Hello: Keith Heitzman

Submitted by Tim on January 21st, 2011 at 8:19 PM

OH TE/DE Keith Keitzman received an offer from Brady Hoke's staff last night, and wasted no time in committing to be the 12th member of Michigan's class of 2011. He is a Vanderbilt decommit.



Scout Rivals ESPN
3*, #63 TE 3*, 5.5, NR DE 3*, 75, #152 DE

The recruiting sites list him between 6-2 and 6-3, and between 220 and 237 pounds. I would guess that's 6-3 (the majority vote) and somewhere around 225 pounds. He was listed as big as 6-4, 240 in high school, but that's probably exaggeration. Let's get started with ESPN's evaluation:

Heitzman possesses solid size for a high school defensive end and should be able to add more good bulk as he physically develops and gets into a college weight program. He gets off the ball well. He can be a physical kid at the point of attack, but needs to be more consistent especially with his hands. He displays the ability to maintain some leverage and hold his ground... Needs to keep working on his recognition skills. As a pass rusher he displays the ability to get into the blocker with some leverage and create pressure with a bull rush. Needs to be more active with his weapons, develop his pass rush arsenal, and not attack the whole man. Heitzman is a solid defender who will flash some tools to be tough versus the run and pass.

That has the ring of a project recruit who has good potential, but needs to develop both physically and skill-wise before he'll be able to make a big impact on the field. As you can see in the picture below, he's still very skinny for a defensive lineman.

Opposing coaches gameplanned around him:

"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," Davidson coach Brian White said.

Before the season, Bucknuts called him the #45 player in Ohio, and he's also able to play linebacker.


Heitzman decommitted from Vanderbilt (he'd been wavering since Robbie Cladwell was fired), so obviously had an offer from the Commodores. His other offers are a host of MAC schools (Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Kent State, Miami (NTM), Ohio, and Toledo, and a few low-range Big Ten teams in Minnesota, Illinois, and Indiana. One of the reasons he chose Vandy was an emphasis on academics, so Michigan makes sense for the kid.

At this time, allow to express a slight fear of a second-straight commit with a meager offer sheet. Say what you will about Rich Rodriguez's on-field product, but he generally recruited very well, with only a couple prospects per year worthy of the "sleeper" label. So far, Hoke's staff is 2-for-2 among commitments, with a few higher-rated commits jumping ship so far.

With the timeline they're working on, it's not a scary pattern quite yet, but keep an eye on this going forward.



There is precious little out there about Heitzman's exploits on the field, but he did well enough to be named 1st-Team All-State in Ohio's largest division at defensive end, ahead of a pair of Ohio State commits and Wisconsin-bound Jesse Hayes. All-Columbus Defensive Player of the Year honors.

He also played tight end in high school, and ran for a 2-point conversion in Hilliard-Davidson's state championship as a junior. He was the Central District's Defensive Player of the Year. [Ed-M: DGDestroys says we are bringing him in as a tight end.]

I'll try to dig up more stats on Heitzman for Fridan Night Lights.


Rivals lists him at 4.9, a realistic time for a player of his size. None of the other sites list times, that I could find.


ScoutingOhio provides the highlights:

I couldn't find senior film.


Well, this is a guy who's probably a very long way from seeing the field as a defensive end. I wonder whether he might be brought in as a tight end, one of his high school positions and a major need for this class. On the other hand, Scout's position ranking could just be crazy.

For a guy his size, if he's a DE, a redshirt is guaranteed, especially given Michigan's depth (Van Bergen, Roh, Black, et al) at defensive end. In fact, I doubt he sees the field in any meaningful capacity - aside from an appearance or two on special teams - until his redshirt sophomore year, when Craig Roh ships off to the NFL. At that point, he'll shuffle into the rotation, but not challenge for a starting position until he's a redshirt junior, I think. First-Team All-Conference accolades are probably out of the question unless Michigan has discovered an extreme sleeper.


Michigan is loading up on defensive ends in this class, but as they're unlikely to run up against the scholarship limit, new players aren't taking spots away from anyone for the remainder of the class.

Michigan's coaches will continue to focus on defensive tackle, safety, quarterback, and tight end to finish out the class.



January 22nd, 2011 at 1:46 PM ^

In ohio usually you get all state if you first had a great junior year and then second keep those stats in your senior year.  Then you have to go far into the state playoffs as a team.  The star system i think is more based on off season camps and physical stats like height weight and 40 times.  Also you get more stars when the big boy's recruit you.  My guess is this kid might not have gone to the major off season camps and he probably put more emphasis on academics in high school.  But if Hoke and Mattison offered the kid i would imagine he is pretty good... Lets hope JJ watt type player... a kid who played TE in highschool didnt get highly recruited went to wisconson bulked up and became a monster.  He looks pretty athletic in that tape, he also keeps outside contain and he seems like he has a "motor".



January 22nd, 2011 at 12:39 PM ^

I'm sure he's a great kid, and he's obviously got a good head on his shoulders from an academic standpoint, but from a physical talent standpoint he seems like a bit of a reach right now.


January 22nd, 2011 at 1:32 PM ^

Agreed. If Hoke can hold onto Fisher and Countess, while adding a couple 4s and a few solid 3s, I think we'd have to be relieved and satisfied. (Seems as if he's got a decent shot at doing this.) Anything more would be an extraordinary accomplishment; anything less, disappointing but hardly surprising. 

