Feb 5, 2013, 11:30 AM EDT
With Notre Dame skipping the tight end position in the last recruiting cycle and saying goodbye to All-American Tyler Eifert and reserve Jake Golic, adding numbers at the tight end position was a key in the 2013 class. With early enrollee Mike Heuerman, Notre Dame landed one of their early targets and another key building block at a power position for the Irish.
Measureables: 6-foot-4, 220-pounds
Impressive Offers: Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Ohio State
Accolades: Four-star recruit on Rivals, 247, ESPN and Scout. All-Area first-team defensive end by Naples Daily News. Ranked No. 8 tight end in country by Rivals.com.
Projected Position: Tight End.
Quick Take: One look at Heuerman’s scholarship offers lets you know he’s an elite talent. That’s good because his numbers might not show you much. In a high school offense that transitioned to a Wing-T system, Heuerman only caught three balls his senior season, a year where he missed time after a tonsillectomy.
Still, projecting Heuerman’s skills was an easy task for the Irish staff. A strong junior season showed his ability to make plays down field. And a senior season where Heuerman also starred as a defensive end showed the disposition necessary to succeed at college. The Irish coaching staff beat out Urban Meyer and Ohio State among others, where Heuerman’s brother Jeff is the starting tight end. His father played basketball for Michigan before being drafted by the Phoenix Suns.
What it means for the Irish roster: Adding Heuerman early allows him to work with Paul Longo and put some weight on a 220-pound frame. It also gives him a shot to find his way in an offense that’s used the tight end creatively since Brian Kelly came to South Bend. After years of stability, the tight end position is in flux. Troy Niklas learned on the job last season. Alex Welch is recovering from a torn ACL, and Ben Koyack struggled in 2012. Somebody needs to step up and be the next big thing at a position that’s been dominant for almost a decade. Heuerman has some growing into his body to do, but he’s got the disposition and athleticism needed to play.
Obligatory YouTube highlight tape: These highlights are from Heuerman’s junior season: