In today’s installment of the Recruit Notebook, we meet a valued player who figures to contribute immediately up front: OL Kai-Leon Herbert.
A top local player, Plantation (FL) American Heritage OT Kai-Leon Herbert has been a known commodity on the recruiting path — and HSFB field — for a long time. Heritage has won multiple State Championships recently, and Herbert has been the LT on those teams.
In recent years, there’s been a massive gulf between the University of Miami and American Heritage. Al Golden’s Canes were unable or unwilling to get any Heritage players to The U, although they’ve had several high major prospects to choose from. That discord seemed to continue into the 2017 season, surprising considering Miami CB coach Mike Rumph coached Heritage for years, first as Defensive Coordinator for 2 years, then as Head Coach for 3 years.
Even with his former coach in Coral Gables, Herbert didn’t give the Canes a look. He visited and committed to Michigan in the summer of 2016, and stuck with that commitment for quite a long time.
Things, however, were not all peachy with Herbert and Michigan. Even in the wake of his commitment to Jim Harbaugh’s team, Herbert was linked to Florida, a team that has signed several American Heritage players in recent years. Miami tried to stay in the picture, but that looked to be a futile effort.
That is until Herbert took a visit to Coral Gables. Things had been looking as though Herbert would flip from Michigan to Florida, but the Miami visit vaulted the Canes into prime position to get the talented OL on the roster. Just days after his visit to Miami, Hebert canceled his visit to UF and committed to the Hurricanes after an in-home visit with Mark Richt.
This is a huge, HUGE get for Miami. Herbert was the top target on the OL to pair with 4-star early enrollee Navaughn Donaldson. And, with a focused recruiting plan and flawless execution of that plan, spearheaded by OL coach Stacy Searels, Miami got their man.
For his on-field efforts, Herbert participated in Nike’s The Opening recruiting camp, won a State Championship, was named 1st team All-State in Florida’s 5A classification, and was an Under Armour All-American. Quite the resume, indeed.
On the 247sports composite, Herbert is a 4-star prospect, the #28 OT in this class, the #36 player in the State of Florida, and the #252 player in this class overall. Additionally, Herbert was an Under Armour All-American.
Herbert committed to Miami over 24 other offers, including Michigan, Florida, Auburn, and Georgia.
Herbert as a player
Herbert is a top-tier OL from a powerhouse program. Playing for perennial State Championship contender Plantation (FL) American Heritage, Herbert has received top notch coaching, and played top notch coaching.
At 6’4” 275ish, Herbert has good height and length for Offensive Tackle. Herbert, who was listed at 255 heading into his senior year, could stand to add both weight and strength as he continues to progress as a player.
Herbert has quick feet, and moves well laterally. He is a was very good at LT for Heritage, and participated in both Nike’s The Opening recruiting camp and the Under Armour All-American Game. You don’t get to those events by chance.
Kai-Leon Herbert, nice ability to not get overzealous and as DEs tried to set up outside to get inside he was ready to wash them out— Michael Felder (@InTheBleachers) July 12, 2016
For another look at Herbert, here’s an eval from a HSFB analyst:
Physically, Herbert is ideally proportioned for the LT position. Little light in the lower half right now but that's not unusual at this stage. Definitely needs to add some functional strength. Has a little baby fat in the midsection but his body isn't in need of re-shaping like a lot of HS offensive linemen. Moves pretty quickly and fluidly for a big man.
Has a pretty good initial punch and wins at the point of attack. Great bend and plays with pretty good leverage when he's clean with his technique (which is inconsistent right now). Can get lost in space at the second level and will probably need to work on picking up stunts and blitzes at the snap.
Flashes quick feet physically but his actual footwork is pretty bad right now. That should improve with coaching. Often stops moving his feet and lunges at speed rushers off the edge. Shows similar patterns against inside moves as well. Great effort on film with some violence to his game. Good work on sustained blocks but added strength will help him immensely in this area. Bottom line is that he's got high upside as a LT with NFL potential but will need added strength and coaching to get there. Physically he has the tools.
Yeah. That’ll work.
Miami’s need for Offensive Linemen has been well chronicled. Herbert is a premium Offensive Line prospect, and his value should be seen early in his Miami career.
Chances for a redshirt: 5/10
Herbert needs to develop physically, and it is for that reason that I say he has a moderate chance to redshirt. HOWEVER, he has the height, length, and skill to come in and be an immediate upgrade at OT, so I hope that he finds a way to earn his way onto the field in 2017.
That’s it for this installment of the Recruit Notebook.