Patrick Herbert, the UO’s 6-foot-5 tight end, isn’t the only person in his family to wear the green and yellow. His older brother Justin is well-known for his days as a quarterback for the Ducks and now the Los Angeles Chargers. But did you know that his grandfather, Rich Schwab, was an Oregon wide receiver during the 1960s?
“It’s a team I’ve rooted for my entire life,” says Herbert. “I grew up here in Eugene and always loved the Ducks, so to play for this program is a very special deal, just as it was for the rest of my family.”
Unlike Justin, however, Patrick didn’t make his mark immediately when he started his college career. The former Sheldon High School standout barely got any playing time during his first couple of seasons due to various injuries, frustrating him immensely. Still, he managed to push through.
“Injuries of any kind suck,” he says. “But that’s part of football, and a lot of people have to go through them. I just took those setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow from.”
So last year, when he finally got significant playing time, he made the most of it. Unquestionably, the best game he had was in the Ducks’ 42-24 victory against Cal. The 40-yard touchdown pass he caught in that game was his first score as a college athlete.
“It was awesome to finally play last year,” Herbert says. “And it was cool to score my first touchdown. I was glad to have a chance to help out the team.”
In fact, last season was great for Oregon, ending with a 10-3 record. Yet, two frustrating losses to Washington and Oregon State prevented an otherwise likely trip to the College Football Playoff. Those setbacks have lingered for every player on the roster, especially Herbert.
“There is absolutely unfinished business in all our minds,” he says. “Losing to the Huskies and Beavers is never easy for the Ducks. That’s especially true for me, being from Eugene, and those defeats have kind of stung me a bit more. We’ve been working hard to resolve that this offseason.”
Herbert wants to do his part for 2024 by leading the younger Ducks and being a good teammate in any way possible. His personal expectations this year are “all about helping Oregon win games,” he says. “We already have many great vocal leaders on the team. I’m not a big talker myself. I just like to do all the right things and show people how to do the same if I need to.”
Although the two brothers chat once or twice a week, they do not talk about football. “That’s a time for us to get away from talking about the games,” says Herbert. “And although we are blood-related and there are some similarities, we are both two completely different people.”
For that matter, Herbert isn’t concerned about how his relatives performed when they played at Oregon. He says he’s more focused on making his own mark as his own person, and doesn’t think about the family legacy too much. “I think more about being a good person,” Herbert explains. “Whether or not I’m good at football doesn’t reflect on my family or who we are as people.”
Currently in his junior year as a sociology major, Herbert’s trying to figure out his future after he takes off the shoulder pads. While he’s not exactly sure what that holds, he does know that he wants to remain in athletics, with an interest in teaching or coaching. In the meantime, he’s fired up for the season ahead and all it could bring for the Ducks.
“It’ll be very important for us to stay connected as a team,” Herbert says. “We have to listen to what our coaches have to say and know our roles. There’s a lot of talent and, if we play together, we should be really good.”