Five years after Tyson Alualu’s generous gesture, fellow Saint Louis product Nate Herbig eager to face off in NFL

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Philadelphia Eagles left guard Nate Herbig (left) and Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Tyson Alualu (right)

When the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field for their Week 5 matchup, a prominent battle in the trenches will feature two of Hawaii’s finest.

Eagles left guard Nate Herbig and Steelers nose tackle Tyson Alualu are both graduates of Saint Louis School, although the 22-year-old Herbig is 11 years younger than Alualu. Both played collegiately at rival schools: Herbig at Stanford and Alualu and California. Although each play for NFL teams in Pennsylvania, their respective NFL teams do not reside in the same division or conference, making Sunday’s regular season matchup a rare one.

Sunday’s game between the Steelers and Eagles kicks off at 7 a.m. HST. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two players.

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Although the two have yet to play against each other, Herbig is still grateful for a gesture made by Alualu five years ago. In the summer of 2015, Herbig was a rising senior at Saint Louis and in need of size 18 cleats, which were not easy to find. But thanks to Alualu, Herbig’s wish was fulfilled.

“I never really got to say thank you to him in person so I’ll probably say that when I see him,” Herbig said. “Just the fact that he took the time out to give someone like me a pair of shoes, he didn’t really know me, he just knew I needed a pair of cleats and he helped me out and I’m forever grateful.”

Both Herbig and Alualu have solidified starting roles during the 2020 season. Despite being an undrafted free agent in 2019, Herbig has played every offensive snap so far this season, allowing just one sack. Alualu, who was the 10th overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, has been a steady interior presence for the 3-0 Steelers with eight tackles and a sack. The Steelers currently lead the AFC North, while at 1-2-1, the Eagles are remarkably all alone atop the NFC East standings. Come Sunday, as both teams attempt to build on their records, a win for the Saint Louis brotherhood and state of Hawaii can be expected either way.

“It’s just wild to think that he was in the NFL and I was in high school and he gave me cleats and now I’m gonna be going against him. It’s kind of crazy to think about,” Herbig said. “I tried not to think about it but I feel like I grew up watching him play and being a fan of him now, it’s my job and I gotta try and stop him from making a play on me so I’m gonna do my best and for me, it’s nothing but respect for everything he’s done and everything he’s doing.

“He’s a really great player and I gotta be on my game or else I’m not gonna have a shot. I’m happy that I can represent the 808 and he’s over there representing the 808 so I don’t really care who people go for in Hawaii because I just feel like no matter what, we’re winning. I’m just excited.”

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