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The longstanding tradition of big time holders coming out of the University of Minnesota has continued with the emergence of star holder Jacob Herbers. He has been named to the 2017 Mortell Award watch list.
-- MORTELL HOTY (@MortellAward) July 12, 2017
Herbers made it look natural a season ago holding a flawless 24 field goal attempts and 44 point-after tries. Each time he was called upon he delivered perfection, but according to some it has not always been like that. Herbers stepped onto campus in 2015 and redshirted for a year. He was able to learn from the first ever Holder of the Year winner, Peter Mortell.
"You take one look at the kid and you can see the body of work he's put in to get to this point," Mortell, head of the Holder of the Year Award committee, said. "When he first got to Minnesota he could have been a spokesperson for Butterfingers. Now he's one of the top holders in the country. The chemistry between Payton Jordahl, Emmit Carpenter and himself is undeniable."
Developing that chemistry is one of the most important parts of being a great holder. Herbers held for one of the best kickers in the nation a season ago. Emmit Carpenter became the first Gopher to earn the Big Ten's Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year honor and enters 2017 on the Lou Groza Award watch list. He has always been quick to show appreciation to Herbers.
"Herbers is the real deal. I've never seen a holder more dedicated to mastering their talent," Carpenter said. "I'm not sure if it is his soft hands from playing first base or his precision from being an engineer that makes him so special at what he does."
It is safe to say Herbers has mastered the craft. He was a semifinalist for the Mortell Holder of the Year Award last year. Some holders may be thrown off by switching surfaces, weather or big moments, but not Herbers.
His first collegiate performance came under the lights at TCF Bank Stadium against Oregon State. He showed perfect cadence on three extra point holds and pinned down a hold as time expired at the end of the first half for his first field goal hold.
After spending three games at home on artificial turf, Herbers did not shy away from the big stage at Penn State's Beaver Stadium. In his only game on natural grass he nailed down four perfect field goal holds and another two picture perfect extra point holds.
Herbers saved his best performance for homecoming against Rutgers. He stepped onto the field with his fellow Gopher specialists after already coming through on four extra point holds and two field goal holds that day. With just six seconds left on the clock he delivered a game winning hold to lift the Maroon and Gold to victory.
"Did we just become best friends?"
-- Gopher Specialists (@MinnSpecialists) October 24, 2016
But is Herbers satisfied with making the watch list? Not a chance. He doesn't just believe he can win the award this season, he knows it. He offered up some smack talk that rivals any seen by Conor McGregor or Floyd Mayweather this past week.
"I'll answer that in a quote from The Godfather," Herbers said. "I'm going to give him (Pete) an offer he can't refuse"
And why stop at just winning the Holder of the Year Award?
"Could he be a possible Heisman dark horse this year," Carpenter pondered. "I wouldn't count him just out yet."
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