"I actually committed to Michigan about five minutes ago," said Heitzman when he phone GoBlueWolverine earlier this afternoon. "Just the reputation of Michigan is great. Growing up in Ohio, the rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan is huge. I really just want to be a part of that. Plus I had a cousin that went up there and he really enjoyed it."
The new Michigan coaching staff began courting Heitzman in earnest earlier this week, which was right on time for a youngster that had already begun contemplating backing out of his pledge to Vanderbilt.
"Honestly, ever since the coaching change at Vanderbilt I'd opened up my options and (other schools) came into the picture," revealed Heitzman. "If Michigan didn't offer, I was thinking of de-committing to Vanderbilt and going to Illinois. (The Wolverines) were recruiting me a little bit when Coach Rodriguez was there, but the (new) linebackers coach, Coach (Mark) Smith actually came into school I think it was Monday. Then I actually got a phone call last night and received the offer. Coach Singletary called and then I talked to Coach Hoke and then the defensive coordinator. (Greg Mattison) has got to be great to be coaching the Ravens defense. He sounded really excited and I got pretty excited too."
There was a slight hesitation to pull the trigger on Heitzman's part because he hasn't been to Michigan's campus yet. However, with the possibility of the scholarship being snapped up by someone else, he saw it as an opportunity that was too good to pass up.
"It was kind of tough at the beginning," Heitzman admitted. "I had developed a pretty good relationship with the coaches at Illinois. But the reputation at Michigan, you can't really beat. I'm going up there next weekend."
The Buckeye State standout selected the Wolverines over offers from Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Marshall and a host of MAC schools. Surprisingly to some, the opportunity for early playing time is just as good -- if not better -- at Michigan than it would have been at the majority of the other schools on his list.
"(The Michigan coaches) said was that there was a chance to play," Heitzman reported. "I believe (my position) will be defensive end, but I'm not totally sure yet. I'm 6-3 and I played in season at 235, but I'm pushing 245 right now. I feel like I'm more of a pass rusher, but apparently my coach thinks more of a run stopper."
As a junior Heitzman registered 13 sacks for a team that went on to become the division one state champs in Ohio. He didn't know his final stats from this season, but heading into the final game of the season in the state semifinals, he had again lived up to his pass rush billing by racking up 21 tackles for loss.
"(My season) went real well," said Heitzman. "I got first team all state and I got defensive player for my district. It was pretty good."
Added Davidson coach Brian White to the Columbus Dispatch, "opposing coaches have told me that he has such a huge impact on both sides of the ball that they have game-planned around him."
The Michigan coaching staff certainly hopes opponents will have similar headaches once Heitzman makes his way to Ann Arbor.