There is a lot to be afraid of when looking at the Wisconsin Badgers defense this year. Linebacker Leo Chenal is gunning for All-America honors, nose tackle Keeanu Benton swallows blockers whole, Faion Hicks is putting the clamps on wide receivers week in and week out, but the scariest member of the defense might just be outside linebacker Nick Herbig.
While those of us who follow the team closely knew that the former 4-star OLB from Honolulu was talented, the rest of the country did not. Until Saturday against Iowa.
Ready to have a sophisticated discussion about Nick Herbig being one of the Big Ten’s elite pass rushers.— Ben Kenney (@benzkenney) October 31, 2021
Friend of the blog, and handsome Philadelphia Eagles fan, Ben Kenney, of the Locked on Badgers podcast among other UW related things, posted the above tweet on Saturday night and, well, he’s right. Herbig is one of the best pass rushers in the conference already. Against Iowa on Saturday afternoon, Herbig recorded six tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
He was a menace to Iowa’s offensive line all game and had to be accounted for wherever he lined up. He has become a player that offensive coordinators and tackles lose sleep over while preparing during the week.
On the season, Herbig leads the team with six sacks, is third with eight tackles for loss and fourth with 34 total tackles. In case you thought he was just a guy who pins his ears back and gets after the quarterback, Herbig also has four passes broken up on the year, which is second on the team. Lastly, he has a forced fumble (which was recovered by Benton on Saturday) and a fumble recovery.
He is, quite literally, a defensive monster.
Fellow outside linebacker, and veteran leader on the team, Noah Burks knows that Herbig is important to the team’s success this year. From BadgerBlitz’s Jake Kocorowski ($):
“He’s got so much energy that he brings, and I think an area where he’s really stepped up is being a vocal leader,” Burks said. “We understand how passionate that Nick is about this game, and we call his number a lot. We ask him to do a lot, and he definitely shows up and makes plays all the time.”
The Badgers control their own destiny in the Big Ten West after their blowout of Iowa and the main reasons is how well Herbig and the rest of the dominant defense have played so far. With one month remaining in the regular season, let’s hope that Herbig continues to spook opposing quarterbacks all the way to the Big Ten title game.