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Freshman Focus: Mike Heuerman

Jul 4, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

Naples News Naples News

Beginning his Notre Dame career at mid-semester, tight end Mike Heuerman had fifteen practices to jump start his freshman season with the Irish. But probably more important than the on field work was the strength and conditioning time. At 6-3.5 and just 218 pounds, Heuerman is a long way from being the right size to help the Irish along the line of scrimmage.

That said, there’s a ton to like about the Naples, Florida native. An eager blocker who spent most of his senior season in the trenches after an offensive switch put his team into the Wing-T, Heuerman will join a talented tight end depth chart looking to replace All-American first round draft pick Tyler Eifert.

Let’s take a closer look at what Heuerman brings to the table.

RECRUITING PEDIGREE

For a guy that lacks prototypical size for his position, elite college programs sure didn’t seem to mind. Heuerman’s offer list is more than impressive, with Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Oregon, Michigan and Ohio State among the many programs that offered him.

With a brother starting at tight end for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, and a father that was drafted into the NBA after playing at Michigan, the Irish coaching staff did a great job getting Heuerman to pledge early in April, and then held onto him through a long recruiting cycle.

EARLY PLAYING TIME OPPORTUNITIES

The Irish have three solid veteran tight ends already established with Troy Niklas, Alex Welch and Ben Koyack all capable of having breakout seasons. But that doesn’t mean Niklas will be kept off the field.

Heuerman is the type of big body that might do more damage as a jumbo wide receiver with willing blocking skills, rather than attached to the offensive line and catching an occasional pass. With the three guys ahead of him all capable of pitching in as an in-line blocker, Heuerman has speed and ball skills that might get him on the field.

Otherwise, he’s a great candidate for a year spent solely in the weight room, putting some much needed mass on a body that’s a little slight for his position.

PROJECTING THE FUTURE

There’s a reason some of the best programs in the country fought for Heuerman’s signature. And we’ll likely see that on the field sooner than later. While Heuerman lacks the size that this coaching staff usually covets, he certainly doesn’t lack the athleticism.

Whether he spends the year redshirting or not, expect Heuerman to be used as a threat in the passing game, and a guy that can do some damage detached from the formation, much in the way Tyler Eifert was used the past few seasons.

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