Story by Brice Marich, interview by Corey Bender
One of the more intriguing storylines heading into Signing Day for the Wolverines is if they can hold onto Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage 2017 four-star offensive tackle Kai-Leon Herbert. The Scout 300 prospect has not hid the fact he’s still looking around and has a few official visits slated for this month.
The first official visit of the month he will take is to Auburn on the 13th. Although the Tigers haven’t been a school mentioned much in his recruitment, Herbert still sees them as a contender for his services.
“I like Coach Herb (Hand) and he is a really great coach from what I’ve seen," said Herbert. "He just tells me that they need linemen, so that’s the reason I’m taking the trip. I could definitely see myself going there. The campus and people of Auburn are really great. It is something to look at.”
Herbert will then travel down to Coral Gables the following weekend for an official visit and check out the Miami Hurricanes, where he’s built solid relationships with several of the coaches.
“Basically the new coaching staff like Coach Richt and Coach Searels (stand out about Miami),” said Herbert. “Those two coaches have really stood out to me and also Coach Rumph, my old high school coach, so they have a really great thing going on over there and they had a really great season this year also winning that bowl game. (They’re telling me) stay home and I can make a difference. They want me to be the difference maker from south Florida and bring a national championship home. Coach Richt and Coach Searels treat me like I am family.”
Finally, Herbert plans on taking his last official visit to Florida on January 27th. The Gators have been a team that been on the in-state lineman’s radar for quite some time even after his commitment to the Wolverines. They have made it a point he’s very much a priority despite his recent injury and still has an opportunity to see the field right away.
“Not a lot of people know this, but I chipped a piece of bone in my shoulder and the University of Florida has been so gracious enough to refer me to doctors,” said Herbert. “Basically what they are saying is that this doesn’t scare them off one bit and still want me to be a part of the family. I can still come in and compete for a starting job.”
So, what will it take for the Maize and Blue to keep the Sunshine State standout in the fold?
“From their standpoint, the way the conduct themselves with me,” said Herbert. “Coach Harbaugh says he trusts me to take other visits and Coach Drevno doesn’t want me to mess up.”
Herbert’s parents accompanied him on his trip up to Ann Arbor back on his official visit, but will get a taste of his other suitors coming up like Florida.
“They see Michigan as a great opportunity for me, but they also haven’t seen the other schools I’m looking at,” said Herbert. “It would have an influence (if they loved the Florida visit), but wouldn’t make me want to go to Florida anymore. That is just for my parents and for them to be comfortable with whatever I decide. They are leaving it up to me.”
When it does come time to make that final decision on whether to stick with Michigan or go to another program, Herbert notes the main factors he will take into consideration.
“Just who is going to show me the most family feel and affection I would say,” said Herbert. “Of course I want to play right away, but I want coaches that are going to like when I mess up I want them to be like yell at me. Not only yell at me, but also bring me back up not only in football or school but also in life.”