One of the best football products to come out of Kauai will soon live out his dream.
Stanford University junior and Kalaheo native Nate Herbig declared for the NFL Draft. Herbig announced his decision to turn pro last month on social media.
“It’s always been a life-long dream for me to play in the NFL,” Herbig said in an interview Thursday from California. “I just felt like the time was right for me to go and chase my dream and to have the opportunity to play on the biggest stage.
Herbig, a 6-foot-4 350-pound offensive guard, said he decided to forgo his senior season because he felt ready to turn pro now.
“It was up in the air. I obviously wasn’t going to leave a great education at Stanford if I didn’t feel like I had a good opportunity,” he said. “I felt personally, for myself, I was ready to play in the NFL. At the end of the season, I felt like I was ready to chase my dream. That’s what I decided to do.”
Among Herbig’s accomplishments during his three years at Stanford, according to Stanford University Athletics, are:
- 2018: All Pac-12 second team, Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention, Outland Trophy (best college football interior lineman) watchlist
- 2017: All-Pac-12 first team, Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention, played 13 games
- 2016: Played 13 games, started six games at left guard, first true freshman to start on offensive line since 2012
“It’s been amazing. The people I’ve met, the friends and connections I made, the time I’ve had was just phenomenal,” Herbig said of his three years at Stanford. “I wouldn’t take any of it back. It’s bittersweet that it came to an end so early, but I’m excited to go forward in my life.”
Herbig, a 2015 alumnus of Saint Louis School in Honolulu, said one of his career highlights was blocking for a couple of outstanding rushers who were Heisman finalists.
“I’m very fortunate I got to block for two exceptional running backs — Bryce Love and Christian McCaffrey. Obviously, he (McCaffrey) is an all-pro running back in the NFL right now, and Bryce is well on his way,” he said. “All I can say is that it’s really my honor that I had the opportunity to block for them.”
A highlight from this past season, he said, was when the Cardinal played at Oregon and rallied to win in overtime.
“This year when we played Oregon and we came back and won from 17 down, that was such a great moment for me and my teammate,” he said.
He added, though, he regrets not playing a full season this past year.
“Due to injury, I wasn’t able to,” he said. “If there’s one thing I could change, it’s just that I was healthy and be able to play the full season because what I really wanted was to be first-team All-American and then end my career. I didn’t quite get that done.”
The 2019 NFL Draft is scheduled for April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn. Herbig plans to spend the draft at home on Kauai with his family.
He wouldn’t say where be projects to be drafted or by which team. He just wants to hear his name called.
“I’ll just be happy to be drafted. I don’t have any predictions,” he said.
He lastly said: “I came a long way. I hope I make Hawaii, most importantly Kauai, proud. I’ll always be a Kauai boy.”
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.