Upholding a family tradition

Both of his parents are alumni of the University of Kansas, and his older brother is a current student. So when the Jayhawks extended a scholarship offer to Hutchinson (KS) High School linebacker Ben Heeney, making the call was a no-brainer.

In the world of recruiting, things happen fast – and nobody knows this better than the coaches responsible for dishing out the scholarship offers.

Even so, when Ben Heeney committed to Kansas mere minutes after receiving an offer Saturday afternoon, even Head Coach Turner Gill was caught a bit off-guard.

"I think he was kind of surprised," said Heeney, a 6-foot-1, 205 pound prospect from Hutchinson (KS) High School. "He brought the paper out that had the writing about how they were going to give me a full ride. We just kept talking and I just pretty much told him that I'd like to accept the offer."

A handshake, a hug, and just like that, the talented outside linebacker was part of the Jayhawk family.

It's not a new feeling for Heeney, for whom Crimson and Blue runs in his blood. Both of his parents are alumni the University of Kansas, and his older brother is a current student.

Though he also held a scholarship offer from Colorado State and a greyshirt offer from Kansas State, by the time the scholarship came down the pipe from the Jayhawks Heeney had long known where he wanted to play his college ball.

"That's the team I've always cheered for and everything," he said. "That was my only other offer."

Gill and his staff have been recruiting Heeney for months. In fact, it appeared as if an offer would be coming this summer after the Jayhawks got a chance to look at him in person at one of their summer camps.

Knee surgery made the camp trip impossible, however, and the staff opted to hold off until they saw some senior game film, Heeney said.

After Salthawks Head Coach Randy Dreiling sent footage of their first six games, the process kicked into high gear once again. They quickly scheduled an official visit for Homecoming weekend, and when Gill placed a call to Heeney last Thursday, he felt good news was almost certainly on the way.

"He said the visit would be worthwhile," Heeney explained. "I knew if they offered me I was going to take it."

With his decision now behind him, the Salthawks' star running back is free to focus on helping his team to yet another Kansas Class 5A state championship.

"It kinda hasn't set in yet, knowing where I'm going to go next year," Heeney said. "It's weird for sure, but I'm glad I know where I'm going, and I'm really glad I'm going to KU."

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