Tight end Zak Herbstreit joined Ohio State in 2021 as a preferred walk-on out of Montgomery Bell High School in Nashville and is in his second season.
Offensive lineman Toby Wilson is also in his second year, having joined the Buckeyes as a walk-on. Prior to that, he was a second-team All-OCC Cardinal Division performer at Olentangy High School.
They are also the sons of famous fathers. Herbstreit’s dad is broadcaster Kirk Herbstreit. Wilson is the son of Ohio State’s offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson.
There is so much more to them than that, though. Like the fact that they are good friends and roommates, which is why they agreed to participate in The Columbus Dispatch’s weekly player question-and-answer session together.
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Get to know Zak Herbstreit and Toby Wilson
If money and time were no object, what hobby would you take up?
Herbstreit: I feel like I want to also play hockey. I think hockey would be really fun to play.
Wilson: Probably reading. I hate reading, so I’d want to try to get better at – not better at reading because I can read, but it’s hard to enjoy it.
What’s the last thing that you’ve read? Maybe you just haven’t picked up the right book.
Wilson: Something for a homework assignment. That’s the last thing I’ve read.
Zak, do you have any book recommendations?
Herbstreit: Book recommendations? Yeah. Always got to go with “The Hobbit.” That’s the first one that comes to mind. It’s really just a page-turner.
Wilson: Is that a big book?
Herbstreit: It’s a decently sized book, but it’s a good book. You know, good story.
Wilson: I read the first three Harry Potters, but that’s as far as I got.
Herbstreit: I’d say it’s kind of around the same genre. But not “wizardish.” It’s kind of “Games of Thronesish.” You’d like it.
Wilson: We didn’t have book No. 4 at my house, so I just stopped reading after book No. 3.
Which house would you have been sorted into?
Wilson: Probably Gryffindor. I took a test. I’d be in Gryffindor.
Herbstreit: It’s funny you say that. I took a test today for some reason. I was talking to someone earlier about it. We were talking about Harry Potter, and I’m a Hufflepuff. I didn’t even know.
Wilson: Could be worse.
Herbstreit: I know. Could be worse. Cedric Diggory – that’s my guy.
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How did you guys become such good friends?
Herbstreit: OK. I’ll take it here. So basically, I committed here first, and his dad was kind of talking to me. Obviously, his dad is the OC (offensive coordinator), my tight ends coach, the tight ends coach here. And he was kind of like, “Hey, talk to Wilson here. He’s got some offers, but it would be really cool to get him here too.”
You had to help him recruit his son?
Herbstreit: Not really recruit, but I was like, “Yeah, that would be really cool.” So, to be honest with you, the first time I actually met him, we played Fortnite together. And I think we got a victory…
Wilson: Caught a dub.
Herbstreit: Yeah, it was pretty cool. And then we started talking on a daily basis, and then…
Wilson: And then we moved in together.
Herbstreit: He texted me like, “Yup. I’m committing.” I’m like, “Let’s go, baby!” And then we moved in together. And it just took off from there.
Wilson: Keeps going up.
How often do you Fortnite? It’s OK to use as a verb, isn’t it?
Herbstreit: You can make it verb.
Wilson: You can. You can.
Herbstreit: I’m a big Fortnite enthusiast. I really am.
Wilson: But I think just Mondays.
Herbstreit: We usually do this thing called the triple threat challenge, where there’s like three games in a row. And we have to win each game. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. It can take a day. We’re doing it.
Wilson: You've got to win all three.
Herbstreit: And sometimes it gets really competitive. It’s nice.
Wilson: It’s loud.
So are you on the same team?
Herbstreit and Wilson: Yeah.
Wilson: Playing together.
Does it help when you’re gaming that you’re football teammates and friends?
Wilson: Definitely. I think there’s more trust.
Herbstreit: There is.
Wilson: More trust with each other. You know what they’re going to do. The more you play, the more you know how your friend's going to play.
Herbstreit: I can agree, because I know he hits his shots in Fortnite, so I know he’ll make a block out there. That’s what it is.
Wilson: That’s what it is.
Herbstreit: It relates.
Wilson: It goes hand-in-hand.
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You two live together. Who’s the messier roommate?
Herbstreit: Him. Without a doubt, it’s 100% him.
Wilson: It’s a controlled mess, though.
Herbstreit: It’s not. It really isn’t.
Wilson: It’s not really gross. It’s just…
Wilson: It’s everywhere.
