Heavner is the "real deal"

Arizona went after a number or top-flight quarterbacks in the recruiting wars and when it is all said and done they may have landed one of the best. Right now Kris Heavner is less heralded than some of the signal callers out there, but ask people who have seen him play and they tell you he has the potential to be something special. Cat Tracks caught up with Lyndon B. Johnson Head Coach Todd Brown to learn more about the Texan who is the Wildcats' first commitment for the class of 2003.

Heavner visited Tucson this weekend and committed before getting back to Johnson City, which is an hour outside Austin, Texas.

Brown has nothing but high praise for the newest Wildcat.

"He's the real deal," said Brown. "He'll make you all happy. You got yourself a good one."

According to Brown, Heavner has a "huge arm" and can throw a ball over 70 yards. Although he averages over 100 rushing yards a game, Heavner is pure passer.

"He won't come in and run the option for Arizona," Brown jokes. "Not that they run it there."

It was Arizona's offense that was one of the key selling points for the Wildcats. John Mackovic and his staff were another major factor.

"Coach Mackovic gets residual negative press here," said Brown who is a Texas alum. "I told Kris that Coach Mackovic is a 'dang winner.' He coached in the NFL and runs a wide-open offense. I don't think there are many better offensive minded coaches out there."

Heavner is rated as a three-star recruit and the 50th best quarterback in the nation, but Brown believes that he will be one of the best of the class when it is all said and done. Johnson City is a small town and a lack of exposure has hurt Heavner. To make matters worse the young quarterback was not able to attend a lot of the summer camps that are so vital to getting his name out.

Heavner was invited to the Texas Tech camp, but was unable to attend and lost out on a scholarship opportunity when one of the campers committed before leaving campus.

15-20 schools witnessed Heavner at his team's spring practice, including a number of Big-10 and Big-12 schools. Most of the schools expressed interest in Heavner, but wanted to see more of the small school player before offering a scholarship. Without being able to attend camps, many of the schools wanted to wait until the high school season was well underway.

"He comes from a single parent family so money is tight," explained Brown. "He can't go to all of these camps like some kids. He can't just fly or drive out to all of these schools whenever he wants."

The Wildcats did not wait to offer and their early interest helped land Heavner. New Mexico and Oklahoma State were his only other offers, but a number of recruiting services tout him as one of the five best quarterbacks in the state of Texas.

"Wait three years," stated Brown. "Kris will be playing, when a lot of these other (higher rated) guys are still holding clip boards."

Heavner will come into Arizona and compete in a wide open quarterback battle. With senior starter Jason Johnson gone, Heavner will join sophomore Nic Costa and freshman Ryan O'Hara as the only scholarship quarterbacks on the roster.

"I'm sure he'll come in and compete," said Brown. "No one will out work him. He loves football so much. This is something he has dreamed about all his life."

Heavner is a stellar football player, but that is not all the talented young athlete can do. He was all district in baseball and basketball in addition to his feats on the gridiron. He also high jumped 6-2 last track season. His fastball was clocked in the high 80's last season, but Brown believes it will hit the low 90's after Heavner added 15-pounds of muscle over the summer.

Brown wasn't shocked to learn that Heavner committed to the Cats, but wanted to make sure his player visited Tucson to make sure it was the right place for him.

"We talked about it a lot," Brown said. "I knew Arizona was high on his list. I told him to visit and make sure he liked Coach Mackovic, the staff, the facilities and the players, but I wasn't surprised to hear the news."


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