Last week we told you that Naples (FL) Collier TE Jeff Heuerman verbally committed to the Buckeyes, becoming the tenth member of the class of 2011 to do so. This was big news as the Buckeyes were in hot recruiting battles for Westerville Central's Nick Vannett and Oil City's (PA) Ben Koyack, and were only expected to take two tight ends in the class. A day after Heuerman committed to the Bucks, Koyack pledged his services to Brian Kelly and the Irish, leaving Nick Vannett as the only undecided player left out of the trio.
While OSU may still land the local product, landing the big man from the "sunshine state" was monumental as it alleviated the pressure of possibly missing out on an elite tight end in this class. Heuerman, whose father played basketball for Michigan, instantly fell in love with Columbus upon his visit last week and knew Ohio State was the right place for him.
The 6-5/230 tight end is a rare breed at the position these days, as many of the up-and-coming high school tight ends in this generation only care about their reception numbers at the end of the season. Heuerman, on the other hand, likes blocking just as much as he does hauling in passes, making him the ideal guy for the job in Jim Tressel's system. Heuerman discusses his love for blocking, what he liked about Columbus, when he hopes to enroll at OSU, and more with 11W in this segment of "Catching Up".
You just visited Ohio State and committed shortly after. Can you briefly take us through your visit and what lead to your commitment to Ohio State?
Coach Johnson and I were real close before I even got up to OSU, and up there I became close with all the coaches. I felt the most comfortable at OSU, which was the main thing. They have the best coaching staff in the country and playing under them I know I’ll be able to develop into the best player I can be.
What did Coach Tressel say when he got the news that you were going to become a Buckeye?
Actually when I called Coach Tressel he was with Archie Griffin and Gene Smith at a function. He said they had just got done talking about me. When I told him I wanted to be a Buckeye he told me how phenomenal it was and how excited he was. He also told my dad and head coach that I would be in good hands up there.
Did the use of Jake Stoneburner in the spring game have any impact on your decision?
Yeah actually it did. All the coaches said they're going to throw to the tight end more and they proved it in the spring game.
Your dad obviously played for Michigan and after your visit there, the perception, at least in Buckeye Nation, was that this could come down to OSU and UM, with the Wolverines having a slight advantage. What was your thinking after the trip to Ann Arbor (before you got to OSU) and what made OSU stand out over Michigan and the other schools you were considering?
My dad playing for Michigan didn't have any impact on my decision. I visited UM and it is a great school, and I also visited OSU and committed a few days later, so that pretty much speaks for itself and how comfortable and incredible Ohio State is.
Do you plan on helping the coaches fill out the rest of this class? What current other recruits have you met and do you plan to talk to any of them to try and get them to Columbus? What was the vibe with the other Florida kids at the spring game?
Jeremy Cash and I are real close. Also, Wayne Lyons and Jabari Gorman were also up there with us. They both would be a great fit at OSU and of course Jeremy and I will do whatever it takes to make OSU the best it can be.
Speaking of your senior season, what are your goals from an individual stand point heading into your final year at Collier?
To be a leader for my team and to play some football because that’s what I love to do. I want my teammates to know that they can lean on me whenever they need to. We're going to have a solid team this year and I want to make the best of it.
What do you think are your greatest strengths as a player?
My greatest strength that stands out from all other tight ends is my blocking. Tight ends that can catch are almost a dime a dozen. Some players want to just catch the ball, but I love to block and can do both. I get just as big of a thrill putting someone on his backside as I do catching the ball.
Any plans to enroll early at Ohio State (winter or spring) or will you be coming next June?
Yeah I plan to enroll early since they are on quarters. I’m not sure when yet, but Coach Tressel said enrolling in March is also a possibility. I want to get up there as soon as possible so probably January.
Any chance your dad is going to become a Buckeye fan now? What were his feelings on your commitment to OSU?
My dad is behind me 100%. We are real close and he will be supporting me in scarlet and gray no matter what anyone has to say about it. He'll be one of the Buckeye's biggest fans. We both loved it at OSU and he knew that it was 100% the right place for us.
If you could tell Buckeye Nation one thing, what would it be?
I will give my all for Ohio State every day. Being part of the Buckeye family is one of the greatest things on the planet. I cannot be more excited to get up there and become a part of it all, and bring them what they want.