Herbstreit: It’s a lot.
Wilson: Yeah. I mean, it’s not like there’s food sitting out rotting. It will just be like a T-shirt and a pair of shoes.
Herbstreit: It’s just a lot of clothes and blankets.
Wilson: I hate putting away blankets.
Herbstreit: I will say he does have these spurts of just like, “I need to clean,” and then he cleans. Maybe three hours later, it’s all back to just clutter.
Wilson: It’s usually Mondays. I have my Monday resets.
Before the Fortnite?
Wilson: Yeah, yeah. So I wake up, I clean everything usually, go grocery shopping, come back, play Fortnite. That’s my Monday.
Which one of you is the cook?
Herbstreit: He is. He’s the cook.
Wilson: Yup. Nailed it.
What’s your best dish?
Wilson: Best dish? Hmm…
Herbstreit: Steaks are pretty good.
Wilson: Yeah, I made some pretty good steaks with asparagus and some tiramisu. What else have I made, man? I make a mean mac and cheese.
Herbstreit: He really does.
Wilson: It’s spicy.
Herbstreit: Spicy buffalo chicken. Didn’t you make that?
Wilson: Yeah, I made buffalo chicken mac last week. It was really good. And then I made a chicken cutlet sandwich, which was really nice. It was good. It had a sauce on it.
Herbstreit: That burger sauce that we had?
Wilson: No, no. That sounds gross. I think it was a basil, mayo sauce.
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Are you both night owls? Early birds?
Herbstreit: I’d say I’m more of a night owl. I can be a morning person, but I tend not to be, so I would say night owl.
Wilson: Yeah, uh. I’m like a midday person. I thrive in the midday. Morning I’m kind of sluggish, unless I have my spurts where I need to go, I need to do something. And then at night I usually don’t do anything, so in the midday is when I get active.
How often do you entertain visitors?
Herbstreit: It’s not crazy often, but I’d say it happens a good amount of times.
Wilson: I mean, all our friends are our teammates, and we see them every day.
Herbstreit: And they’re pretty close by, too, and I would say our apartment is pretty, I would just say roomy. And it’s accessible, you know? It’s easy to get to.
Wilson: It’s open. It’s nice. There’s a porch too, which is good. And a balcony.
Herbstreit: It’s a nice balcony.
Do you have pets?
Herbstreit: We had one.
Wilson: We did.
Herbstreit: RIP Rodney the Hamster. And early, earlier, like our freshman year, we had a fish named Gustavo. And he lived a while. But he was a beta fish.
Wilson: He was a beta fish who lived life like an alpha.
We need to get you guys a pet rock, it sounds like, given your history.
Herbstreit: I know, I know.
Wilson: Not good.
How would you describe the decorative style of this apartment? Modern, minimalist, classic?
Wilson: It’s all me. It’s minimalist.
Herbstreit: At least outside. My room is, I’d say, modernish. I’ve got movie posters, comic strips, stuff like that. It’s pretty cool.
Wilson: The living room, I take pride in the living room.
Herbstreit: He did well.
Wilson: I’ve got throw pillows, decorative throw pillows. I’ve got to get some for Halloween coming up. But it’s more minimalist, natural colors, basic colors, nothing poppy. I’ve got a couple blankets that I fold nicely and I keep in a basket. Everything’s got to be perfect.
Herbstreit: Big TV hung on the wall.
Wilson: Yeah, done by me and my mom.
Herbstreit: They killed it.
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Who is someone you watch, not to learn from, but because you root for them?
Wilson: Dr. Disrespect. (A gamer/Twitch celebrity.)
Herbstreit: I do watch him, though. That’s the thing. … I mean, for the NFL, I’m a huge Titans fan. Usually, if they win, I’m excited all Sunday. But they’re not doing too hot right now …
Wilson: Gotta tighten up.
Herbstreit: I’d say I’m a fan of them. That kind of goes with my mood. Same with my fantasy team. It definitely affects me.
What’s the name of your fantasy team?
Herbstreit: The Weekend Warriors. That’s good.
Toby, is he insufferable when he’s watching the Titans?
Wilson: He’s usually in his room. The door’s closed, the doors locked, and all you hear is “Gah! No!”
Wilson: “What the heck?” Yeah. It’s crazy.
What is your favorite movie?
Herbstreit: That’s a loaded question. I have a lot.
Wilson: There’s so many.
