Former LBer Heuser now U of L's 'plumber'

A former linebacker in high school, Nick Heuser moved to fullback with the University of Louisville football team to see the field. Since the move, Heuser has become one of the most important players in the U of L rushing attack. He's also caught a pair of touchdowns during his senior season.

An All-State linebacker out of Louisville St. Xavier High School, Nick Heuser came to the University of Louisville as a walk-on and hoped to see the field.

Heuser never dreamed it would be on offense.

But the 6-foot, 240-pound Heuser switched positions to fullback two years ago and has since become an integral part of the Louisville offense.

Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson calls him the "plumber" because as the starting fullback Heuser has to do all the dirty work for the offense to try and help get the running game going.

"He doesn't get many accolades, but he starts it all for us in the running game," Watson said. "He's really such a big key in the run game. He's been great."

Heuser, who notes that he sees himself as a "smaller offensive guard in the backfield," hasn't had a carry during his career. But the senior, who earned a scholarship this fall, has helped open holes for 127.1 yards a game for the U of L running backs and has also caught 10 passes for 57 yards and two touchdowns.

"This has all been so much fun for me, and I've had the opportunity to catch a few passes," Heuser said with a smile. "I enjoy blocking and I know my skill set fits in with the blocking, so it's all been fine with me."

Heuser figured to be a major key next week when the Cardinals meet Florida in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 at the New Orleans SuperDome. The Gators rank fifth nationally in total defense and No. 15 against the run.

"We just have to go out and execute the game plan," Heuser said. "We have to know what we can do and then execute."

Heuser has been executing his game plan to get on the field since a meeting with the coaches following Charlie Strong's first season at U of L.

With Shawn Watson coming in to help out with the offense, the U of L coaches told Heuser they wanted to try him out at fullback.

"It was a way for me to get on the field," Heuser said. "I just took advantage of it. I came in as a linebacker and that's all I played at St. X. But they brought me in right before camp and asked me to try out for fullback.

"It was different, but playing defense all my life I think helped because I knew what the offense was doing anyway. It turned out great for me."

Heuser, who is in graduate school already, played in six games as a junior and took over the starting role this season for the Cardinals. He's played in all 12 games and caught TD passes against North Carolina – his first career catch – and Florida International and had a key third-down conversion catch against Rutgers.

"If I get the ball, that's an added plus," Heuser said. "I enjoy blocking. I'm just having a blast out there this year, we're more a part of the offense (as a fullback) and it's been a lot of fun. I'm just doing whatever I need to do for the team."

And you can bet he's not taken for granted by his teammates and the coaches. Earlier in the year, running back Senorise Perry called him "so very important," to the running game and Watson lauded him last week.

"He is the plumber," Watson said. "He's been a really, really big key for us in the run game. He's the lead blocker."

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