Heuerman Back on Track

After a few early setbacks this fall, Notre Dame pledge Mike Heuerman feels his official visit last weekend has him back on track. IrishEyes.com spoke with Heuerman about his health, visit and getting back on the field.

Wednesday found Naples (Fla.) Barron Collier tight end Mike Heuerman back on the practice field after missing time due to a surgery.

I'm doing better," said Heuerman. "I had a long practice today (Wednesday) and it was only my second practice coming off my tonsil surgery. It was 98 degrees outside and we were on the turf. So I'm dead tired."

Heuerman was one of a handful of official visitors last weekend when the Irish hosted Michigan. How did the trip go?

"I flew up on Saturday morning and was scheduled to fly back on Sunday night," explained Heuerman. "But they changed my flight so I flew back on Monday morning. I was up there with a bunch of other recruits so it was a good weekend."

While Heuerman had originally scheduled to use a different weekend for his official visit, there was a special reason for his change of plans.

"I decided to use this one as my official visit as I was originally going to use my official visit during the banquet," said Heuerman. "But I switched it as I wanted to bring my mom up and wasn't sure if I was going to make it for the banquet. However, I now know I'll be there for the banquet as I just got my tickets."

On his flight up to South Bend the Florida native was lucky enough to be able to start working on two other visitors early on his trip.

"Coming in on my second flight I had Torii Hunter and Corey Clement on that one with me," said Heuerman. "So we all got picked up at the airport together. But I had a different schedule as compared to the others as I'm planning on being an early enrollee. So I was meeting with the admissions people and the academic advisors and sat down with a dean for about 45-minutes.

"So I was kind of getting all of that stuff out of the way and figuring out what classes I'm going to be in mainly in January when I come in. Mainly I wanted to figure out the academic life is like as opposed to the football life I've seen already and know fairly well. So it was real good to get that buried in my head so when I walk in I know what is in store for me with academics."

Heuerman was able to be there when the newest member of the Irish class expressed his interest in being part of the group.

"While our schedules were different I did get to eat with Torii and was sitting outside when he committed. So I was able to congratulate him on that and was there for him with that. He left earlier in the day on Sunday and I wasn't around him a lot on Saturday. But I sat right with him at the game. He's real close with Corey (Robinson), so we were all just building that relationship that we're going to hold for the next several years to come.

"The bonds continue to grow stronger every day, including this past weekend," said Heuerman. "I got the chance to meet some of the kids I had never met before this past weekend. I had never met Michael Deeb, Steven Elmer or Corey Robinson. So it was real good to put faces with some of the guys you've been speaking with but haven't really spent one-on-one time with. So to knock that out of the way and take that step is definitely growth when it comes to our friendships."

An Eye on his Future

With his official arrival coming in just a few short months, did watching his future teammates battle Michigan get him thinking his turn is just around the corner?

"That was on my mind the whole time," said Heuerman. "To tell you the truth, it was kind of like torture because I wasn't there now. So to see that atmosphere against Michigan in that stadium and to see all those things knowing that I'm only three months away made me wish I was already three months in and on the field playing in that game. It was amazing and just reminded me on the reasons why I chose the University of Notre Dame and why I love that place and why I love that university, coaches and all of the above."

Another positive for Heuerman was the ability to watch up close how the Irish coaching staff plans to use him on the field when he arrives.

"Between Troy Niklas and Tyler Eifert you have two great tight ends working on the field at the same time," said Heuerman. Even Ben Koyack when he gets in there. Between Eifert and Niklas you have Niklas who is more of a blocking tight end who is going to set the edge.

"Eifert is the one who is going to be more of a guy who is going to go one-on-one to make the big plays. So to see the way they use Eifert and see how many different positions he lines up in and how they move him around the field was great.

"They want me to come in and compete to be able to do that. So to see how they work him in was great because it's just everything you look for in a tight end as he's more than a guy who can just play one position.

"So to see how they mix everything in is great and to see how much they use those two and utilize them is amazing because there is no other school in the country that uses the tight end the way they do."

Another adjustment to life Heuerman experienced on his visit came when he stepped off the plane.

"When I got off the plane in South Bend on Saturday morning it was pushing 45-50 degrees," said Heuerman. "I wasn't too pleased about that, but as I was walking up I kept reminding myself that when I get off that plane in January, I'm sure I'll be having second thoughts then (with a laugh) but at least I'm prepared for it. I know it is something I'm going to have to deal with but I'm sure I'll be cussing for a couple of days when I get there in January. So my Christmas will have a little bit different attire this year."

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