Herbstreit: I’m a huge Disney guy, but like movies that I’m on the edge of my seat, I’d probably say ... “Prisoners,” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman. It was really – it was crazy. That’s definitely top three for me.
Wilson: I’m halfway into “The Green Mile” right now because it’s such a long movie.
So half a mile in?
Wilson: Yes, half a green mile.
Herbstreit: He loves “Tangled” too.
Wilson: “Tangled” is a great movie.
“Tangled” is a great movie.
Wilson: And “Ratatouille.” Those are my two go-to movies. What’s another good movie? Comedy? “Wedding Crashers.”
Herbstreit: “Wedding Crashers.” Yeah.
Wilson: Love “Wedding Crashers.” And “The Other Guys.”
Herbstreit: “Anchorman” is up there too. There’s just so many quotes.
Wilson: And they get dropped on the daily.
Herbstreit: They really do.
If there was a movie made about you two, who would play you guys?
Wilson: Jack Black. Jack Black would play me.
Herbstreit: I’d say Jack Black for you too.
Wilson: Miles Teller for you.
Herbstreit: Just because of the ‘stache of right now?
Herbstreit: I’d take that.
It's a good mustache. How much time do you spend maintaining it?
Herbstreit: It’s usually about, I’d say, 10 to 15 minutes when I’m trimming it up. Just making sure.
Wilson: What are you doing? Massaging it?
Herbstreit: You just have to make sure the hair’s going down. Once in a while, there’s a loose one.
Wilson: You’ve got to get some beard oil.
Herbstreit: I know. I know.
Wilson: Comb it down. That would be two seconds.
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What is something you’re passionate about?
Wilson: Oh, yeah, “Hamilton.” I love “Hamilton.” “Hamilton” is my most listened-to soundtrack, like my most listened-to album every year. I think last year I had 76 hours listening to “Hamilton” throughout the year. I know every word of all two hours and 22 minutes, except for the song “Burn.” I don’t like the song “Burn.” But, yeah, I love “Hamilton.” I am so passionate about “Hamilton.”
Herbstreit: I’m trying to think here. That was a good answer.
Wilson: Yeah. You got to find your passion, man.
Herbstreit: I know. I’m trying to think of a good one, though.
Wilson: McDonald’s on Mondays, man.
Herbstreit: Yeah, that’s a tradition for me. It’s a tradition I’ve started, which is good.
Wilson: Coach Day said to find your routine.
Herbstreit: Find my routine, and I just keep going. That’s a thing for me.
What do you get?
Herbstreit: I like the Big Mac. It’s iconic. You've got to get it.
Wilson: You leave it in the fridge every week.
Herbstreit: No, that’s not the Big Mac.
Wilson: It’s leftovers.
Herbstreit: That’s not true!
Wilson: So what is it? The quarter pounder?
Herbstreit: Yeah, if I want that.
Wilson: OK. Keep going.
Herbstreit: Usually the Big Mac, and then I get two smaller cheeseburgers, maybe a McFlurry or chocolate milkshake. And then I get a large fry and sometimes, if you’re feeling dangerous, you get the cinnamon roll. I’m not a huge fan of the chicken because, like, I’ve heard stories.
Wilson: Of what? The nuggets or the sandwiches?
Herbstreit: No, the nuggets.
Wilson: Yeah, I don’t like the nuggets.
Herbstreit: I like Wendy’s nuggets if I’m getting chicken nuggets. And then here’s my confession right here: I dip my nuggets in Frostys.
Wilson: Here’s your passion: mustard.
Herbstreit: Yeah. I’m a big mustard enthusiast.
Wilson: He puts mustard on his pretzels. Like dry pretzels.
Herbstreit: I put mustard on my soft pretzels too.
Wilson: It’s horrible.
Herbstreit: It’s not. Oh, and another thing: I put candy in my popcorn at movies. And he thinks that’s out of this world.
I’m not a mustard gal, so I’m with you, Toby.
Wilson: Yeah, exactly.
What do you put mustard on besides pretzels?
Herbstreit: Like turkey sandwiches.
Wilson: Grilled cheese. He puts mustard on his grilled cheese.
Herbstreit: That’s a turkey sandwich.
Wilson: No, it’s not. I made you a grilled cheese one time, I swear you put mustard on it.
Herbstreit: There was turkey.
Wilson: No. And I about moved out.
Herbstreit: We’re not going to go there.
I think we better end this interview before I break up a beautiful friendship.
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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Kirk Herbstreit, Kevin Wilson sons are friends at Ohio State