ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit has long had ties to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Growing up in Centerville, Ohio, just an hour west of Columbus, Herbstreit was a four-year letter winner as a quarterback at Ohio State from 1989 to 1993.
Herbstreit’s father, Jim Herbstreit, was also a co-captain of the 1960 Buckeyes team and was later an assistant coach for the program under legendary coach Woody Hayes. With all that taken into consideration, it should come as no surprise that Herbstreit raised his four sons as diehard Ohio State fans.
Despite this, Herbstreit has twin boys, Tye and Jake, who both chose to play collegiately for the Clemson Tigers. On a recent edition of the What’s Next with Eric Wood podcast, Herbstreit was asked if it’s weird seeing his boys play at Clemson.
“(It’s not hard) because of the respect I have for Dabo and for that program, I would love to see them in an Ohio State uniform,” Herbstreit said. “First off, you have kids, your kids go through their own journey. If they choose to play ball, they choose to play ball. And if they don’t, then they don’t. They wanted to play. They went to a summer camp going into their senior year at Clemson and did pretty well. Dabo was like ‘I think we want to offer these guys preferred walk ons.’ Initially, I was like, ‘man, they grew up brainwashed Ohio State kids.’ But the respect, again, that I have for Dabo outweighs everything. Yeah, it was easy. Now, it’s such a thrill just to see them in those uniforms.”
Both Tye and Jake were walk-ons to the Clemson program, with Tye a wide receiver and Jake a safety. Both are redshirt sophomores entering the 2021-22 college football season.
Prior to last year’s bizarre college football season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Herbstreit expanded on his sons’ experiences at Clemson.
“They redshirted last year and were able to participate in not just the home games, but they were able to travel out and be a part of a surreal moment for them against Ohio State in the semifinal game, a team they grew up worshipping. They got to look on the other side and even though they weren’t playing, still surreal to look and see those uniforms. They got to dress in the national championship game and they came up short vs. LSU, but pretty cool for them in their first year to get these two rings that are just massive. So that was really cool.
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“They really feel at home (at Clemson). They really feel good about where they fit in. Dabo called me— we were talking about a number of things and I really stay out of it unless he brings it up, and at the end of the call, he said I just want you to know everybody is really fond of your boys because they are trying to make a name for themselves and they never talk about who they are, and they just want to work and earn their own way. All the players, staff, everybody loves them. And me knowing them, that’s what I would expect from them, but to hear Dabo see that and feel that— he has two boys of his own trying to do the same thing. So things are good, man.”