Maize and Blue…

January 22nd, 2011 at 1:54 PM ^

There's a big difference between playing in a BCS conference and ever hoping to play in a BCS game.  I would guess Minnesota and Vanderbilt fall in the latter category.  These are not schools I am happy to be stealing players from.  It would be nice to find out if the more highly regarded players who play the same position and are visiting want to commit.  It's starting to  feel like the staff will take anyone this year just to fill the class with all the talent in Michigan and Ohio next year I would just assume hang on to a couple scholarships.  Of course that may be moot if attrition hits once some of the players see the offense and what their role may be in it.


January 22nd, 2011 at 10:23 PM ^

Minnesota and Vandy are not the best teams to poach recruits from. However, when I said BCS talent, I was refering to players with offers from BCS conferences not teams playing in the BCS bowls.

Everyone would rather have top flight talent (dee hart types), but if Hoke and company think these players are worth a scholarship offer than I think we need to give them the benefit of the doubt especially this late in the game.

Also, remember that every year Wisonsin, Northwestern, and Iowa have recuiting classes full of lowly regarded players, but they do an excellent job with player development.  Too early to tell exactly what Hoke's strategy will be, and I don't think we can draw any major conclusions from this class b/c of the lack of time he has had to put it together. If we have a class full of 3 stars formerly commited to vandy and minni next year I will be concerned, but with this class any BCS conference talent  is okay with me.


January 22nd, 2011 at 2:20 PM ^

That's a good point, and I basically like this recruit, but I don't see much upside with him.  To use another cliche, I'd guess that he has a lower ceiling than the 2007 version of J.J. Watt:


Davion Rogers (from last year) is another good example of a 3-star (or lower) with lots of upside.


January 22nd, 2011 at 12:46 PM ^

I definitely wouldn't be gauging Hoke's recruiting prowess based on this year's class. Recruiting is all about relatioships. You can't build relationships with recruites and "touch players' in a matter of weeks. That fully explains why the commits have been guys that don't have any offers that are as good as Michigan.

Blue boy johnson

January 22nd, 2011 at 12:50 PM ^

I thought RR recruited a ton of guys in the sleeper category. I guess it depends on what sleeper means. The following recruits from last years class alone, were considered to be sleepers

Carvin Johnson

Drew Dileo

Courtney Avery

Antonio Kinnard

Conelious Jones

Davion Rogers

Jake Ryan

Terry Talbot

Ray Vinopal

D J Williamson


January 22nd, 2011 at 1:43 PM ^

Guys who are sleepers when we first offer them, and guys who are sleepers a week and half before signing day are different. 

By the time late January rolled around, guy like Carvin Johnson and Davion Rogers were not sleepers, and I'm not sure Courtney Avery every was.  Avery was getting serious looks from Florida at the end, and Rogers and Johnson were borderline 4 star guys.  Conelious Jones played in the NC-SC Shrine game and Jake Ryan was ranked by Rivals both at his position and in Ohio, Heitzman is neither.  Rivals ranks the top 60 prospects in Ohio - Jake Ryan was #34, Heitzman didn't make the list.

Even some of the guys you list - Avery, Williamson, Kinard, Talbott, Rogers - they all made the Ohio list.  Vinopal is the only other guy in Heitzman's boat.

Blue boy johnson

January 22nd, 2011 at 3:26 PM ^

Like I said, I guess it depends on how you define sleeper. As an example: anyone who plays in the NC/SC Shrine game, I have come to find out is no longer sleeper material:) Whatever, I could march out a bunch of stats "proving" they were/are sleepers. Alls I  know about them for sure, they sucked at special teams and defense, be they sleepers or beasts.


January 22nd, 2011 at 12:53 PM ^

"At this time, allow to express a slight fear of a second-straight commit with a meager offer sheet. Say what you will about Rich Rodriguez's on-field product, but he generally recruited very well, with only a couple prospects per year worthy of the "sleeper" label. So far, Hoke's staff is 2-for-2 among commitments, with a few higher-rated commits jumping ship so far."


I have a very different memory. I remember the vast majority of RR's recruits in the last two classes having MAC level offers, and he didn't even have the excuse of having 3 weeks to recruit.


January 22nd, 2011 at 1:17 PM ^

You are correct, sir. RR was not a top-flight recruiter. Got some fine O talent, of course. And a few promising (if unproven) D players. But mostly meh. His recruiting classes were in the upper teens in the rankings -- particularly once you eliminated all the signees who failed to qualify or left after a year. A big drop-off from previous coaching regimes.

RR was in on some top players this year, but we don't know how many of them would have ended up signing. I have a feeling Dee was a goner no matter what. And Zettel, too. RR's class was nowhere near a top-ten one, regardless. People will blame the cc thing. Which is both a valid and invalid argument. The cc did effect the coach. But he was responsible for it, owing to his unimpressive record, so...


January 22nd, 2011 at 1:41 PM ^

Lemming was quoted a few weeks ago re: our 12 commits:

There are only 6 that anyone would want, the other 6 nobody wants.

Not an exact quote but you get the idea.  50% of our class before RR was fired was MAC level talent.