From the moment that he made his college debut against Oregon State, Heyman has shown flashes of why he was chosen as an All-American and did so playing both the end and tackle positions. Appearing in 11 games last fall, he totaled 17 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss, recovered 2 fumbles, returning one 30-yards for a touchdown, and an interception.
Now a sophomore, Heyman enters his first spring practice much bigger and as a defensive tackle. The local product has added 40 pounds to his frame, but due to continued hard work during the off season, the now 6-foot-3, 286-pound Heyman has kept his quick first step and the motor that drives him sideline to sideline.
Following Thursday's practice I caught up with 'Big Earl' and asked him about the added weight, his thoughts on the defensive line and more.
You're a lot bigger then you were at the end of the season. How big do you want to get?
"As big as Montavious Stanley."
The bigger Earl Heyman
How big are you now?
"I'm about 286. I gained about 15 pounds during the season and my goal is about 300 pounds. I'll be able to get there by fall - I'm positive that I can."
Having added so much weight, it begs the question - how has it effected your speed and agility?
"I'm still fine. It hasn't really effected me that much. You kind of get used to playing with more weight. It does take awhile to get used to, but I stay after every day and run. I go in the stadium and run everyday to get used to carrying that much weight."
What are your early thoughts of this year's defensive line?
"We have a lot of talented guys. We have some good leaders on the d-line and we also have a ton of good players on the d-line."
How valuable was the experience that you gained playing as a true freshman for you as you begin your first spring practice?
"It got me ready. When you come in here as a freshman, you don't know if you'll play or redshirt, you don't know how college life is, so coming to college was a big step for me. When I came in I was learning about time management, going to my classes and getting to play and learning how college life really is, so that was a big step for me last year."
Has your career as a Cardinal gone about as you thought it might to this point?
"I'm a little farther along than I thought I would be. I thought I would still be about 260 right now, but I put on a lot of pounds real quick and it's been a blessing."