Interview by Sam Webb, story by Josh Henschke
2017 four-star offensive lineman Kai-Leon Herbert is an offensive line participant in The Opening this weekend. The newly-minted Michigan commit is working hard to hone his craft against the top talents the country has to offer.
Many thought it would be too little, too late for the Wolverines to climb back into the race for the Florida native. However, the U-M coaching staff appeared to put an all-out press on him and it certainly made a difference as Herbert gave his pledge to the Wolverines this week.
"Over last couple months to a year I've started building a great relationship with coach Drevno, coach Bush, coach Fisch, coach Harbaugh himself," Herbert told The Michigan Insider. "It's really great, the campus and the facilities are top notch. I see Michigan winning a national championship if not this year but next year. So why not join them?"
Herbert himself said that he considered himself a Florida lean for a long time. However, never count U-M out when it comes to building relationships. The commitment for Herbert can be traced back offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Tim Drevno with the time and effort he spent with Herbert.
"I was a heavy Florida lean for a while," Herbert said. "He started getting in contact with me, I started getting on the phone with him more. Then he came out to one of my spring practices and that was really the whipped cream on top. When I had a chance to talk in person with him, I liked what I was hearing and he liked what he saw. As a coach, he could take me to the next level in football and in life."
Now, with the recruiting process out of the way, Herbert is focused on recruiting for the Maize and Blue. One big fish in particular that's on the radar is his teammate, five-star offensive lineman Tedarrell Slaton.
The two are extremely close and refer to each other as their right and left hand, an homage to where they line up with each other on the offensive line. Herbert and Slaton made an appearance during U-M big man's camp with neither working out for the coaching staff. Herbert obviously left impressed enough to give a pledge a few days later.
Now Herbert's attention has turned to Slaton, who says he really enjoyed his visit and would enjoy playing with him again.
"With T.J. he loved Michigan," Herbert said. "He absolutely loved it. I can't speak for him as a commitment wise but I can see him coming. He's still considering Clemson and Tennesee, all those other schools. But I like my chances with him, I'd definitely love to play with my right hand again."
Has playing with each other at the next level been discussed at all? Herbert says it definitely has and the two of them would love to continue to grow the bond they share in college.
"Yeah definitely," Herbert said. "We've been playing together for two years in high school, me and him have a great bond and everything. That's my brother right there, that's my right hand and I'm his left."