Jun 19, 2014, 5:55 PM EDT
Former Notre Dame offensive lineman Bruce Heggie will play out his eligibility at Ball State. One of Brian Kelly’s most “noteworthy” recruits, Heggie played sparingly in South Bend, but will have a chance to compete for Pete Lembo’s Cardinal squad.
He joins Alex Welch, Lo Wood and Andrew Hendrix as fifth year players finishing their career at a MAC program, with the aforementioned trio playing for Chuck Martin at Miami (Ohio).
Heggie finished at Notre Dame as a reserve center, playing in four games, mostly on special teams. He played in five other games between 2011-12, shifting from the defensive line to the offensive side of the ball. At Ball State, Heggie is expected to return to the defensive front. He’ll join junior college transfer Julian Jackson as added depth on the line.
“We are pleased to welcome Bruce and Julian to the Ball State football family,” Lembo said in a statement. “It has been a real pleasure getting to know both young men and their families over the last several months. Both of these student-athletes are here because they really liked how they fit in with our players and coaches when they visited the campus. They are also excited about the academic opportunities the university has to offer. The addition of two mature defensive linemen should increase the competition for playing time and our depth when preseason camp begins in late July.”
Heggie will forever be known as the recruit Brian Kelly plucked out of obscurity, offering a scholarship to the Mount Dora, Florida native when no other program had come calling. A profile prospect, Kelly liked the frame and power potential that Heggie projected, and while the offer and commitment had Irish fans scratching their heads, Heggie provided depth the past four seasons and will finish his college career as a 6-foot-5, 275-pounder.
Heggie follows in little-used defensive lineman Brandon Newman’s footsteps, who also played out his eligibility at Ball State. Former Irish SID Brian Hardin is now an associate athletic director at Ball State, potentially another key connection between the programs.