|Keith Heitzman (image via MGoBlog.com)|
Weight: 277 lbs.
High school: Hilliard (OH) Davidson
Position: Defensive end
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #92
Last year: I ranked Heitzman #43 and said he would be the backup 5-tech defensive end. He was the backup 5-tech and finished with 7 tackles, .5 tackles for loss, and 1 fumble recovery.
Heitzman spent last season behind Craig Roh. Roh was one of those guys who didn't make a lot of great plays but didn't do much wrong, either. Heitzman seems like the same type of player, so he didn't really stand out last year as a backup. He made a tackle here or there and grabbed a fumble against Nebraska, but otherwise, he wasn't spotlighted much.
With Roh graduated and gone, there's a void at strongside end. There are several players who could fill the spot, but Heitzman seems like the front-runner. He was the top backup there last season, he started there in the spring game, and the other players are even less experienced. Redshirt freshmen Matt Godin and Chris Wormley could also get reps at the position, and Godin in particular looked pretty impressive in the spring. I would expect there to be more rotation at SDE this year, so the backup(s) should get plenty of playing time, but Heitzman should be the first man on the field.
Prediction: Starting strongside end; 25 tackles, 2 sacks