Cardinal freshman guard Nate Herbig was named to ESPN.com’s True Freshman All-America Team earlier this week after becoming the first true freshman offensive lineman to start in Palo Alto since 2012. Herbig’s presence pushed Stanford through its final five games without a loss (5-0).
Let’s talk straight for a minute: Stanford’s running game took a lot of hard hits in early and middle parts of the season. Lack of cohesion between a new mix of guys on the offensive line and an ill-timed injury to Christian McCaffrey put the Cardinal hopes of a bowl berth seriously in doubt.
The 6-foot-4, 350-pound Hawaii native known affectionately to his teammates as “Big Island” was pressed into action at guard in place of injured redshirt senior captain Johnny Caspers against Arizona. Miraculously, things began to turn around. Herbig even got in on defense, forcing a fumble on an interception by Arizona’s Dane Cruikshank.
The Cardinal rushing attack, with McCaffrey and Bryce Love finally back at full strength, came alive, averaging 322.8 yards per game over the final stretch.
Here are some of Herbig’s best blocks, most of them springing McLovin for big-gainers.