The Stanford 2016 recruiting class comes from all over the world. From California to Louisiana to Austria, the Cardinal coaches covered some ground bringing in the next generation of Stanford football players. Part of those frequent flyer miles were accumulated to bring in Hawaiian recruits offensive lineman Nate Herbig and kicker/punter Jet Toner.
“It's not too often that you hear two boys from Hawaii are playing at a big-time school, especially in one of the big conferences,” Herbig said.
Hawaii has produced some impressive prospects over the years but the isolation of the state, Honolulu is about 2,400 miles from the Stanford campus, can limit the opportunities for players to get noticed.
Thanks to players like USC running back Vavae Malepeai, programs are looking to the island more often.
“People are starting to recognize talent out here in Hawaii. It's a good thing for everybody,” Herbig said.
But the three-star offensive lineman did get noticed by some top-flight programs. He committed to the Cardinal early but decided to re-open his commitment. Then, as Signing Day approached, Herbig recommitted to Stanford. He said his official visit to The Farm is what sealed the deal for him, saying it “all felt home”.
“It’s everything I’ve dreamed of,” Herbig said. “As a kid, I always watch college football and I can't wait to play under the lights, huge crowds.”
Lining up and instilling intellectual brutality also peaked Herbig’s interest.
“That's all me. I love running the ball,” Herbig said. “I’m a physical type, I'm 6-foot-4, 350 pounds. I'm wide, I'm a big guy and run blocking is my thing.
The three-star offensive lineman has the versatility to play guard and center. He said the coaches have talked about him sticking to guard, but is open to plugging in wherever he can along the line.
Herbig is one of six offensive linemen in the 2016 class. Affectionately known as the “Fat Five” - Herbig, Dylan Powell, Devery Hamilton, Henry Hattis and Clark Yarbrough – transformed into the “Thick Six” when walk-on Matthew Gutwald joined the class. Some have compared this group of offensive linemen to the 2012 class consisting of Kyle Murphy, Andrus Peat, Joshua Garnett, Brandon Fanaika, Nick Davidson, Johnny Caspers and Graham Shuler.
Herbig says having a group of highly-touted offensive lineman paired with big expectations will help them put in the work.
“I think that helps us not get complacent on things like weight training because were all competing,” Herbig said. “It helps us work and we can really grow together as a unit. There's a chance all five or six of us can play together, We will have that bond already."
Herbig has big expectations for the group and big expectations for himself, though he knows he has a long way to go to be remembered as one of the top Cardinal offensive linemen.
“I don't want to compare myself to anyone in the NFL or in college,” Herbig said. “Hopefully I can be a player like (former New Orleans Saints offensive linemen) LeCharles Bentley or Olin Kreutz. I wouldn't say I can compare myself to them because they've made it. I still have a lot to do”