The recruitment for Brett Heggie actually started almost a year ago. Offensive line coach Mike Summers is the only assistant retained from Will Muschamp’s staff and he got to see Heggie first hand in Florida’s camp and knew then that he would be one to watch.
Now a part of the Jim McElwain staff, Summers set out this spring to see Heggie play in person and decided it was time to pull the trigger on an offer.“It all started in the summer with the recruiting process,” Heggie told Scout.com by phone. “I went to camp and then this spring I went up for a practice and talked to Coach Summers a little bit. He told me he would come watch me practice and he said I played pretty well. He and I have been talking on the phone and he basically told me that he wanted the head coach to tell me.”
It just so happens that Mississippi State was hot on the trail as well and offered Heggie before McElwain could get him on the phone. Sensing some urgency, Summers wasn’t willing to wait any longer.
“Mississippi State offered the next day,” he said about the day after Summers coming to watch him. “I think my coach and Coach Summers were talking and he told my coach to have me call after school. He told me I had an offer to Florida. I don’t know if the Mississippi State thing rushed it, but as soon as they offered he wanted to make sure it was on the table.”
Now with over 20 offers Heggie is trying to soak it all in.
“It is so exciting,” he said. “I am very thankful about everything. This past spring was wild to me. They say your junior spring is the biggest time. I had eight offers before spring and I jumped to 20. I got the 12 offers in a matter of like four days. There wasn’t much until that last week.”
Heggie is the son of former Florida State linebacker Bruce Heggie who played for the Seminoles between 1983 and 1986. His brother Bruce played at Notre Dame before transferring out. The family is quite familiar with the recruiting process.
He has already made up his mind that this process will be wide open for him and his past allegiances won’t affect his recruitment.
“Before the process started I decided I was going to go down my own road and discover new things,” Heggie said. “I know what Florida State Is about and what Notre Dame is about. I’m not saying if those teams were to come I would count them out. But, the whole Florida and Florida State thing won’t be a factor. Florida is definitely going to be a school I look into down the road. My dad supports it and wants what is best for me.
Heggie detailed a few things he knows about the Florida program that stand out.
“Florida has a phenomenal football background, but also educational,” he said. “I think the new coaching staff is going to be special at Florida. Things are going to start moving. They had a good class, Martez Ivey is over there. I think it’s going to be exciting for Florida over the next couple of years. “
He also knows a little bit about Summers who he did get some tutelage from at camp last June.
“Talking to him, you can tell he cares about his guys,” Heggie said about Summers. “He’s more fundamentally sound. My coaches say he is more like a teacher. He will teach and teach it firmly. He stresses the fundamentals and wants it done his way. That’s the right way. Fundamentals will go a long way, especially in the trenches.”
He is also very familiar with the need for linemen at Florida and the lack of overall numbers. He says that is something that all recruits will notice.
“It matters to recruits and what you are going into… who you will be competing against,” he said. “If you go in and don’t play for four years, that’s a long four years. That is definitely something that is kind of attracting for Florida, they are young up front. I know they have one commitment.”
Heggie is approaching the process with a bit of knowledge on how it works. He’s not ready to jump at any one offer, but also knows things can happen and he has to watch everything and everyone he is interested in.
“I am completely open right now,” he said. “It will probably be a couple of weeks after spring that I will narrow it down. I don’t know how far I will narrow it. It’s getting to that time, so I can take some official visits and narrow it down some even more.
“The thing about the recruiting process is that it is pretty interesting. The schools offer more than the spots available, but the thing is you don’t know when those spots will fill. Say I have a number one team and I am just kind of waiting it out. Then I try and commit and then they don’t have a spot.
That whole process means he is willing to push the button when he feels things are right.
“Once I know that I have my number one school I am just going to go ahead and commit,” he said. “I don’t think I am going to wait it out.”
The Gators will continue to be one of the major schools for him as well as a couple of others.
“I told Coach Summers I will be back at Florida this summer,” he said. “I will go visit Mississippi State. I don’t know much about them. I might go see West Virginia. I am just kind of interested in the state. I want to see what it is like. I have a great relationship with (WVU assistant) Coach DeForest up there.”
Wherever he lands, Heggie will bring with him a physical mentality that has been instilled at Mount Dora.
“I’ve played center since my freshman year,” he said. “I think my ability to finish blocks and run blocking (are my strengths), we do a lot of inside and outside zone at Mount Dora. We really have done the coming off of double teams and getting to linebackers. I think overall there is always an area to improve, but for the most part I think it is my run blocking.”
And Mike Summers won’t complain.