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Former Wisconsin Football Star Nick Herbig Making His Presence Known in the NFL



Former Wisconsin football outside linebacker Nick Herbig of the Pittsburgh Steelers
Aug 19, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Nick Herbig (51) breaks off of the line of scrimmage against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Herbig is just 40 preseason snaps into his rookie season. Generally, you don’t put a whole lot of stock into preseason snaps for a rookie. But the Wisconsin football product has been making waves on social media with his play.

As Badger fans, we all know what Nick Herbig can do on the football field. It’s not very often that a player gets considerable playing time in the Wisconsin football program as a true freshman. He quickly became the Badgers’ top pass-rushing threat. In his three years in Madison, he had 21 sacks in just 31 games, including 11 last season.

The Badgers hadn’t had a pass-rusher like this since they had T.J. Watt from 2014-2016. Herbig, actually, was much more productive.

I think a lot of Wisconsin fans were surprised when he lasted to the fourth round in the NFL Draft this past spring. What’s not surprising, however, is where Herbig landed.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, or the Pittsburgh Badgers or Wisconsin Badgers East, as many Wisconsin football fans like to call them, took Herbig and added him to their collection of former Wisconsin Badgers on the team. Who better could Herbig learn from that T.J. Watt? It’s almost too perfect.

Nick Herbig could be the next big NFL pass rusher from the Wisconsin football team

The Wisconsin football team has quietly put a number of solid pass-rushers into the NFL over the past decade. Granted, a couple of them are Watts. But there is also Andrew Van Ginkel, Zack Baun, and now potentially, Nick Herbig.

Herbig made a splash in his first preseason appearance. He played in just 13 total snaps and recorded two sacks. He earned an 89.9 (elite) overall grade from PFF. His performance in his first game against the Buccaneers drew the attention of a lot of people around the internet, including NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger. Baldinger is popular for breaking down individual players’ game film. One preseason game into Herbig’s career and Baldinger is already asking if the Steelers got a ‘steal’ in the draft.

The rookie continued his play into his second game against the Buffalo Bills. He played 27 snaps and recorded another sack. This sack was impressive because he was able to bend and get below the tackle’s arms and get around him so quickly that the lineman had no chance.

Trevor Sikkema, who is a very well-known and well-respected writer for ProFootball Focus shared a clip of this play calling his move ‘filthy.’ After watching the play, I don’t know if you could come up with a better word to describe the move by Herbig.

Some are already dubbing Herbig as the next T.J. Watt, or T.J. Watt 2.0. The Steelers just signed Alex Highsmith to a 4-year, $68 million extension before camp. He and Watt are already a dynamic pass-rushing duo. Adding in Herbig gives the Steelers an embarrassment of riches if he really is the next great edge rusher from the Wisconsin football program.

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Christian Borman was born and raised in Wisconsin and covers the Badgers football and basketball programs, plus some recruiting for He previously covered the Wisconsin Badgers for years as the site expert for Badger of Honor of the Fansided Network.