Brighton High School in Salt Lake City, Utah is no stranger to talent. On last year's roster alone, there were a half dozen prospects holding at least one P5 offer. A handful of four and five star prospects have shined for the Bengals, including Osa Masina, Ricky Heimuli, Jackson Barton, and Simi Fehoko. Yet, when it's all said and done a 2017 RB/LB could go down as the best. Sione Heimuli-Lund just recently turned 16, but the 2017 linebacker/running back has a chance to end up as one of the best to come out of Utah, ever.
"It's always a grind to get better," Heimuli-Lund stated. "You can't be satisfied. There is always somebody else working to get better. We had a great season, but we fell short of a championship for the second straight year. We aren't okay with that. This off-season is all about getting better and finishing on top."
Heimuli-Lund helped lead Brighton to a 10-2 record, often times looking like the best player on both sides of the ball. He lead the Bengals in rushing yards, accumulating 941 yards (8.6 ypc) with 8 touchdowns. He also chipped in 235 receiving yards with another 2 TDs. On defense, he led the team with 107 tackles, was second behind Masina with 7 sacks, and also had 2 interceptions. Heimuli-Lund also kicked the ball off and returned kicks for Brighton. He averaged nearly 30 yards a return.
"Stats are okay, I guess, but it's pretty hallow when you aren't winning the big one," Heimuli-Lund claimed. " I would trade a few touchdowns and big stat games for the championship any day. Last year I had a blast, playing with my brothers, but you compete to win. We fell short of our goal. This year will be different. Our chemistry is better and I have a good feeling about 2015. I am telling you right now, things will be different."
Only a few months into the off-season, Heimuli-Lund already looks better. He was moving around the field effortlessly, in Las Vegas this weekend. He only saw action at running back, but he looked stout during Team Utah's four games. He was agile, fluid, and the most reliable option both days.
"I'm working on my speed, my agility, my strength, really everything," Heimuli-Lund shared. "There's not a part of my game that can't improve. I'd say the thing I am focusing most on right now is my speed. I am working on getting faster and am hoping to get my 40 time down to the high 4.5's. With my body type, I just want to be a punishing powerback, that also has breakaway speed."
"I'm blessed to have the offers I do," Heimuli-Lund claimed. "I love the schools that have offered me a scholarship. I'm hoping to check out Oklahoma State, Oregon State, and Washington this summer. I am really familiar with both BYU and Utah. Both schools are great and I am definitely interested in attending either one. I love what BYU stands for and their style of play. I love the Utes too. I was sad when Kalani and Coach Tuiaki left, but I have a great relationship with Coach Ena, so it was kind of made things okay. I am also very open to leaving the state though. I want the best fit for me, both from an academic standpoint and on the football field."
"I'd say the Cali schools are really big for me. Stanford, UCLA, USC, and California are really standing out. They are great schools with good football programs. I'd say Stanford is the biggest one for me right now. I plan to camp with them and really hope to leave with an offer. I also may go up to Oregon to camp, as well. I have to work those things out with my parents. I'm pretty open. I think the idea of playing out West is great. I want the best education I can get. I work really hard in school and was raised to value education."
From a football perspective, Heimuli-Lund is hoping to play running back at the next level, but is open to playing wherever the team needs him to.
A Quick Sione Heimuli-Lund Evaluation
At a shade under 6-1 225 pounds, Heimuli-Lund has a wide and powerful frame. He could easily project as a defensive linemen, a few years down the road. At this time last year, he weighed close to 235, and ran a laser-timed 4.80 as a 14 year old freshman. He has worked hard to keep his weight down, and has done a great job of it.
As a sophomore, Heimuli-Lund often times looked like the best player on the field. Playing along said Osa, Kahi Neves, Simi Fehoko, and Cody Barton, that is no small feat. He has the lower body strength of an offensive guard, with the quickness of a 185 pound scatback. Heimuli-Lund has a lot of similarities to current Minnesota Viking, Matt Asiata (prior to his 2009 ACL tear). He is a punishing back, that is best going north to south, but has the ability to make defenders miss. He is also an above-average receiver, out of the backfield. At times, he turns into a body catcher, but that's nothing that can't be worked out with a few dozen sessions on the jugs machine.
Heimuli-Lund isn't a perfect fit for every system, but he has the versatility and work ethic to adapt to any type of offense. He is an ideal fit for a pro-style offense, but I wouldn't bet against him finding his way on the field in a spread offense either.
As good as Heimuli-Lund is as a power-back/fullback, he is an even better prospect on defense. He is a tremendous downhill linebacker, with the athleticism to make plays sideline to sideline. It's hard to label him as a "downhill backer", because he is also good in pass coverage. He has fluid hips, adequate speed to run with tight ends and running backs, and very good ball skills.
As mentioned before, Heimuli-Lund has the frame to pack on an additional 30-40 pounds of mass. If he does bulk up, Heimuli-Lund would be a tremendous defensive end prospect. As a stand up edge rusher or putting his hand in the dirt, the four-star has all the tools to wreak havoc in the backfield.
An argument could be made that Heimuli-Lund is a four-star prospect at three different positions. There aren't too many guys just turning 16 that can claim that. Look for his recruitment to explode between now and the start of the 2015 season.