a preferred walk-on offer from the Tigers and will start Clemson next spring.

The Tigers are ranked second nationally in the College Football Playoff poll and will play No. 3 Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl as part of the playoff semifinals on Dec. 29th at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. The winner will advance to play the winner of the Orange Bowl, which pits Alabama against Oklahoma.

Swinney’s Tigers have won four consecutive ACC Championships and are appearing in a fourth consecutive College Football Playoff, but Herbstreit knows Clemson – and Swinney – are about more than just football.

“For me, there are maybe seven or eight coaches that I would green light for my kids to go play for,” Herbstreit said. “Especially in this type of situation, where they are preferred walk-ons. And obviously, Clemson is one of the first ones I would say that is a great situation. I am tickled to death and I can’t wait to go forward from here.”

Tye told TigerNet last week that plenty of schools made overtures, but Clemson is the perfect fit.

“We had a lot of schools on our minds. I guess just after we went to Clemson football camp,” Tye said. “It was definitely one of the schools I wanted to go to and I wanted to check out. At the end of that camp, Coach Jeff Scott came up to me and said he was going to offer us preferred walk-on spots.

“I thought that was really cool. We also got preferred walk-on offers after that. That kind of led to other preferred walk-ons and interest from other schools like USC but after meeting the coaches and going on our unofficial visit and meeting Dabo we just think it is the perfect fit for us. We are just really blessed to possibly be a part of such a great program.”

Jake told TigerNet that he took a cue from Kirk when learning about Clemson.

“When they started becoming a bigger name in college football and started to get traction, my dad was always telling us how disciplined all the Clemson guys are and how Coach Swinney is such a great coach and how he is building something special over there,” Jake said. “Before they even offered us, we just always had a respect for that school.”


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